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Absolutely Cracking Wine

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Some of the country's top wine journalists choose bottles to suit every purse and palate

Red £3.99 to £5.99

Michael Broadbent
Vin de Pays de l'Aude
Berry's House Red, NV £4.50
Berry Bros & Rudd (T: 020 7396 9600)
Exceptionally good value and delicious.

Sarah Jane Evans
Vin de Pays d'Oc
Domaine Paul Mas, Ile de la Forge Merlot, 2004 £4.99Aldi (www.uk.aldi.com/wine)
Just to highlight the fact that J-C Mas has had a great year; great value; good quality; just right for the market

Patrick Schmitt
AC Côtes du Rhône-Villages
Domaine Chapoton, Rochegude, 2001, £5.99
Ex Cellar (T: 0800 083 8075)
Given a bottle unceremoniously at a dinner party and later opened it, just to get rid of it. Had it with steak/salad/girlfriend - perfect match, so surprised by quality, I finished it quickly

Red £6 to £9.99

Andrew Jefford
AC Côtes du Ventoux
Fayard, Domaine de Fondrèche, 2003, £6.00
The City Beverage Company Ltd (T: 020 7729 2111)
The best Côtes du Ventoux I've ever tasted

Amy Wislocki
AC Fitou
Les Douze, 2003, £6.49
Majestic Wine Warehouses Ltd (T: 01923 298 200)
Great value, fresh, herby white

Charles Metcalfe
AC Corbiéres
Château du Vieux Parc, la Sélection, 2001, £8.50
Jeroboams Ltd (T: 020 7985 1560)
Smooth, smoky and soft. A great example of the reds coming out of the South of France

Clive Platman
AC Minervois La Livinière
Château Sainte Eulalie, La Cantilène, 2002, £7.95
The wine Society (T: 01438 741177)

Andrew Jefford
AC Costières de Nímes
Terre de Feu, Château Mourgues du Grès, 2003, £7.45
Les Caves de Pyrene (T: 01483 538 820)

Andrew Jefford
AC Costières de Nímes
Terre d'Argence, Château Mourgues du Grès, 2003, £7.00
Les Caves de Pyrene (T: 01483 538 820)
Beats most Châteauneuf hollow

Maggie McNie MW
AC Côtes du Rhône
Chapoutier,2004, £6.49
Waitrose Ltd (T: 01344 424 680) Majestic'
Biodynamic production, mid weight, fruity and with braille on the label

Michael Broadbent
AC Beaujolais-Villages
Louis Jadot, Combes aux Jacques, 2004, £6.99
Asda (T: 0113 243 5435), Booths Supermarkets (T: 0800 197 0066), Somerfield (T: 0117 935 9359), Tesco Stores Ltd (T: 01992 632 222), Waitrose (T: 01344 424 680)
Delicious, exceptional value. Typical Gamay

Tim Atkin MW
Vin de Pays de l'Aude
Alicante, Ollieux Romanis, Jacqueline Bories, 2004, £9.99
Green & Blue (T: 07740 705 079), Bedales (T: 020 7403 8853)
Old vine Alicante Bouschet is an endangered species. More is the pity

Hugh Johnson
AC Burgundy
André Dupuis, Le Merrandier, 2003, £9.59
Direct Wines (T: 0118 903 0903)
Dark transparency. Intense, plummy Pinot Noir nose, crisp and pungent. Surprisingly astringent palate, central richness is not long-lived, very seductive.

Patrick Schmitt
AC Irancy
Simonnet-Febvre, 2003, £9.99
Partridges (T: 020 7730 7102), Corks Out (01925 210 673), Four Walls Wine Co (01243 535 360), Quaff Wine Merchants (07764 145 753, Vicki's Stores (01276 858 374), Smokehouse Wines (01625 540 123), Hunter's of Helmsley (T: 01439 771 307)
Had a chilled glass in France - decided perfect summer red, so ordered it for my sister's wedding. Drank gallons and no hangover - ultimate sign of good winemaking?

Matthew Jukes
AC Côtes du Rhône-Villages
Sylvette Bréchet, Domaine de la Jérome, 2003, £8.95
Jeroboams and Laytons Wine Merchants (T: 020 7985 1560)
It is awesome

Rosemary George
AC Saint Chinian
Château Cazal Vieil, Cuvée des Fées, 2003, £6.99
Waitrose (T: 01344 424 680)
Everything that the Midi shoud be

Red £10 and over

Natasha Hughes
AC Bergerac
Terre de Pique-Segue Rouge 2001
Watch this space! Conmans wholesalers, Dublin
There's more than a few Bordeaux producers who'd give their right arms to be able to make a wine as classy as this at these kind of prices.

