Good Bordeaux wine doesn’t have to be expensive!
The Bordeaux Value Wine Guide covers the best, well priced wines from Bordeaux located in the Right Bank and various satellite appellations: Cotes de Castillon, Lalande de Pomerol, Fronsac, Canon Fronsac, Bordeaux Superieur, Entre Deux Mers and Cotes de Bordeaux.
If you want to read about other Bordeaux wine producers in different Bordeaux appellations: Links to all Bordeaux Wine Producer Profiles If you are interested in learning more about Bordeaux wine, we offer numerous articles on everything about Bordeaux wine, from a history of the Bordeaux region and the famous 1855 Classification, to the grapes used to produce Bordeaux wine and even vintage summaries covering Bordeaux wine from 1900 to today: All About Bordeaux Wine Guide
The links located to the left of the page lead to complete profiles on the best value priced Bordeaux wine and include wine tasting notes, detailed histories, information on the wines, vineyards, wine making, winemakers and other important information, as well as view images of the following top Bordeaux value wine producers:
- 20 Mille
- Bad Boy
- Bad Girl
- Beausejour Montagne
- Cap de Faugeres
- Clos de Bouard
- Clos L’Eglise
- Clos Lunelles
- Croix de Justice
- Croix Mouton
- Domaine de l’A
- de Courteillac
- La Fleur de Bouard
- G Guinaudeau
- Grand Village
- Gigault Cuvee Viva
- Haut Carles
- Hostens Picant
- Jean Faux
- Joanin Becot
- La Croix de Perenne
- La Dauphine
- La Graviere
- La Prade
- Le Conseiller
- Les Cruzelles
- Les Grands Marechaux
- Le Pin Beausoleil
- Moulin Haut Laroque
- Moulin Pey Labrie
- Pey La Tour
- La Riviere
- Roc de Cambes
- Sainte Colombe
- Vieille Cure
- Virginie Thunevin
- Vrai Canon Bouche
The best Bordeaux wine from the Satellite Appellations are often forward in style, offering supple, rich textures and lush finishes at an early age. Plus, the majority of these delicious wines are often available for between $15 and $40, making them affordable.
The satellite appellations of Bordeaux consist of a myriad of different communes, soils and terroir. The most important appellations are: Cotes de Castillon, Lalande de Pomerol, Fronsac, Canon Fronsac, Bordeaux Superieur, Entre Deux Mers and Cotes de Bordeaux.
Cotes de Castillon is perhaps the best known and most consistent of the satellite appellations.
Cotes de Castillon is located due east of St. Emilion. Cotes de Castillon is a large appellation with 2,832 hectares under vine. More than 350 producers are making wine in the Cotes de Castillon appellation. The finest terroir and soils are located on the plateau which has large deposits of limestone and clay soils.
Further down the slopes, you find more clay, gravel and sand. On the plateau, the soils are similar to that which you find in some of the best St. Emilion terroirs.
The dominant grape varieties planted in Cotes de Castillon are Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Although close to 10% Cabernet Sauvignon is planted in the regions vineyards as well. Other Bordeaux grapes are also planted in the region. The vines at the best estates are old. There are numerous vineyards with old vines that average 50 years of age in the appellation.
The region takes its name from the famous battle of Castillon battle, which was fought in 1453. Centered close to the Castillon la Bataille, that deadly fight helped end the hundred years war between England and France.
At their best, the wines of Cotes de Castillon would do very well in blind tastings with many St. Emilion wines as well. In fact, due to the proximity and similarity to Saint Emilion, many owners from St. Emilion produce wine in Cotes de Castillon as well. Cotes de Castillon is a new and continuously, changing designation.
Before it became an official AOC designated appellation in 1989, the region was known as Bordeaux Superieur Cotes de Castillon. Prior to that, the wines were sold under the much simpler banner as near St. Emilion.
