Wine experts reveal cheap alternative to fancy French classics

Wine experts reveal cheap alternative to fancy French classics


Priced out of French wine? Experts reveal the swaps YOU can make to save money – including opting for a Chilean pinot noir instead of a Burgundy

  • Buying French wines can be daunting as they are known to be expensive 
  • Sam Caporn, Mistress of Wines, reveals the wines that will not break the bank 
  • She says you should consider other European countries or the New World, for wines that are just as good as France’s finest but for a fraction of the price  

French wine is often considered the best in the world, but for of us it is simply unaffordable. 

With the majority of wines labelled regionally rather than by variety, it can be hard to understand which grape the bottle has been made from and how your wine will taste.  

Luckily, experts have advised the best way to find a cheap alternative to the French classics  – explaining looking further afield to other European countries and beyond could be key to finding your new favourite bottle.

FEMAIL spoke to Sam Caporn, mistress of wine and face of the Aldi Wine School, and other UK wine experts, to learn more about which wines to pick for a taste as good as, if not better, than expensive French labels. 

Experts have now revealed the best way to find a cheap alternative to the French classics – explaining looking further afield to other European countries, and beyond, could be key to finding your new favourite bottle 

Instead of: Burgundy

Try: A Chilean pinot noir 

The famed region of Burgundy in France produces reds made from the Pinot Noir grape renowned for its large berries, gentle tannins and soft fruit flavours. 

Sam suggests instead of selecting a Bourgogne Rouge for example, try Aldi’s Specially Selected Chilean Pinot Noir (£5.79, 75cl). 

This special offers a lighter colour and structure. Sam suggests chilling this wine for the summer months. 

Made in Casablanca Valley this wine boasts floral hints and violet, which are followed by red fruit aromas, with inviting subtle textures. 

Instead of: Beaujolais

Try: A German pinot noir

Beaujolais in the Loire Valley is known for its Gamay grape variety, which creates light and refreshing Pinot Noir. 

Fans of this light-bodied wine will know that this a very fussy grape which won’t grow just anywhere.  

A Virgin Wines’ expert suggested looking at German wine regions – they say you’ll find the light-bodied, low tannin and high acidity like Beaujolais in a German Pinot Noir. 

For a fresh and fruit-driven, try the Modernist Pinot Noir 2020 from Virgin Wines, available for £11.99. 

It’s elegant, light and fruity with aromas of ripe cherry and strawberries, and hints of peppery spice.

Instead of: Champagne

Try: A sparkling wine from South Africa 

Nothing beats an extra dry bottle of bubbly from the famed French region of Champagne. 

This can come with an expensive price tag with many bottles retailing upwards of £50, but Sam says you can get a bottle that has been made in the traditional method for a fraction of the price. 

She suggested Aldi’s Cap Classique from South Africa (£11.99, 75cl), which boasts notes of nuts, pastry and apple. 

This bottle of sparkling wine is filled with aromas of lemon, lime and green apple. Experts from The Wine Society also suggest opting for a bottle of Spanish Cava. 

Cava has more citrus notes and hints of pear or quince, but more savoury, mineral flavors and less fruity sweetness. 

Instead of: Provence 

Try: A German Pinot Noir

Provence rosé has accelerated in recent years, with its unique bottles, pretty pale pink colour and intense fresh flavour that is described as dry, minerally and delicately fruity. 

Sam suggests opting for a German Pinot Noir rosé, which is dry but with attractive juicy red berry fruits and cheaper than its French counterpart. 

German rosé has doubled in production over the past decade and is just as good as its French counterpart as it combines delightful fruitiness and crisp acidity.

A great option is Waitrose’s Johann Wolf Pinot Noir Rosé Pfalz Germany (£9.99, 75cl), which combines delightful fruitiness and crisp acidity.

Instead of: Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Try: A Portuguese Douro  

Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the big, rich (in flavour as well as price) red wine from the southern Rhône Valley. 

The Wine Society hints at Lirac, which its experts describe as the area’s best kept secret, as the grapes are used the same, but the prices are often half of those of its better-known neighbour. 

However, Sam said Portugal provides extraordinary value for wines at the moment and suggests opting for Douro, which packs a full-bodied punch. 

Try Morrisons’ The Best Douro Red (£8.25, 75cl) with flavours of ripe plums with a hint of spicy black pepper. 

Instead of: Coteaux du Giennois

Try: A bottle of Austria’s Gruner Veltliner

The Loire Valley is the spiritual home of Sauvignon Blanc, characterised by its light-bodied, fruity and crisp, dry taste.

Grüner Veltliner is a dry white wine that grows almost only in Austria, which makes it the perfect, yet more exotic alternative to Sauvignon Blanc. 

Tesco’s Era Gruner Veltliner (£8, 75cl) is an Austrian wine that has flavours of green pepper and lime with a zingy finish. 

Coupled with a fresh light colour and peppery taste this wine perfect for any occasion. 

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