Olly Smith’s best alternative French wines

France is wine’s spiritual home. Prestige and renown can pump up prices, but it still has a hoard of hidden gems which remain bafflingly underrated. Wine that has fallen from fashion is where I love to look. Muscadet is a prime example – quality and value are superb at the moment. Try buying from nearby the famous names, or look for lesser-known places to get the real steals, such as Aldi’s rosé from Ventoux.

Best alternative French wines

SPECIALLY SELECTED VENTOUX ROSÉ

SPECIALLY SELECTED VENTOUX ROSÉ 2021 (13%), £6.99, Aldi. You have to buy this! Think Provence plus – with more flavour and bang for your buck.

PAUL MAS HÉRITAGE CLAIRETTE

PAUL MAS HÉRITAGE CLAIRETTE 2020 (12.5%), £9, Sainsbury’s. The barbecue wine of this summer, textural with pineapple zing, it’s delicious.

DOMAINE DE L’IDYLLE CRUET ALPINE JACQUÈRE

DOMAINE DE L’IDYLLE CRUET ALPINE JACQUÈRE 2021 (11%), £13.75, yapp.co.uk. Like a mountain carved from grapefruit peel with lemony glaciers.

CHÂTEAU DU MOULIN À VENT

CHÂTEAU DU MOULIN-À-VENT 2018 (13%), £17.50, thewinesociety.com. Old vines give this Gamay great heart. Lively, ripe and firm, this is perfect to pair with fillet steak.

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