In 2009, Cotes de Castillon became part of the new, Cotes de Bordeaux appellation. Some of the best value Bordeaux wines come from Cotes de Castillon. The wines can be rich, round, supple, concentrated and complex. It’s an area Bordeaux wine lovers should pay attention to as the wines of Cotes de Castillon offer a good price to quality ratio.
The best soils are clay and gravel, similar to that which is found in Pomerol. Neac could have the best terroir of the appellation. Merlot is the dominant grape, followed by Cabernet Franc. Lalande de Pomerol is small in size with almost 1,100 planted hectares. Lalande de Pomerol is home to approximately 200 different producers.
1925 marks the first vintage when chateaux in the region began including the appellation name, Lalande de Pomerol, on their labels. The best wine of Lalande de Pomerol is produced at Chateau La Fleur de Bouard, followed by Chateau de Chambrun. Although if a taster reversed the order of those chateaux, I could certainly see their point.
Fronsac Canon Fronsac are situated west of Libourne, the important business city of the Right Bank.The vineyards are close to Pomerol and not much further from Saint Emilion. Fronsac is an attractive appellation with its rolling, verdant hillside vineyards and an occasion castle or two.
In total, seven communes create the Fronsac region. Merlot is the most important grape followed by Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. There is also a minor portion of Malbec in the vineyards as well, which is similar to what you find in Pomerol.
The wines of Fronsac and Canon Fronsac drink well in their youth. More importantly, they are delicious, rich, ripe and affordable. Fronsac has 834 hectares under vine. Canon Fronsac is quite a bit smaller with 299 hectares under vine. Close to 150 producers and growers are active in the region today.
The wines of the Fronsac appellation were not always affordable like they are today. In fact, from about the middle of the 18th century through the start of the 19th century, the top estates in Fronsac and Canon Fronsac were better known and often sold for more money than many wines from Pomerol and Saint Emilion!
The terroir that creates the unique appellation can be similar to that found in Pomerol or St. Emilion, with its clay and limestone soils. More of the soils in Fronsac are devoted to limestone. Canon Fronsac features more clay. Of the two appellations, Fronsac produces the finer wine.
On the plateau, the terroir is mostly limestone. As you travel further down the slopes, you find clay with limestone and at the base, the soils are more sand with clay. Merlot and Cabernet Franc are the two most important grapes of the appellations. Fronsac consists of 840 hectares of planted vineyards. Canon Fronsac has 280 hectares under vine. Chateau La Vieille Cure and Chateau La Dauphine are two of the top wines of the Fronsac appellation.
Cotes de Bordeaux is the youngest appellation in Bordeaux. It was created in 2008, when the INAO declared that 4, previously recognized communes, Cotes de Blaye, Cotes de Bordeaux, Cotes de Castillon and Cotes de Francs should merge.
The new, 13,500 hectare, Cotes de Bordeaux appellation produces close to 14% of all Bordeaux wine. While invited to be a part of Cotes de Bordeaux appellation, Cotes de Bourg declined to become a member of the new, Cotes de Bordeaux appellation designation.
In 2017, the region of Cotes de Bordeaux was expanded when they added the Sainte Foy appellation and its 280 hectares of vines, making the total number of appellations in the regions in the group to 5.
The Cotes de Bordeaux appellation is located close to St. Emilion and not far from the important, Dordogne and Garonne rivers. Cotes de Bordeaux, due to its large size features a wide array terroirs that include clay, gravel and limestone soils. The best terroirs of Cotes de Bordeaux are similar to Saint Emilion or Pomerol. Merlot and Cabernet Franc are the most important grapes of the region.
But Cabernet Sauvignon along with the other important grape varieties are also planted. To get an idea on how the soil and terroir of the Cotes de Bordeaux and other Satellite communes compares to the other important appellations in Bordeaux; The terroir and soil of Bordeaux
St. Emilion Satellite Appellations located next to St. Emilion have numerous, quality producers that consistently make well priced, Merlot dominated, Bordeaux wine.
The terroir can be similar to Saint Emilion and the vines can be old as well. Some are over 100 years old! The St. Emilion satellite appellations are: Lussac St. Emilion, Montagne St. Emilion, Puisseguin St. Emilion and St. Georges St. Emilion.
