Can one buy a decent red wine in France for under €3 ?
It is good to treat oneself to some more expensive quality wines whilst in France, but everyone likes a bargain. So I have gone back to trying out some of the cheaper red wines to see if there are any ‘decent’ red wines, at really low prices that you can buy. And finding good buys is the main point of this blog.
As I discovered when tasting some of the lower priced Bordeaux wines, going under €3.50 for a Bordeaux is just not worth it. (Read the ‘Mainly Bordeaux’ post here.) In summary, the cheapest Bordeaux I buy at Auchan is the Versant Royal, now at €4.39.
Whilst in the Intermarché one time, I decided to try the ‘La Croix du Pin’ Cabernet Sauvignon at under €3. I was so impressed that I decided to try several of the cheaper Merlots and Cabernet Sauvignons at both Auchan and Intermarché .And then following on from deciding that the Syrah was my favourite of the ‘free/inclusive’ wines at the Body Holiday, I bought some of those to compare and decide which was my favourite. Lost some of the receipts for the exact price for each wine, but they are all between €2.13 and €2.65)
Four Merlots, all tasted just by me. Generally all available at most supermarkets, but the La Croix du Pin I bought at Intermache, and did not see this label in Auchan. It was my favourite of the Merlots. All of these just tasted just by me.
Les Ormes de Cambras
Aroma: Quite strong, musky, a bit too acidic maybe
Taste: A little bit rough, no specific flavours. A bit sour, but OK for the price.
A bit better after having left to breathe for a while.
Aroma: a little bit bland and non-descript.
Taste: A little bit rough. OK ish. A bit better after first taste and after letting it breath for a bit.
La Croix du Pin
Aroma: Not too strong and overpowering, quite subtle and pleasant. Slightly musky
Taste quite nice, but maybe a bit bland
When I swish it round the mouth, a little bit acidic. But if I just sip it slowly it is quite nice.
Smoother than the Les Ormes de Cambras.
I cannot remember my exact thoughts on this, but it was not at all good. In fact I had to throw half the bottle away. If I had been cooking something that needed some red wine added to it, I would have saved it for that.
The Cabernet Sauvignons
Three Cabernet Sauvignons. The Pierre Chanau is exclusive to Auchan. The others are available at most of the French supermarkets.
You cannot go wrong with this wine. See comments from people at the Avenue HQ wine tasting event here.
Aroma: As with the Roche Mazet Merlot, fairly non-descript. Not much of anything.
Taste: Not rough at all. Overall quite pleasant, but a little bit bland a tiny bit sour.
La Croix du Pin
Aroma: Pleasant, subtle dark fruits, not overpowering.
Taste: Again, overall quite pleasant. A bit sour when swishing around the mouth. A bit nutty and quite smooth. Less rough than most of the others.
Three Syrahs (two mixed with other grapes.)
After rating the Syrah best of the three free reds at Body Holiday, I decided to check these out more. I bought one ‘pure’ Syrah from Intermaché, Le Croix Du Pin. one that was a mixture of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, also from Intermaché, and one that was a mixture of Syrah and Grenache from Auchan.
I had company when tasting these, so comments on the Syrah, by me, Mary and Fred, on the Syrah/Cab Sauv and the Syrah/Grenache by me, Mary and Phil.
Aroma: Medium, quite pleasant good for autumnal smell/fruit. Slight elderberry (Mary) Blackberry (Fred)
Taste: Smooth quite pleasant, Not at all sharp. Goes well with nibbly starters (cold pizza slices BBQ flavoured crisps.) Still nothing that wows one, so you can tell it is not an expensive wine. Compares well in comparison with the Cab Sauv. Very quoffable.
Should this have been with the Cabernet Sauvignons or the Syrahs? To even out the numbers, I have put it here.
Aroma: Very nice, rich and smooth (me); Definitely makes you want to taste it. (Phil); Warm smell, an invitation to drink (Mary)
Taste: Drinkable, quite nice, but a bit rough and a slight sourness (me); Pleasant, but slightly harsh (Phil); Pleasant, quite rich. Light, enjoyable, not overly strong (Mary).
Note that Phil and I both thought that the aroma was better than the taste. I have found this on a number or wines.
Aroma: Quite strong and full. (Me, I preferred aroma of previous, maybe I just prefer more subtle smells); Fruity, full bodied (Phil); Not too strong, nice (Mary).
(Hmm, some people make different comments on the same wine, about strength of smell here. Sometimes you really do just have to smell and taste the wine yourself, and make your own opinion.
Taste: Very nice, smooth, silky as it goes down the palette. I think that this overtake the Cabernet Sauvignon as my favourite sub €3 red wine (Me); Smooth, very nice. Blackberry dark fruit flavours (Phil); Very pleasant and soft. Nice and warming, warms you up as you drink it on evenings where the nights start drawing in (Mary).
Interesting to note that both Phil and I preferred to aroma of the Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah, but the taste of the Syrah/Grenache. Just goes to show that a better aroma does not automatically mean a better taste.
I have gone right off cheap Merlots. (Although the ‘La Croix du Pin’ was OK) It was my least favourite of the free inclusive reds at the Body Holiday. I have never had to throw away wine before, but really I did not like the JP Chenet one. Obviously you may disagree. At some point I may try one of the more expensive Merlots, just see if there is a big difference.
At first, I thought that ‘La Croix du Pin’ was an own brand from Intermarché, as I did not see any of this wine at Auchan. But now I am sure this is not right. I found the La Croix du Pin , plus the Pierre Chanau, which is Auchan’s own brand better than the ‘Roches Mazet’ and the ‘Les Ormes de Cambras’ brands, (even though the labels on these were nicer. Just goes to show, you cannot always judge the wine by the label).
Ever since buying the Pierre Chanau Cabernet Sauvignon, and seeing how people at Avenue HQ reacted to it, I do think that it is hard to find a better wine for under €3. However the Syrah/Grenache, also from Auchan just about manages it. However when I was back in Boulogne in earlier this month, I could not find it in their store, whereas the Cabernet Sauvignon always seems to be in stock, and normally available in boxes of six.
I will do updates on more bargain reds, as I want to try more Syrahs, Grenaches as I really liked the Syrah/Grenache a lot. And there is a new low cost wine I want to try, a Gamay. I will keep you posted.