Tag Archives: White Wine



First of all, I want to acknowledge the huge amount of damage to the vineyards of France and much of central Europe by the frosts of the past week, which continue as I write this. It is possible that a majority of the 2021 vintage may be lost. The damage runs from First Growth Bordeaux to Chablis, to Champagne to everyday wines. It is tragic and will be felt for a long time.

I haven’t posted on this blog in quite some time – since November 2019, in fact, during those pre-COVID halcyon days of bliss. The main reason for my absence from these pages, while not from wine, has been that since I have been living in France for 3 years or so now, my experience with wine has changed. It has become more of a relationship with a smaller number of mostly unpretentious and unspectacular wines consumed, for the most part, with meals. If anything, COVID cemented this relationship, as our restaurants are closed and the occasional “special bottle” with a restaurant meal has not been in the mix. When I last wrote about our wine experience living in Lyon (LINK), I was new to the area and just beginning to learn.

While Dorianne and I have extended our pricing for “everyday wines” from an upper limit of about 12€ to about 16€, putting a few second labels from Burgundy in range. Despite this, our average expenditure is likely under 10€ per bottle. This is because I have found a number of labels in the 7€ range that are good enough to drink just about every day. I will list and describe these wines later, but I am not sure that they can be found outside of France. Suffice to say, that for 16€ and under, you can find very drinkable wines from just about any region in France (even Burgundy!). Equivalent wines in the US, in my experience, tend to cost upward of $25.

Another change is that our social circle here is not so wine-centric as the one we left behind in California. The French, with some exceptions of course, view wine as a grocery item. One French friend who loves to drink wine and visit wineries, seldom spends more than 4€ for a bottle. There is a bit more wine talk among the English-speaking expat community here, but not all that much.

Our diets have gotten lighter here and we drink more whites and rosés, especially in spring and summer, but also in winter with fish, salads, and soups.

My purchasing habits here in Lyon are different than they were in the US. I have gradually expanded outward geographically, as each wine shop (cave) here is unique. Each shop has one or two (or more) very good French wines at lower price points; each shop has different wines from the various regions. Most larger supermarkets have some very nice wines on their shelves. Some have more international choices – I get good Spanish, Italian, and Middle Eastern varieties at an Armenian grocery store; Port wines at a Portuguese bodega near the Portuguese consulate; South African wines at a major chain grocery; and even some Penfold’s from my local wine shop.

I have begun to buy more wines online from the producers – wines from Lirac, Tavel, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, Pommard, Beaune, and the northern Rhône Valley. When we can, we visit wineries and co-ops nearby in Mâcon, Pouilly-Fuissé, also in Morgon, Moulin-à-Vent, and Fleurie in the Beaujolais.

Since we have not been back to the US for over a year, our cave has about 6 bottles of California wines left. But it is fully stocked with other wines, about 90% are French, many purchased at the fall wine festivals (LINK) which I hope return this year.

About half the time, we drink wines which are under 20€ and we consider “everyday wines.” I will do another post featuring those wines soon.

As promised, here are our go-to everyday wines for ten euros or less. Le Versant is a favorite. They make other wines as well, but these are the ones available near us. These are wines that I would share with anyone who visits, as they represent their regions well. They are not of premiere cru quality, but they don’t have to be. I would say that each is worth 2 to 3 times what they sell for.


Le Versant Syrah 6,99 €

Le Versant Cabernet 6,99 €

Château Junayme, Fronsac Bordeaux blend 6,35 €

Château Etang des Colombes, Corbières Red Blend 7,40 €

La Bastide St. Dominic, Côte-du-Rhône Red Blend 7,99 €


Le Versant Chardonnay 6,99 €

Le Versant Sauvignon 6,99 €

Le Versant Viognier 5,60 €

Les Orfèvres du Vin, Mâconnaise Aligoté 7,50 €

So that’s what Dorianne and I are drinking most nights with dinner. France offers a wealth of very drinkable wines at very good prices, once you learn what to look for. As we all hope that the local vignerons manage to survive these frosts, let us be grateful for the French wines that we can enjoy today.

As always, your comments are welcomed.

Copyright 2021 – Jim Lockard


In a few days (OK – in a month or so – we didn’t get this done before leaving for Oregon for five weeks), I will assemble a panel to taste the range of Los Vascos wines from Chile. We do not have every wine that they produce, but five will do for this purpose.


I have always listed the Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon as one of my go-to everyday red wines. Now we will extend out a bit an add the 2012 Grand Reserve Cabernet, the 2012 Carmenere Grand Reserve, the 2014 Chardonnay, and the 2015 Sauvignon Blanc.

Watch this space for the tasting report.


In the summer, my tastes move into the realm of rosés and whites, probably reversing the normal 75% red to 25% white ration of the rest of the year. Summers mean more lighter foods served cold, more seafood and salads and fresh vegetables from the garden.

Today, my go-to whites for this summer are featured. We’ll look at rosés in another post Thee wines seem to change each year, a factor of things like availability, special bargains that arise, and my own shifting tastes. A few years ago, Dorianne and I were visiting Laetitia Winery north of Santa Maria and discovered that they were selling their very nice Sauvignon Blanc for $60 a case. That became our go-to wine for the rest of that summer!Wine - les-portes du Bordeaux

This summer, there are two, and they are both from France. The first is Les Portes de Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc (2012) from Trader Joe’s. It sells for $6.99 and is a very nicely-crafted single varietal from Bordeaux. We tried a bottle in early June and have been buying it ever since. It is simply a very nice every day white wine.

The sec2014-08-05 19.36.54ond is Louis Latour Chardonnay Grand Ardèche (2012). It sells for $10.99 and is available in lots of places. For an every-day wine, it is very well-balanced and pairs well with a variety of dishes. Dorianne made an Italian sweet onion soup last night, and the Latour was a perfect match.

We have also had a couple of nice bottles of Sancerre Blanc from DOMAINE HIPPOLYTE REVERDY, a Kermit Lynch Wines pick.Wine - Sancerre Label Lynch I purchased this  at Total Wine and Spirits for $23.00 and have returned to buy more. It is a very nice, well-crafted special occasion wine. We were motivated to try it as we are following the New York Times Wine School each month with friends, and Sancerre was the wine last month.

In finding your own go-to whites, I suggest that you spend some time exploring and keep your eye out for bargains. Remember, you expect a $50 bottle of wine to be good – when you find a bottle around $10 that you enjoy – that is a find!

Let me know your favorite summer whites in the comments.