Some of the top Bordeaux value wines come from those appellations. Look for Beausejour Montagne and Soleil. When added together, the satellite appellations of St. Emilion cover a large area with 5,485 hectares planted with vines.
Puisseguin St. Emilion has 989 hectares under vine. Lussac St. Emilion has 1,396 hectares under vine. Montagne St. Emilion has 1,549 hectares under vine. St. Georges St. Emilion is the smallest of the St. Emilion satellite appellations with just 180 hectares under vine.
Cotes de Bourg is one of the oldest wine producing regions in France.
Cotes de Bourg has a history dating back to the Ancient Romans. Cotes de Bourg is massive with 3,884 hectares under vine. Merlot and Cabernet Franc are the leading grape varieties, although all of the 5 major Bordeaux grape varieties are planted. The region is littered with variable terroir. The best terroirs feature clay and limestone soils.
While devoted almost exclusively to the production of red, Bordeaux wine, Cotes de Bourg also produces a limited amount of dry, white Bordeaux wine. It is one of the few Bordeaux appellations with plantings of Colombard and Ugni Blanc grapes. which are used in the production of inexpensive, dry white, Bordeaux wine.
Perhaps the best wine in the Cotes de Bourg appellation is Roc de Cambes.
Cotes de Francs has some good terroir. With some of the higher elevations in Bordeaux, the Cotes de Francs appellation has 490 hectares under vine. Close to 75 different producers are making wine in the appellation.
Cotes de Francs is the smallest appellation in Bordeaux. Located not far from St. Emilion and Cotes de Castillon, the clay and limestone terroir is mostly planted to Merlot. However, vines are also planted to the other, major, red wine, Bordeaux varieties as well.
Some growers also plant grapes for the production of white, Bordeaux wine, most notably, Semillon, Muscadelle and Sauvignon Blanc. There are a few notable chateau in the Cotes de Francs appellation of which the best are Chateau La Prade, Chateau Puygueraud and Chateau de Francs.
Cotes de Blaye is a massive wine producing region with more than 6,600 hectares under vine. In 2009, the name of the appellation was officially changed to Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux. The appellation produces for the most part, simple wines that are often enjoyed by the local French population.
In total, 42 different communes make up the sizable appellation. Close to 700 different producers make wine in the Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux appellation. Due to its large size, Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux features a wide array of terroirs and soils, ranging from limestone and clay hillsides, to soils with more gravel, sand and chalk.
With its diverse soils, Cotes de Blaye produces red and white wine. In 2009, Cotes de Blaye, along with Cotes de Castillon and Cotes de Francs became part of the larger, Cotes de Bordeaux appellation. The best wines from Cotes de Blaye to seek out are Gigault Cuvee Viva and Les Grands Marechaux.
Bordeaux Superieur is a designation granted to chateaux that can be located in specific appellation. While the estate could have the right to be listed as part of that specific appellation, most of the time, but not always, the designation of Bordeaux Superieur is used to signify wines of lesser quality. But that is not always the case. There are appellation status granted to both Bordeaux Superieur Red wine and Bordeaux Superieur Blanc.
The surface area devoted to Bordeaux Superieur wines is large with 4,725 hectares under vine. Bordeaux Superieur became one of the first proponents to adopt and promote anti counterfeiting measures en masse. The appellation wants its member estates to add fraud detection to their labels with a unique barcode that will help insure and guarantee the provenance of bottles for consumers.
The code will also alert the chateaux when and where each bottle was scanned. The QR code on the label brings the consumer to a webpage where they can enter the bottles specific code, informing users if their bottle is genuine, or a potential counterfeit. The anti fraud, unremovable prevention stickers can be placed on the neck of bottle and the back label.
The wines covered in The Wine Cellar Insider listed as Bordeaux Superieur are often some of the best candidates in multiple vintages for the top value, Bordeaux wine of the year. Merlot and Cabernet Franc are the most important grape varieties in the production of wines classed as Bordeaux Superieur.
