Good French wine for under 5 Euros

Good French wine for under 5 Euros

One of the joys of visiting France is being able to drink reasonable quality affordable wine, often at half the price or less of the same wine back home. Now I love a good bottle of French wine for a special occasion but when I was living in France we decided, for everyday drinking purposes, to see how low we could go – could we get a bottle that was really pleasant for less than 6, 5, 4 or maybe even below 3 euros? I’m not talking about wine en vrac – I mean a bottle that you can buy at the supermarket that you could happily enjoy drinking with friends without feeling like a cheapskate. Something that didn’t make you feel worse the next morning (quality-wise, not quantity!), something that you would recommend and reliably enjoy drinking again and again. I know it’s subjective, and that tastes and budgets vary but I’m going to share my experience and I hope to hear from others with their recommendations.

560cuveepremiereblancdetcopieI’m kicking off with a white wine that fitted the bill perfectly. Côtes de Duras. An AOC wine cultivated around the town of Duras in the Lot-et-Garonne.

Our little how low can you go experiment seemed to show that it was easier to drink some quite quaffable red wines at 4 Euros and below (enormous variations!) but for white wine it was more of a challenge. The cheaper you go the thinner and more acid they seem to become. But the Côtes de Duras Sauvignon Blanc turned out to be a hidden star, a really nice crisp Sauvignon that was easily available and turned out a consistent wine year after year. At 4.50 EUR it proved to be a winner and I soon discovered we weren’t the only ones in our neighbourhood drinking it.  

Strictly for research purposes I visited Duras – it’s a really pleasant hill-side town inland from Bordeaux and the Gironde, in that part of the Aquitaine which used to be Gascony. Apparently they have similar chalky soil conditions to Bordeaux though the climate is a little warmer. They produce reds and rosés too but I haven’t tried them – my boot was full of the Sauvignon.

I’d love to hear from people in Aquitaine or other regions of France with their best local good quality favourites for under five euros – please leave your comments below.

À ta santé!

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I first travelled to France aged 17, hitch-hiking across the country with school-friends. We returned the following year with a better means of transport - a 1960s Morris 1000 Traveller - and spent a month touring from Calais down the West coast, across the Pyrénées and eventually reached Menton on the border with Italy. These experiences must have planted a seed within me because after a long career in media I took a sabbatical with my family in 2003 and we moved to live in the Charente. It was a great time, leading to many new adventures and meeting some lovely people. One of the things that came out of our time there was the website FrenchEntré, a hobby that has turned into a business. In 2014 we celebrate 10 years of publishing and sharing information, advice and inspiration on living and holidaying in France and buying French property. As Editor in Chief of our sister publication, France Today,, I am fortunate enough to travel in France regularly and even after many years I am still thrilled to discover the amazing diversity of its landscapes and destinations, the fascinating history and culture and I continue to enjoy the warmth and personality of the French people.

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  • fe_graham
    2014-10-02 15:31:14
    Can I cheat and propose the Lussac St Emilion (chateau Bonnin Pichon) which is usually €5.99 in Auchan but which does occasionally appear as a special offer if you buy a case of six which brings it into play? I'm a little biased as I do love nipping down to St Emilion and stocking up the car with different types directly from the vineyard - which is far more pleasant than traipsing round the Auchan in Cognac on a Saturday morning. However, whenever I see this particular bottle on "promo" I always buy a case or two. It's perfect with a barbecued Cote de Boeuf, nicely charred on the outside but rare in the middle....