Friday, November 19, 2010

Cheap Wine

1.45 euro baby!
One of the things we did in Paris that was worthwhile was a wine tasting at O Chateau. We did their 'tour of France' tasting which included six wines, one of them Champagne, along with a 'wine for dummies' type explanation on French wine; the regions, the grapes, the AOC and all. I recommend doing it, especially if you don't go in knowing too much about how wine works in France. I bought four bottles--two Cotes du Rhone reds and two Bourgogne whites. All four now long drunk but very much enjoyed. 

The main thing I got from the tasting, other than that the owner/founder/sommelier is a wholesomely cute, tousled hair, perfectly American English accented Frenchie who was a pleasure to listen to and watch tousle said hair, was that expensive doesn't mean good and cheap doesn't mean crap. 
I should have known this already for a few reasons: 
1) We've managed to drink some inexpensive red wine, wait for a box! since being here and never would have dreamed of doing that anywhere else.
2) My beau-pere (father-in-law) prides himself on truffeling out the best wines for the least money over in Texas. Cheers, Beau-Pere, I'm right there with you. 
3) The wine cooperatives, who sell wine grown in the area--like within a 5-mile radius, sell 3 euro bottles of wine that are perfectly drinkable
and 4) even a tres cher bottle can turn out to be crap.And then where are you? Displeased is where you are.

My suspicions were confirmed when the hair tousling O of O Chateau told us not to be suckered in by price, that Frenchies don't like spending loads on wine, and that we should not be afraid to try the more inexpensive bottles on supermarket shelves. 
I did some wine shopping with this in mind. And even though it didn't feel right to buy a 1.45 euro bottle of Cotes du Rhone red, I did it. I actually bought two. I mean, come on, if it's crap then it's crap at less than a fiver. It is wine after all. 

And I tried a handy tip I've learned over here--decanting. When we tasted the much more expensive Cotes du Rhone red that I bought two bottles of for almost 10 times a fiver, it took some time in the glass to taste its best. At first it didn't really do it for me. But after a few minutes of some air getting in there, some fancy swirling and some patience, it tasted divine. I figured I could apply the same methods to my cheap bottle(s) of CduR from the HyperGeantGrande store.
And it worked. It was ok, better than just passable and quite a bargain. It even won an award, which you can see on the left-hand corner of the bottle. Who else but the French would award a bottle of wine that costs as little as a couple of baguettes?
AND, to further prove my point. I bought a bottle of 3 euro CduR yesterday and mon Mari didn't like it as well as the cheap-o one.
How's about them grapes?


  1. French wine just confuses me. That's one thing I really miss about Australia, the wine. I know good French wine exists, but I have yet to find it in my supermarket!

  2. seriously Kirsty? I have found more good than bad for sure. I do love the big Australian wines too, maybe the difference is just too much for you? Do you like red or white? (when i first typed white, i accidentally typed shite!) if you know what type of grape or flavor you like then it's easier to find something suitable.

  3. Wonderful company (even your own) makes wine taste better. We have a problem with buying nice French wine and trying to get the same taste from the same winemaker. The new world often is a bit more predictable year on year. I just can not get my head around buying this year to drink in 3, 5, 10 years time. Good grief! I might be dead or if it turns out to be Sh*te then who is going to get their money back?

  4. Lesley,
    You're right about the company. You're totally right about the consistency within even the same winemaker. In this class I took he said that there's no reason to splash out on the waiting around wines like bordeaux unless you have loads of money and/or are a collector. I think it helps if you know what grapes you prefer and start there. That's how I go about it anyway, you'd never find me buying a loire valley white because I hate sav blanc, for example.
    Thanks for commenting. I love hearing from new people!
    bon samedi,

  5. My husband is quite the connaiseur and he always finds something good at Intermarché or LeClerc for under €5.
    Visiting from SFN where I saw your introduction.
    Welcome to France!

  6. Dedene,
    I LOVE the leclerc drive thing...did it today and it's so easy to stock up on your wine. have you tried it? Send me some of your hubs' faves and we'll try them out. One of ours is Cardabelle from Hyper U. It's a pic st loup and really good for a fiver a bottle.
    Thanks so much for posting and following. I'm thrilled to have you!

  7. We are on our 50th plus bottle of Australian Merlot from Lidl. Under (just) two Euros a bottle. Just don't call me cheap, just try it!

  8. Lesley,
    Maybe I'll pop over to Lidl and check it out. I do miss a big Aussie wine. And I like how Lidl has weekly international foods. I found ketchup Lay's there once.
    I would never call you cheap. Your secret's safe with me.
    a x

  9. I LOVE my box of wine!! I can't believe how good it is and for the price, oh my, I'm in heaven!
    Since my nickname is Skippie, my husband calls the box of wine, The Skippie Box. And I'm fine with that, because it's mine, ALL MINE!!! (cue maniacal laugh)

  10. I spend about 4-5 euro a bottle. And the wine is fantastic. Can't do the boxed wine, though! That would be dangerous.

  11. Sara, We keep joking that we should take back the empty box and complain cause it says it should last 4-6 wks...we've never gotten that far. esp good for rose in the summer. as i'm sure you are well aware.
    x a

    perfect price point. just bought thksgving wine at my fave coop in sommieres. 32 for a box and one bottle of swizzy. not bad.
    and, dangerous it is.
    x a

  12. Hey, sweetie - as you probably remember, Rhone reds (syrah) are my favorites. Any ideas on something I can find here? Appreciate it in advance!


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