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Unknown Cheapies


My holiday trip down through France to Italy where we spent a day sorting the sale, finally, of our appartment in the outskirts of San Remo, it was originaly purchased as a stepping stone to moving to Italy when we retired but ill health stopped that and it became a bit of a mill stone which we let out in the summer to pay the costs etc, now badly in need of a total refurb we have sold at last, I could easily make a case for the Italian system being the most long winded and bureaucratic in Europe though I think we are now not far behind, but I digress.
We returned to Provence and stayed awhile at the Hotel Montmirail where I met, just, MOW I could probably done with a few tips on where to visit but the chance was missed !

As this was foremost a holiday winery visits were limited and some pre planning went in to make sure my time at wineries was not wasted, my notes on the wineries and wines tasted will follow, but for now I am going to wade ? through the cheapies I purchased in the French supermarkets, the sheer size of some of these places means you need a map and a lot of patience to find what you want, we only used three the biggest being the Auchan on the outskirts of Avignon.
Whilst madam went off, never to be seen again searching for necessities I perused the wine aisles, as there is virtually nothing non French on the shelves the choice is enormous and most of the cheaper producers names unknown, well to me anyway, I made a decision not to look for upmarket bargains owing to two factors, it is difficult with many to know if they are actually cheaper at home and the majority are not great years, so I declined, and went for cheap and cheerful we hope.
The bottles in the photo are the majority of what I brought back some were duplicated and the price was between 3.60 and 5.60 euros for the dearest.
I should add at this stage that a couple of bottles came from the LeClerc supermarket outside of Colmar on our stop on the return leg, not my favorite French supermarket but this one had a big and diverse wine range including Collioure’s and Bandols but they were out of the price band, but as you can see in the photo one of those bottles has been opened and drunk, the Alsace Pinot Noir at 5.20 euros.
This turned out to be very good for the price and actually improved with a bit of air time, sweet but not in a Chilean way a middling red in colour and some length, suprisingly at this price point and cherry and a bit of licorice, not bad at all, but, there is always a but, it did have a strange nose that did not diminish, had great difficulty putting a name to it even with help, a sort of cooked cold onion odour almost medicinal, but it would not stop me trying Alsace Pinot Noirs at this price in the future and there seem to be an increasing amount of them appearing.
As I was restricted to drinking whites with food as the wife cannot drink red wine a couple of very good cheaper ones came to the fore, firstly the Domaine de Montine Gourmandises blanc Grignan-les- Adhemar and secondly the Cotes de Rhone blanc from Chateau Concancoone Seguret, both cracking whites with that slightly oily smooth texture in the mouth, sadly I could not hunt them down in the shops, but needless to say TWS does stock the Gourmandises, I did also bring back some white wine from Domaine Brusset in Gigondas, I wont give my taste notes on the wines below until all have been consumed as some are comparable to the Ventoux wines and I want to see how they stack up against the more venerable estates in the area, quite well I think, TBC


We sometimes sell the Corsican Terra Nostra rouge (second from right), and currently have the white on the list:

We also often sell wines from the Cave de Turckheim range (left):


Bad news and good news. Bad news - TWS prices are way more expensive than SuperU or Carrefour. The good news - once you’ve factored in your ferry ticket and the petrol, TWS prices are suddenly very attractive- and if the bottle happens to be corked you get your money back😁

On the other hand, if you are that way any way it would be rude not to have a little dabble. We picked a couple of bottles of a lovely Filliatrou Saumur Champigny from a SuperU last week. The friends with us picked up something else, I know not what, and then opened it on return and it was corked. We declined to take them back to complain!


The Alsace co operatives have always been very good quality and value probably the best in France, as well as Turkheim, the ones at Beblenheim, Ribeauville, Hunawihr and others all do some good standard fare and often better, the co ops have flourished in the Alsace, and many own some well known brands/wineries.
They also have plots on some very good sites, the Turckheim one in the photo comes from Hengst and would cost a lot lot more from some of the other plot holders like Zindt Hubrecht, that one will be interesting to try.
The Corsican red you speak of in the photo has no information about the grape used or anything else, perhaps you could fill in the gaps Ewan, that one came from Leclerc in Colmar for around five euros, no doubt there will be a couple of duds but it is worth a dabble at those prices.