Andrew Jefford
AC Madiran
Domaine Berthoumieu, Cuvée Charles de Batz, 2001, £12.50
Ex Cellar (T: 0800 083 8075), Philglas & Swiggot Ltd (T: 020 7924 4494)
I adore the 2001 and I see the 2002 has a gold medal from Paris, so he must have made a good job of the vintage

John Downes MW
AC Saint-Emilion
Union des Producteurs de Saint-Emilion, Andeli, 2001, £10
Bedales (T: 020 7403 8853)
Another wine I recently enjoyed as a generic St Emilion

Martin Isark
AC Burgundy
Vincent Girardin, Emotion de Terroirs, 2002, £12.49
Oddbins (T: 020 8944 4400)

Patricia Langton
AC Nuits-Saint-Georges
David Duband, 2002, £24.49
Oddbins (T: 020 8944 4400)
The charm of Burgundy is IRRESISTIBLE

Charles Metcalfe
AC Chassagne Montrachet
1er Cru Morgeot, Fernand et Laurent Pillot, 2002, £17.95
Lea & Sandeman Co Ltd (T: 020 7244 0522)
Savoury, intense nose, with firm tannins and elegant, savoury balance

Clive Platman
AC Minervois
Château Villerambert-Julien, 2001, £10.10
Tanners Wines Ltd (T: 01743 234 500); Lay & Wheeler group Ltd (T: 0845 330 1855)
Smooth & sophisticated, it's a superb marriage of fruit & oak. Very elegant, it outperforms for the price

Natasha Hughes
AC Cahors
Domaine Cosse-Maisonneuve, Le Petit Sid, 2001, £11.99
AdnamsWine Merchants (T: 01502 727 200)
From a 100% biodynamic domaine in the Cahors region, only established in 1999, but very quickly former rugby player Matthieu Cosse and his partner began to make waves. Elegant and expressive.

Michael Broadbent
AC Bordeaux
Château La Grave-Figeac, 1999, £17.99
Majestic Wine Warehouses Ltd (T: 01923 298 200)
Very typical Claret. Good nose. Perfect food wine. A charmer

Rosé £6 to £9.99

John Livingstone-Learmonth
AC Côtes du Rhône
Domaine des Escaravailles, 2004, £6.50
Lovely fruit and definition; ideal with a variety of salads, hors d'oeuvres, quiches, etc, or as an aperitif. More graceful than many southern rosés

White £3.99 to £5.99

Clive Platman
Vin de Pays des Côtes de Gascogne,
Domaine de Pellehaut, 2004, £4.95
Wm Morton Glasgow (T: 0141 649 9881), Averys of Bristol (T: 01275 811 100), Davy of London (T: 020 7283 4443), Blue Otter Wines (Bucks), CA Rookes Stratford upon Avon (T: 01789 297 777), Booths Supermarkets (T: 0800 197 0066)
Light, fresh and stylish, yet inexpensive

Maggie McNie MW
AC Muscadet
Côtes de Grandlieu, Fief Guérin, 2004
Waitrose Ltd (T: 01344 424 680)
Loaded with fruit and to show how much this region has improved its wines

Stephen Spurrier
AC Muscadet sur Lie
Château Touche 2004, £4.99
Majestic Wine Warehouses Ltd (T: 01923 298 200)
Classic Muscadet from an organically farmed family estate

Jamie Goode
AC Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine sur Lie
Sainsbury's Classic Selection Muscadet sur Lie, Domaine Jean Douillard, 2004, £4.99
Sainsbury's (T: 020 7695 6000)
Muscadet used to be cheap, tart, thin and neutral. This isn't. It's a deliciously fresh, white wine with a delicately herby edge. A great summer wine

Liz Sagues
AC Touraine
Première Touraine Sauvignon Blanc, 2004, £5.25
Sainsbury's (T: 020 7695 6000)
Just the sort of wine where France shows the New World the way forward

Simon Woods
AC Touraine
Sauvignon, Domaine de l'Aumonier, 2004, £5.75
Stone, Vine and Sun (T: 01962 712 351)
I want to tell many Sauvignons to go and stand in a corner, take a deep breath and only come back when they've calmed down. But here's one that manages to be tangy and fresh, but doesn't forget that wine is supposed to be drunk, not ogled

Amy Wislocki
AC Bordeaux
Dourthe No1 Blanc, 2004, £5.99
Waitrose (T: 01344 424 680), Thresher Group (T: 01707 387 200), Asda Stores Ltd (T: 0113 243 5435)
Modern benchmark white Bordeaux

