Malcolm Jolley finds a great value Vin de France from a respected Burgundy House…

My local LCBO is a ‘Flagship Store’ with a big Vintages section, and in there is a pretty extensive set of Burgundy shelves there. Every once and a while I’ll check it out to see if there’s anything that’s remotely affordable, like the 2018 Buxy Chardonnay that was in stock earlier this year. Good Burgundy for $20 or so is a rarity, so when I saw the Domaine Roux Père et Fils Chardonnay Les Côtilles 2019 ($14.95 | LCBO# 18147) sitting on the shelves surrounded by Montrachet and Meursault I was incredulous. But also curious. Was it possible to even make decent white Burgundy that sold for 15 Canadian dollars? Had someone screwed up in a COVID mind fog haze and got the price wrong? If it wasn’t any good, did I really mind spending $15 for cooking wine? I decided, maybe, probably not, and no, so I brought a bottle home with me.

The 2019 Côtilles Chardonnay is a tasty and well made wine. It’s fresh with great acidity, has a focused line of green apple to lemon fruit. It’s quite lean and bone dry, but not at all mean: there’s a generosity to this wine one rarely finds at $15, wherever a bottle might be from. It’s a perfect every day aperitif white, for yourself on Tuesday, or (when we’re allowed) for a party; pairs well with plain potato chips.

So what was the story behind this wine? It took some digging, but the website for Bibendum, the London importer for Roux Père et Fils revealed the secret: it’s a cuvée of Languedoc and Burgundy Chardonnay. Aha, right! Nowhere on the label does it say “Vin de Bourgogne”, instead the humble designation of “Vin de France”. Whatever the provenance, it’s a tasty blend of warm and cool climate Chardonnay, and certainly worth a try for $15.

Click here to find this wine at the LCBO.