The French region has no shortage of high-quality, value-driven red wines. Many simply carry the Bordeaux label, but if you want to drill down and get to know various appellations without breaking the bank, we’ve got just the regional designations you should watch out for—Graves, Côtes des Bordeaux and Saint-Émilion and its satellites—as well as our favorite picks for $35 and under.
Saint-Émilion and Satellites
Registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Right Bank region of Saint-Émilion isn’t exactly a secret. Along with its satellite appellations of Lussac-Saint-Émilion, Montagne-Saint-Émilion, Puisseguin-Saint-Émilion and Saint-Georges Saint-Émilion, it’s been treasured by value minded Bordeaux sippers for years.
92 Château Haut-Cadet 2018 Saint-Émilion. At this stage, wood aging shows strongly in this rich wine. The dominance of Merlot gives a sense of opulence and ripe black fruits. As it develops, the wine will reveal concentration and depth from the fine tannins. Drink from 2025. Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits. —R.V. abv: 14.5% Price: $30
92 Château Haut-Goujon 2016 Montagne-Saint-Émilion. With half aged in new wood, this balanced and juicy blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon shows pedigree and richness. The structure has softened and matured, the blackcurrant fruits rounded out with spice. Drink now. Vineyards to Table. —R.V. abv: 13.5% Price: $25
92 Château la Dominique 2018 Relais de la Dominique (Saint-Émilion). The second wine of classed growth La Dominique picks up on the top wine’s richness and concentration while having a softer profile. With richness and density allied to the black-fruit flavors, this wine will develop well and should be ready from 2024. Multiple U.S. importers. —R.V. abv: 14% Price: $30
90 Château Teyssier 2018 Saint-Émilion. Big and rich, this balanced and accessible wine is generous both with its black fruits and smooth texture. The density and core of tannins do not detract from the full, fruity character. The wine will develop quickly. Drink from 2023. World’s End. —R.V. abv: 14.5% Price: $35
90 Château Lyonnat 2018 Lussac Saint-Émilion. Made with 85% Merlot, this wine is richly textured, full of jammy black fruits with good structure and balancing acidity. It is coming together with its fresh edge to be drinkable from 2022. Monsieur Touton. —R.V. abv: 14.5% Price: $24
This Left Bank region south of Haut-Médoc is well-known for sweet and white wines, but it’s got a long history with high-quality reds.
93 Château de Cérons 2018 Graves. This grand estate is located just north of the village of Cérons. Its renaissance is now complete and this latest release is well structured, rich with dense tannins and juicy with black-currant flavors. The wine will certainly age. Drink from 2023. Wineberry America. —R.V. abv: 14% Price: $28
92 Château de Chantegrive 2018 Graves. This wine is young but has great potential. The tannins shine, balanced with powerful black fruits and a solid, dense texture. The wine will age well and will be at its best from 2023. Saranty Imports. Cellar Selection. —R.V. abv: 14.5% Price: $26
92 Château Ferrande 2018 Graves. From one of the best-performing estates in the Graves appellation, this wine has rich tannins as well as dense black-currant fruits. It is a solid, dark and likely long-lived wine. Drink from 2022. Luneau USA —R.V. abv: 13% Price: $29
90 Château Millet 2018 Graves. From the north of the Graves region, this wine has good balance, with a perfumed edge from the Cabernet Franc in the blend alongside the elegant Cabernet Sauvignon structure. This wine will be ready from 2023. MHW, Ltd. —R.V. abv: 13.5% Price: $30
90 Château Trébiac 2018 Graves. Owned by the De Butler family, this estate has produced a soft, juicy and black-fruited wine. Generous tannins and crisp acidity come together with succulent fruit to give a wine that will develop quickly. Drink from 2022. The Wine Company. —R.V. abv: 14.5% Price: $17
Côtes des Bordeaux
Comprising Blaye-Côtes de Bordeaux, Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux, Francs Côtes de Bordeaux, Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux and Sainte-Foy Côtes de Bordeaux, this Right Bank region produces a range of styles.
92 Château Ampélia 2018 Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux. This estate is under the same ownership as classed growth Château Grand-Corbin-Despagne in Saint-Émilion. A dense, richly wood-aged wine, this also offers concentrated black fruits. Cabernet Franc in the blend gives the wine a perfumed, stylish character. Drink from 2023. BNP Distributing. Editors’ Choice. —R.V. abv: 15% Price: $24
92 Château de Francs 2018 Les Cerisiers (Francs Côtes de Bordeaux). The small appellation of Francs Côtes de Bordeaux, situated north of Castillon, can produce some impressive wines, such as this. With dark tannins and concentrated fruit, the wine, from vines planted in a former cherry orchard, is set to age. It should be ready from 2024. Masciarelli Wine Co. Editors’ Choice.—R.V. abv: 14.5% Price: $19
92 Château le Doyenné 2018 Côtes de Bordeaux. With oenologue Michel Rolland’s team behind this estate, it is not surprising that this wine is rich while also structured and perfumed. Wood aging gives a final polish to a full, generous and age-worthy wine. Drink from 2023. Fruit of the Vines, Inc. Cellar Selection.—R.V. abv: 14.5% Price: $18
91 Château La Grange Clinet 2018 Réserve (Côtes de Bordeaux). With its rich and jammy black-fruited Merlot, this wine, from a vineyard just outside the city of Bordeaux, is generous. Young, dense tannins complement the full, black fruits. Drink this balanced wine from 2023. Luneau USA. Editors’ Choice.—R.V. abv: 14.5% Price: $18
90 Château Suau 2018 Côtes de Bordeaux. This Merlot with 20% Cabernet Sauvignon from a 160-acre vineyard was aged in wood for 12 months, enhancing the richness and generosity of the blackberry flavors. Ripe tannins play well into the concentration of a wine that will age. Drink from 2023. Pacific Highway. —R.V. abv: 13.5% Price: $18