Natasha Hughes
AC Coteaux du Languedoc
Picpoul de Pinet, Château de la Mirande, 2004, £5.50
Ex Cellar (T: 0800 083 8075), Green & Blue (T: 07740 705 079), Philglas & Swiggot (T: 020 7924 4494), Bedales (T: 020 7403 8853)
This Languedoc white has a real tang of the seashore to it. Not only does it make the ideal partner for the local fish, its depth of flavour and crisp acidity allow it to take on more complex fish dishes too

Joanna Simon
Vin de Pays des Côtes de Gascogne
Alain Brumont, Gros Manseng, 2004, £5.64
Les Caves de Pyrene (T: 01483 538 820)
Shows how good - and good value - Gros Manseng can be

Rosemary George
Vin de Pays d'Oc
La Baume Sauvignon Blanc, 2004, £5.49
Sainsbury's (T: 020 7695 6000)

Charles Metcalfe
Vin de Pays d'Oc
Labeye Chardonnay Viognier, 2004, £5.69
Oddbins (T: 020 8944 4400)
Excellent example of what the flexibility of Vin de Pays rules allows you to do. Aromatic, rich and exotic.

Hugh Johnson
Vin de Pays du Jardin de la France
Marquières, Noel Bougrier NV, £5.49
Direct Wines (T: 0118 903 0903)
Pale and smoky. More dimensions than the usual Sauvignon Blanc. Stony and depth of fruit; mirabelles, like biting yellow plums

Matthew Jukes
Vin de Pays d'Oc
Domaine Begude Chardonnay,2004, £5.77
Goedhuis & Co Ltd (T: 020 7793 7900)
It is awesome

Patricia Langton
Vin de Pays d'Oc
Arrogant Frog Chardonnay Viognier, 2004, £5.99
Unwins Wine Group (T: 01322 272 711)
A fine example of a modern, well-made French wine

Tim Atkin MW
AC Côtes de Saint-Mont
Saint Mont,2004, £5.99
Marks & Spencer (T: 020 8718 4075)
Unusual, rare varieties; fantastic flavours AND a brilliant cooperative

Martin Isark
AC Burgundy
Marks & Spencer Chardonnay, 2004, £5.99
Marks & Spencer (T: 020 8718 4075)

White £6 to £9.99

Stephen Spurrier
Vin de Pays du Jardin de la France
Levin Sauvignon Blanc, 2004
Novum Wines Ltd (T: 020 7395 0290), Virgin Wines Online Ltd (T: 01603 889 688. www.virginwines.com)
A new benchmark for Sauvignon blancs from the Loire and beyond

Simon Woods
AC Jurançon Sec
Domaine Castera, 2003, £7.95
Great Western Wine Co Ltd (T; 01225 322 800), V.G.Wine Library (T: 01202 789 090), Amey's Wines (T: 01787 377 144), Excellars (T: 0800 083 8075), Charles Steevenson Wines (T: 01822 616 272)
Criminally under-exposed in the UK, Jurançon is a place that can do full-flavoured, interesting whites without recourse to winemaking trickery.

Natasha Hughes
AC Jurançon Sec
Clos Lapeyre, 2004, £8.00
Philglas and Swiggot Ltd (T: 020 7924 4494), Food Hall in Shoreditch (T: 020 7729 6005)
A brilliant example of just how good a wine made from Gros Manseng can be. Rich and ripe, this wine has complexity and terroir in spades

Natasha Hughes
AC Bergerac
Domaine de l'Ancienne Cure, 2004, £7.50
Yapp Brothers Ltd (T: 01747 860 423)
The Domaine de l'Ancienne Cure is best known for its sweet whites, but has proven itself equally capable of making classy dry whites too. The 2004 is not only packed with zingy fruit, it's also cracking value for money.

Liz Sagues
AC Pacherenc de Vic Bihl Sec
Alain Brumont, Château Bouscassé, 2002, £9.00
Philglas & Swiggot Ltd (T: 020 7924 4494)
Individual, fascinating, complex, long - uniquely French

Joanna Simon
AC Irouléguy
Xuri d'Ansa, Cave de Saint-Etienne de Baigorry, 2003, £9.28
Reid Wines (T: 01761 452 645), Philglas & Swiggot Ltd (T: 020 7924 4494)
A rare white Irouléguy - and shows the class of the two Mansengs

Patricia Langton
AC Limoux
La Bégude Chardonnay, 2002, £7.99
Waitrose Ltd (T: 01344 424 680)
Great style from the South of France

