Contrary to popular opinion, it isn’t impossible to find good, cheap wine. In fact, ferreting out the best of affordable offerings from destinations like Bordeaux becomes a little easier every day as winemakers show that they are unafraid to show off their declassified wines to the international community instead of keeping the quaffable treats to themselves during those long months of waiting for the big-ticket items to mature. The hard part for the international consumer is finding these local gems without first going down a rabbit hole of unpleasantly rustic wines that are more reminiscent of isopropyl and sandpaper.
However, with representation from reputable importers like Cape Classics (who rocketed to fame as the largest importer of South African wines before expanding their portfolio to include select French offerings), many of the highest quality, delightfully drinkable and perfectly affordable wines have found their way to everyday tables and casual gatherings. There are wineries like Chateau du Raux, which enjoys a prime location between Pauillac and Margaux, and Chateau Giscours, which is famous for their Grand Cru Classé Margaux, though they devote almost just as much attention to their Bordeaux AOP wine. Producers like these mean consumers can find themselves sipping some delicious Left Bank wines on a daily basis without sacrificing their new car fund or kid’s college tuition.
Petit Sirène by Chateau Giscours 2015 Bordeaux Blanc
Grape Varietal: 60% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Semillon
The Petit Sirène Bordeaux Blanc opens with an almost New World nose of ripe pears, green melons, grapefruit, starfruit, lemon skins and grass. On the palate, though, those riper notes acquiesce to an Old World profile driven by under-ripe fruits, fresh herbs, fleshy grapefruit, and a fat, rounded texture that culminates with a spike of nervy acidity.
Petit Sirène by Chateau Giscours 2015 Bordeaux Rouge
Grape Varietal: 60% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon
This wine jumps out of the glass with notes of brown sugar, red currants and plums, sandalwood and hints of bell peppers. The palate adds under ripe raspberries, plum skins, fresh herbs, and green tannins with plenty of grip. This is the kind of wine that will find a best match with food, so look for lean steaks or grilled pork alongside hearty greens.
Chateau du Raux 2014 Haut-Médoc
Grape Varietal: 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% Merlot
Redolent with ripe black plums, black currants, cedar, smoke, and resinous herbs, the Chateau du Raux is a pretty “classic” Bordeaux. The palate introduces chocolate, spice, and a hint of char alongside some grippy but nicely integrated tannins. This is the kind of wine that could match up to richer beef stews, like boeuf bourguignon, or roasted lamb.