Languedoc-Roussillon is not only the biggest wine-producing area of France, it is also one of the best for great-value, food-friendly reds such as these three bottles.
Bergerie de l'Hortus Rouge Pic Saint Loup 2009
This mainly Syrah blend, from vines harvested on the cooler slopes of Pic Saint Loup, north of Montpellier, is more elegant than some others, delivering rich, dark fruits with a complex, slightly minty finish. Garlicky lamb with a tian of Mediterranean vegetables would do nicely. £12.95, bbr.com
Tesco Finest Côtes Catalanes 2010
Ancient Grenache grapes, from sun-baked vines up to 100 years old, grown close to the Spanish border, are used to make this rustic, robust red that cries out to be drunk on a shady terrace, with the sea in the distance and the mountains behind. If you can't manage the location, at least try it with a chorizo-and-prawn paella, in honour of the Catalan culture which dominates both sides of the Pyrénées in this region. £7.79, Tesco
Domaine des Trois Pierres, Costières de Nimes 2010
From the other extremity of the Languedoc-Roussillon, a Grenache-Syrah-Mourvèdre blend which is somewhat closer to a Rhône wine in style and has a juicy freshness about it, while still delivering some interesting blackberry and chocolate flavours and a lengthy finish. Anything involving pasta with a meaty or spicy tomato sauce is in order here. £5.59 (until 20 March; normally £6.99), Waitrose