Wines from France's famous Bordeaux region have a reputation for being pretty expensive. Chateau Cheval-Blanc, one of the world's finest wines, will set you back $700 or more a bottle.
Less well known is the fact that Bordeaux also produces some very nice inexpensive wines as well. And with its customer countries' economies still struggling, the region is making new efforts to let people know about them.
These are pleasant wines, ready to drink when purchased, probably not benefiting from more than a year or two of cellar aging. They won't pucker you up with monster tannins and acids. But they're crisp enough to go well with food burgers, lasagna, pizza, meat loaf, roast chicken and such.
And if you need to impress your friends, consider that the labels look nearly as fancy as those from the region's most expensive wines.
But you don't care about that sort of thing. Do you?
2007 Clarendelle Bordeaux Rouge, Bordeaux (57 percent merlot, 33 percent cabernet sauvignon, 10 percent cabernet franc): floral aroma, powerful spicy cassis and earth flavors, firm tannins and acids, smooth finish; $19.
2011 Chateau Bonnet Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon-Muscadelle, Entre-Deux-Mers, Bordeaux (50 percent sauvignon blanc, 40 percent semillon, 10 percent muscadelle): lemon-lime aromas, grapefruit flavors, creamy, long finish; $13.
2010 Chateau Bois Noir Grand Vin Rouge de Bordeaux, Bordeaux Superieur (80 percent merlot, 20 percent cabernet sauvignon): deep color, light body, aromas and flavors of black cherries and black pepper; $9.
2009 Chateau de Beauregard-Ducourt Bordeaux Rouge, Bordeaux (80 percent merlot, 20 percent cabernet sauvignon): hint of oak, spicy cassis flavors, light body; $13.
2010 Chateau Pierrail Bordeaux Superieur Rouge, Bordeaux (85 percent merlot, 15 percent cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc): firm tannins, black plum and coffee flavors, light body; $16.
2010 Mission St. Vincent Bordeaux Rouge, Bordeaux (70 percent merlot, 20 percent cabernet sauvignon, 10 percent cabernet franc): aromas of red fruit and oak, flavors of vanilla and earth, smooth, light body; $7.
2009 Chateau Le Grand Verdus Grand Reserve Bordeaux Superieur Rouge, Bordeaux (65 percent merlot, 25 percent cabernet sauvignon, 10 percent cabernet franc): soft and round, with aromas and flavors of black plums, anise and spice; $15.
2010 Chateau Roquefort Bordeaux Rouge, Bordeaux (90 percent merlot, 10 percent cabernet sauvignon): aromas and flavors of black cherries and black pepper, medium body, smooth; $8.