The consumption of wine in France is highly regional; the French tend to drink locally -- the two exceptions they will generally make are wines from the world renowned regions of Bordeaux and Burgundy. I, too, know wines from those two regions and a few others in France, but it was a voyage of discovery for me to visit the South West France (Sud-Ouest) wine region in September, an area that includes appellations inland and south of Bordeaux such as Gascony, Galliac and Cahors. I found some hidden gems in the areas I visited and at a subsequent wine tasting in San Francisco that involved tasty, refreshing white wines at super values. Although the wines are not household names (yet) in the U.S., they are available in both retail stores and at restaurants. These are a couple of the most impressive values:
2012 Plaimont Colombelle L'Original Blanc. This wine is made from Colombard and Ugni Blanc grapes, usually used in Cognac, in the Gascony region. It is a refreshing white wine with the tart, grapefruity essence of many New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs, but subtler and more delicate. Suggested retail price is $8.99.
In a similiar vein, the 2012 Domaine Duffour, also from Gascony, tickled my palate with its fresh, citrus-like brightness. It is made of Colombard with Ugni Blanc, and an additional local grape called Gros Manseng, which has great potential for winemaking in the area. Moderate alcohol level of 12% and suggested retail price of $9.99