From Cabernet Sauvignon to Chardonnay, France cultivates hundreds of popular international grape varietals that can be found across the globe. With that notability comes flavorful wine selections that range from jammy to zesty along with light to bold.
Here are the best French wines to try for $15 or less.
Louis Jadot 2019 Beaujolais-Villages; $14, 91 points. This dense and fruity wine was made by a Burgundy negociant. Rich cherry fruits show balance against the dry tannins. Drink this ripe wine now. Kobrand. Best Buy. —Roger Voss
Château Guiot 2020 Rosé (Costières de Nîmes); $14, 90 points. Elegant strikes of graphite and basalt lend freshness to this brightly berried, cherried blend of Grenache and Syrah. Plump on the palate but dry in style, it’s a mouthwatering, fresh-fruited rosé ideal for poolside quaffing. Misa Imports. Best Buy. —Anna Lee C. Ijjima
Château La Rose du Pin 2019 Bordeaux; $15, 90 points. Light stalkiness from the black-currant flavors of this young wine promise well for the future. With ripeness and a good balance of acidity and texture, this attractive wine is likely to be ready from 2022. Multiple U.S. importers. Best Buy. —R.V.
Delas Frères 2019 Saint-Esprit White (Côtes du Rhône); $15, 90 points. Whispers of cashew and crushed stone accent lemon and white-peach flavors in this dry, full-bodied blend of Grenache, Clairette, Bourboulenc and Viognier. Unoaked in style, it’s a juicy, fruity white that finishes with a chalky mineral cling. Best enjoyed now–2024. Maisons Marques & Domaines USA. Best Buy. —A.I.
Famille Lançon 2018 La Solitude Red (Côtes du Rhône); $15, 90 points. Delicate whiffs of singed anise and peppercorns accent bright red-plum and black-cherry flavors in this easy-drinking but refined red. A freshly concentrated blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre, it’s a juicy wine edged by fine-grained, pleasantly charry tannins and lingering hints of bramble and black currant. Best now–2024. Dreyfus, Ashby & Co. Best Buy. —A.I.
Jacques Bourguignon 2020 Pinot Noir (Vin de France); $12, 90 points. Bright cherry and currant form the nose of this wine. The palate is fruit-forward and packed with acidity. Red plum and blackberry are ripe and easy. Lightly powdery tannins lead to a cranberry finish. Advantage International. Best Buy. —Fiona Adams
Labouré-Gontard NV Brut (Crémant de Bourgogne); $14, 90 points. Cream, yeast and lemon form a perfect trinity on this wine’s vivid nose. The fresh palate is lively with bubbles, rounded with bready yeastiness and comes with a gentle texture. It is dry, appetizing and refreshing on the finish. Advantage International. Best Buy. —Anne Krebiehl MW
Vignobles Ravel 2020 Château Montaud Rosé (Côtes de Provence); $15, 90 points. Bright fruit and tangy acidity are hallmarks of this crisply textured wine. Freshness and acidity make the wine ready to drink. It comes in a skittle-shaped bottle, traditional but rare to see now. Monsieur Touton Selection Ltd. Best Buy. —R.V.
Château Bois Malot 2020 Bordeaux Blanc; $12, 89 points. Softly textured, this smooth wine offers flavors of creamed apple and citrus. Its bright fruitiness makes it an enjoyable pour. Drink now. Main Street Wine Imports. Best Buy. —R.V.
Domaine Guillaman 2020 Colombard-Sauvignon Blanc (Côtes de Gascogne); $10, 89 points. Currently run by the sixth generation, this estate brings out the natural freshness of the region’s climate. In this attractive wine, bright white and yellow fruits harmonize with the lively acidity. Drink now. Calvert Woodley Fine Wines & Spirits. Best Buy. —R.V.
Doudet Naudin 2020 Chardonnay (Vin de France); $10, 89 points. Naval orange and marigold combine to form a richly scented nose on this wine. The flavors include mandarin and apricot, with zesty lime-juice acidity squeezed on the end. The rounded flavors lead to a dry, tugging finish. Fine Terroir Selections. Best Buy. —F.A.
Two Birds One Stone 2020 Rouge Carignan (Vin de France); $10, 89 points. Aromas of blackberry, red currant, plum and a gentle peppery tingle shape the nose on this wine. Juicy flavors combine tart cranberry, goji berry and cherry, with light, subtle tannins and bouncy acidity. Wine Circle. Best Buy. —F.A.
Château les Croisille 2020 Croizillon (Cahors); $11, 88 points. Produced in a style that brings out the fruit, this blackberry and currant-flavored wine bursts with brightness and a lively texture. With soft tannins and plenty of acidity, the wine is ready to drink. Garber and Co. Best Buy. —R.V.
Published: October 4, 2021