French wines can be afforable too. | Photo: HungryGoWhere
While wine is made in every continent except Antarctica, no region enjoys as much fame and prestige as Europe. France, in particular, is often considered home to the world’s finest wines. But that does not mean that you have to fork out a fortune to enjoy good quality French pours. Au contraire, if you know where to look, it’s not hard to find affordable labels. Here are 10 that offer a bigger bang for your buck. Salut!
Joseph Drouhin Chablis 2012 | Photo: Monopole
Joseph Drouhin Chablis 2012, $30
To pair with sushi, shellfish and poultry
Chablis is the northernmost wine region in Burgundy, and the dry white wine here — made from Chardonnay, the de rigueur white grape of Burgundy — is also known by the region’s name. This Chablis by Joseph Drouhin estate offers fresh citrus aromas with a touch of coriander. Dry and fruity, it lends itself well to mild-flavoured dishes. Available at Monopole.
Gentil ‘Hugel’ 2012, $38
To pair with shellfish, fried fish, tofu and poultry
A great example of savoir-faire in French winemaking, Hugel’s Gentil revives an ancient Alsatian tradition of assembling noble grape varieties and putting them together in a blend. Comprising Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Muscat, and Sylvaner, Gentil is a suave wine that can stand up to any occasion. Available at Monopole.
Chateau La Rose Saint-Germain Blanc 2011 | Photo: Crystal Wines
Chateau La Rose Saint-Germain Blanc 2011, $41
To pair with soft mild cheese, shellfish, chicken and pork
A Bordeaux white wine? Oui, oui! While Bordeaux is known mostly for its reds, the region’s white wines are also of very good quality. This wine is a classic blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, offering a crisp and bright citrusy palate with attractive hints of white flowers — perfect as an afternoon refreshment or with lighter dishes. Available at Crystal Wines.
Chateau de Chantegrive Blanc 2010, $43
To pair with soft mild cheeses, shellfish, hors d’oeuvres
Made from a 50-50 blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, there is plenty of charm in this Bordeaux blanc — the nose presents an appealing potpourri of white flowers, honeysuckle and peaches, while the palate is soft and gentle with very likeable flavours. Enjoy it over a long evening. Available at ewineasia.com.
Les Faîtières Gewurztraminer AOC Alsace, 2012| Photo: The Wine Gallery
Les Faitieres Gewurztraminer AOC Alsace, 2012, $44
To pair with very mildly spiced dishes, chicken rice and poultry
Virtually the equivalent of la femme fatale in the wine world, Gerwurztraminer is a highly attractive and likeable wine that is laden with floral and fruity characters that evoke lychee, rose and tropical fruits. Elegant and sensual, it is a wine you will want to have within reach. Available at The Wine Gallery.
Muscat ‘Hugel’ Tradition, $45
To pair with goat cheese, asparagus, mackerel, shellfish, and mildly spicy dishes
Lively, youthful, vivacious and driven by floral and fruity characters, this is a wine with incredible freshness and versatility. Perfect as an aperitif, it is dry, clean and refreshing, undoubtedly an Alsatian Muscat par excellence! Available at Monopole.
Marrenon Private Gallery Syrah Grenache 2011| Photo: The Wine Gallery
Michel Lynch Reserve, Grand Vin De Bordeaux, Medoc 2011, $39
To pair with roast meats and barbecues
From the region of Medoc in Bordeaux comes this Bordeaux red, which balances the strength and assertiveness of Cabernet Sauvignon with the restraint and roundness of Merlot, resulting in a delicate wine that offers simple red fruit notes on the nose and palate — think black cherry and cassis. Available at The Wine Gallery.
Marrenon Private Gallery Syrah Grenache 2011, $39
To pair with roasts, meaty dishes, and pasta with ragout
Provence is one of the regions that is easily overlooked; the wines here may not rival the top French growths, but they are nevertheless tres chic and great for easy casual drinking. This Provencal blend of Syrah and Grenache proffers plush notes of blackcurrant and blackberry. Syrah further brings characters of liquorice and spice, while Grenache lends the wine richness and balance on the palate. Available at The Wine Gallery.
Domaine du Vissoux Beaujolais Cuvee Traditionnelle 2013| Photo: ewineasia.com
Domaine du Vissoux Beaujolais Cuvee Traditionnelle 2013, $39
To pair with light picnic fare, terrine, poultry, grilled meats, and pies
Thanks to its lighter style and bright red fruit characters, Beaujolais wine is highly drinkable even in our tropical climate. This Beaujolais wine is equally at ease at barbecues as it is at picnics — perfect for savouring la joie de vivre. Available at ewineasia.com.
Andre Brunel Cotes du Rhone Sommelongue 2011, $37.50
To pair with roast chicken, pork belly, and char siew (caramelised barbecued pork)
There is a certain je ne sais quoi about good-quality Rhone Valley wines that make them so highly attractive to the bon vivant. Liquorice, black cherry, blackcurrant and a hint of spice are just some of the characters on the nose and palate — very much a crowd-pleaser if you are looking for something to take to the party. Available at ewineasia.com.
Kenny Leong is a Certified Specialist of Wine and an independent writer whose unquenchable thirst for wine is exceeded only by his love for tea. When not poking his nose into wine glasses and tiny teacups, the self-professed devotee of classical Chinese culture may be found plucking the strings of his guqin (seven-string musical instrument of the zither family) in his Ming dynasty outfit. Right now, he is saving up for a Han dynasty sword, because in case of a zombie apocalypse, the pen might not necessarily be mightier. He has written for the likes of Cuisine & Wine Asia, Appetite, Singapore Tatler, and Town & Country.