As a matter of style, the Merlot dominated wines from Bordeaux Superieur are delicious to drink young, they are soft, round and easy to like. One wine that is consistently strong with the classification of Bordeaux Superieur is Chateau Reignac. However, it’s important to note that there are dozens of Bordeaux Superieur wines that are well worth buying, as they often represent great value and style, with early drinking charm.
Entre Deux Mers was once responsible for producing more white than red wine in Bordeaux. Entre Deux Mers takes its name from its location, which is in the middle of two bodies of water, the Garonne and the Dordogne rivers. The Entre Deux Mers appellation has 2,400 hectares under vine.
The Entre Deux Mers appellation includes 9 separate AOC designated areas. Similar to what takes place in the Medoc, Entre Deux Mers is one of the AOC areas. The other areas are the Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux, Sainte Croix du Mont, St. Macaire, Graves de Vayres, Sainte Foy Bordeaux. Loupiac and Cadillac are in the Entre Deux Mers appellation as well. Both those regions are well known for producing affordable, sweet, white Bordeaux wine made from grapes attacked by botrytis, which is also known as noble rot.
The Entre Deux Mers region was first planted to vines by the ancient Romans. But the area earned its reputation for wine produced by Benedictine Monks during the Middle Ages. Many of the best growers with the Bordeaux Superieur designation come from the large, Entre Deux Mers appellation. Generally speaking, the best wines from the Entre Deux Mers area are the white wines, due to the regions cooler terroir and its compact, sand and clay soils.
However, there are sections where you can also find gravel and limestone. Part of the problem with the terroir of the Entre Deux Mers appellation is the lack of mineral elements in the soil. Much of the appellation is not planted to the production of grapes as it’s inhabited by forest land and other greenery situated on a series of rolling hills and is used to produce other agricultural crops.
The main grape varieties planted in the Entre Deux Mers are Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle. Those varieties are used to produce both dry, white Bordeaux wine as well as sweet, white Bordeaux wine. The white wines of the Entre Deux Mers appellation are what the region does best. In fact, only the white wines are allowed to include the Entre Deux Mers appellation on their label.
The red wines of the region are sold as either Bordeaux Superieur, or more commonly as Bordeaux. For the production of red Bordeaux wine, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are the most important grapes. Chateau Marjosse is an example of one of the better wines from Entre Deux Mers.
Bordeaux AOC designated wines are the lowest, most generic level of wine from Bordeaux. To be a Bordeaux wine simply means the wine is from the larger appellation of Bordeaux, and not from one of the other appellations. These wines only need to follow the wide rules of the “Bordeaux AOC.”
The area is massive. Close to 59,000 hectares are under vine, producing more than 35,000,000 cases of red wine per year! An additional 60,000,000 cases of white wine are also produced with the same designation each vintage.
Bordeaux AOC is by far the largest designated are for wine in France with more than 35,000 hectares under vine. Because the area is so vast, the quality and type of terroir and soils varies. The overwhelming, vast majority of the time, these are not quality wines worth buying. They are often simple, mass produced wines for inexpensive, early drinking consumption.
However, out of thousands of wines, there are a handful of exceptions with the Bordeaux AOC designation. Yet, it is important to note that there are wines from the more famous appellations that have been downgraded to Bordeaux AOC status because they did not follow the rules of the appellation. These wines can be good, and even very expensive.
For example, the dry white wine from Chateau d’Yquem, (because the sugar level is not high-enough) or from producers that blend wine from various appellations. These wines can be quite good values, as they usually sell for 5-10 Euros and are ready to drink on release.
Vin de Pay wines are most often, not worth buying. However, there are exceptions.And some very expensive ones too. For example, the special wine from Chateau Palmer which includes Syrah in the blend. Bordeaux wines classed as Vin de Pays are wines that do not follow the AOC laws, which could range from blends including non Bordeaux varieties to a blend of vintages.