Sarah Jane Evans
Languedoc, AC Limoux
D'A Limoux Chardonnay, Domaine Paul Mas, 2002 £6.98
Asda Stores Ltd (T: 0113 243 54 35)
This producer, J-C Mas has had a great year; great value; good quality; just right for the market

Martin Isark
Burgundy AC Chablis
Marks & Spencer Chablis, 2002 £9.89
Marks & Spencer plc (T: 020 8718 4075)

White £10 and over

Andrew Jefford
Vin de Pays des Bouches du Rhône
Dominique Hauvette, Blanc de Blancs, 2003, £28.50
Bedales (T: 020 7403 8853)
I love its haunting, glycerous, vegetal qualities, and I've always felt that Provence may well prove to be a better white wine area than red in the long run

Andrew Jefford
AC Julienas
Domaine du Clos du Fief, Cuvée Prestige, 2003, £12.25
Lay & Wheeler (T: 0845 330 1855)
Very impressive

Jamie Goode
AC Roussillon
Domaine Matassa Blanc, 2004, £25.00
Adnams Wine Merchants (2002 only) (T: 01502 727 200), Bordeaux Index (T: 020 7253 2110)
Utterly stunning, complex, full flavoured white with good ageing potential from one of the region's rising stars

John Livingstone-Learmonth
AC St-Joseph
Les Oliviers, Domaine Gonon, 2003, £17.85
Vine Trail Ltd (T: 0117 921 1770)
Lovely width, great heart in the wine, and elegance. Drink with white meats, refined fish like turbot, halibut. A real treat, shows what the Marsanne can do (80% Marsanne, 20% Roussanne)

John Downes MW
AC Jurançon Sec
Charles-Hours, Cuvée Marie, 2002, £9.99/£11.99
H & H Bancroft Wines (T: 020 7232 5450), Bacchanalia (T: 01223 576 292), www.everywine.co.uk, Noel Young Wines (T: 01223 844 744), The Wine Library (T: 020 7481 0415)

Liz Sagues
AC Burgundy
Vincent Girardin, Emotion de Terroirs, 2002, £12.50
Oddbins (T: 020 8944 4400)
Lovely Burgundy at a very sensible price

Rosemary George
AC Chablis
Vaillons, Domaine Dauvissat-Camus 2001, £14.60
Justerini & Brooks Ltd (T: 020 7484 6400)
Classic chablis from a great producer, beginning to mature nicely.

Charles Metcalfe
AC Rully
1er Cru La Pucelle, Domaine Paul Jacqueson, 2003, £13.95Lea & Sandeman (T: 020 7244 0522)
Sweetly grassy and lovely now, with ripe fruit, a hint of grass on the palate, buttery with hints of oak and citrus

Tim Atkin MW
AC Pouilly-Fuissé
Christophe Cordier, Terroirs Rares, 2004, £15.99
Majestic Wine Warehouses Ltd (T: 01923 298 200)
It's easy to overlook white Burgundy. This is smashing value

Simon Woods
AC Alsace
Muscat Grand Cru Spiegel, Dirler-Cadé, 2002, £14.75Berry Bros & Rudd Ltd (T: 020 7396 9600)
Kudos to BBR for digging out this exciting new (and biodynamic) producer. Perhaps not the best wine in their range, but a great example of an underrated style

Maggie McNie MW
AC Alsace
Pinot Gris, Josmeyer, Le Fromenteau, 2003, £13.15
Waitrose (T: 01344 424 680); The Wright Wine Co (T: 01756 700 886); Mills Whitcombe (T: 01981 550 028)
Great classic dry, spicy style, really mouthfilling

Joanna Simon
AC Alsace
Pinot Gris, Frédéric Mockel, 2003, £10.95
Vine Trail Ltd (T: 0117 921 1770)
Textbook Alsace Pinot Gris - with power and intensity, but more elegance than most, especially in the 2003 vintage

Matthew Jukes
AC Coteaux du Layon Beaulieu
L'Anclaie, Château Pierre-Bise, 2003, £12.95
Lea & Sandeman (T: 020 7244 0522)
It is awesome

Patrick Schmitt
AC Alsace
Riesling, Clos Windsbuhl, Domaine Zind-Humbrecht, 2002, £34.95
Berry Bros & Rudd (T: 020 7396 9600)
Haven't tried more famous Pinot Gris from this wineyard but Riesling will do me fine. Fought for a bottled of 95 over tennis. Great after game - savoured it with turkey sandwiches and chips, incredible.

To find out more information about all the wines featured and many more visit www.wines-france.com/uk

Win a mixed case of top French wines

To celebrate National Dinner Party Week, 10-16th October we are giving 15 lucky readers a chance to bag a mixed case of some of the top selling French wines on the high street.

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