Sips: Finding excellent value in an easily dismissed French white

We have a French friend who sniffs at the thought of wines from the corner of the country where he lives – the Dordogne in southwest France. When it comes to such local appellations as Cahors or Bergerac, he dismisses them as country bumpkins of  French wine, preferring, among others, wines from Bordeaux, the Dordogne’s illustrious neighbor to the north. He is, of course, entitled to his opinion, and it may have been largely true at one time, but I will suggest to my friend the next time I see him that this is old thinking.

Bergerac What got me focused on the region once again was a bottle I bought the other night at my local wine store, Martin Brothers on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. I like to start most evenings with a refreshing white while cooking and unwinding, and I find myself chronically short of them. One that will easily fill the void is Grandissime’s 2009 Bergerac, a dry and elegant Bordeaux-style blend of sauvignon blanc and semillon. The $10.99 price will make it easy to keep on hand as an aperitif wine and well beyond. Light but with nice complexity, it shows pear, green apple, apple skin and herb notes. Alcohol at 12.5 percent and little or no oak  make it effortless to drink. Enjoy it with fish, shellfish and simple chicken dishes.

This is the kind of wine that makes me turn to France time and again, especially to the lesser-known appellations that offer some of the best values around. And when my friend is in New York, perhaps I’ll pour him a glass of a wine practically grown in his own backyard. Imported by Gabriella Importers, Bohemia, New York.

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