This is the one I think:

I bought it a while back. I was not too taken with it to be honest. My notes say a bit sharp. Would that be acidic maybe in proper lingo? Grape is sangiovese on that one.


Unknown cheapies indeed.

Married to a Breton… I face the same problem each year. Buying wine from the Hypermarket is like tal on the donkey - you have no way of knowing if those 6 bottles will be any good (and if buying a car-boot full of wine you cant advance taste many of them). It only takes a few duff bottles and any overall cost saving is wiped out.

Hence membership of TWS. I still get a wide choice of wines - but zero risk.

Regarding unknown cheapies from TWS … well basically its a case of avoid any appellation trading on the strength of it’s ‘name’ ie: Burgundy. If its known, it aint cheap.


Bit symplistic, you can buy from anyone not knowing exactly what you are getting and be disappointed, you can’t advance taste those wines from the WS the only difference is you can under certain circumstances return for a refund, but many of us who like to try the unknown take it upon ourselves to admit we have purchased a “wrong un” I am pretty sure if everyone took full advantage of what is a very generous policy by the WS by returning everything we didn’t like or were disappointed with the policy would have to change, many of us have said that a punt on an unknown wine is down to us and should not be an automatic exchange/return/refund scheme, because taken to its maximun it has a big flaw in it.
Half the fun in wine is exploring the unknown even at supermarket, here, or hypermarket over there, to talk of a couple of bottles being dud wiping out advantages is fair comment, but would the same logic apply to the EP offers that are opened and found to want more years or are past their best having spent serious money, oh no that is a totally different as it is concieved to be part of the game.
I would rather have a cheap punt and be disappointed than have a very expensive one as I have had in the past and not so past and have many others, and had the same result, caveat emptor.


@lapin_rouge We’re also pretty frequent visitors to France visiting family and always take the chance to hit the Hypermarket for unknown cheapies. I tend to find the hit rate is pretty high, even when exploring lesser known regions.

The tactic we’ve adopted for returning with a boot full is to buy maybe a dozen different single bottles at the beginning of the holiday and drink them over the time there, and then when it comes to the end of the holiday go back and buy a reasonable quantity of the very good ones. There’s always the odd duffer, but this does maximize the quality to cost-saving ratio :grinning:


That is exactly what we do - I even take a paint pen and write on the bottle which supermarket and price !

We have been caught out a couple of times so now, if we like it and we are passing the supermarket we will go and get it there and then rather than waiting for the end of the holiday and finding they have run out…its nice to see the collection gathering in the corner of the villa :grinning:


Indeed, and only once have we had the suspension warning light come on in the car when we’ve loaded the coming home collection :grimacing:



I’m left to pack the car…circ 120 bottles, normally in cases/cartons (some OWC) as they tessellate better …ok, so i’m an engineer!!


It’s amazing how many bottles you can get in the spare tyre space :rofl:, I’d probably get 180 bottles in if I left the kids in France but then I’d probably miss them :wink:.


Fans of extreme wine buying will tell you that the best thing to go in the spare tyre well is the bags of wine, removed from bag-in-box purchases.

Don’t forget too that you can strip the front seats out and sit on a stack of OWCs.


I can see by what I have read from you two that I am an amateur in the bring back the cheapies dept, perhaps a smallish trailer would be in order…

I should have added the trailer would be in addition to what can be carried inside the car, cough…


My kids (now aged nearly 24 and 18) still recount how they were made to travel back from France to Scotland from holiday with cases of wine below their feet when they were small.

Footrests I say…


I have a question to ask , having started this thread do I now go on to tell of my Rhone tastings and opinions on here as an ongoing tale or tag them on the Rhone threads already available, it might get a bit messy, as there is an Alsace part as well maybe it doesn’t matter, just pile it all in, but it would keep the one journey all together thoughts ?


How about a new thread along the lines of “Travels through the Rhone” and then one for the Alsace? Then contributors can discuss the specifics rather than getting lost in one mega Rhone thread that seems to swing between wines, reselling EP, recipes etc.

just my 2p’s worth


I think that’s a great idea !


I’ll go with that, it will get to messy especially when the cheapies are drunk !


Years ago, I drove a party of schoolchildren to the Camargue…other drivers, all teachers as well.
One of the non driving teachers had taken orders for wine to be picked up on the return journey. Detour via hypermarket.
Memory has 48 cases stashed in the coach luggage bays. It may have been more, but certainly not a lot less.