I have to confess that I have struggled somewhat to find many sub $50 French red wines that I could actually get excited about enough to write about. What is interesting about this is that one of the best wine memories I have that contributed to a slight obsession with wine is a 1979 Cortes de Rhone that a good friend of mine took from his fathers cellar one night. It was one of the most amazing wines I'd experienced at the time and yet all the research I did on the particular label suggested that back when it was released that wine retailed for less than 20 bucks! Then again in the early 80s perhaps $20 was considered pretty expensive?
Since that amazing wine I've purchased dozens of French wines of all types for under $50 and have been largely disappointed with most of them. However, thanks to DiscoverVin this changed recently when they kindly sent me two rather different reds that I am more than happy to write about!
Domaine du Crampilh Madiran Vignes Vielles 2009 - Made with 100% Tanat this wine has a deep, dark blood red colour. Easily the most drinkable 100% Tanat I can recall and I enjoyed every drop and I can report that it went amazingly well with a bit of aged cheddar. RRP $38.40
Chateau Lagarde 2009 - A blend of 73% Merlot, 25% Cab Franc and 2% Malbec this wine drank much better than I expected for a Bordeaux priced at under $30! Pretty standard in colour but the aroma is dominated by the unique profile of Cabernet Franc which is a bit of a mixed bag of fruits, herbs and floral notes with a slightly musty feel to it all. Enjoyable to drink, this wine benefited greatly from decanting and was at its best over an hour later. Definitely a great entry level Bordeaux for people looking to experience it perhaps for the first time. Affordable but good tasting Bordeaux wines are also great to take to dinner parties or give as gifts for any situation where you're the only one who will know the price, but others will know you brought a Bordeaux and not some supermarket Aussie or Kiwi label that we've all seen in the discount bins at the local bottle shop! RRP $29.90