6 Great French Wines to Celebrate Bastille Day (and the End of Trump-Era Tariffs)

Not that we need reasons to enjoy a nice affordable wine, but here are a few just in case.
Alison McLean
Not that we need reasons to enjoy a nice affordable wine, but here are a few just in case.
July 14, Bastille Day in France, marks the beginning of the French Revolution and the end of the ancien régime and King Louis XVI. This year, we have another reason to celebrate — the end of our ancien régime, which gave us the 25% Trump tariff on French wine.

The tariff, which started in October 2019 to punish the European Union for illegal aircraft subsidies, ended this spring when the Biden Administration reached a settlement with the EU. The two sides agreed that an airplane dispute was no reason to tax wine. Prices, which had increased to cover the tariff, have started to come down, and many French wines are approaching pre-tariff prices.

So hoist the tricolor, put on your bonnets rouges and raise a glass of French wine or three in honor of the sans-culottes who stormed the Bastille. These wines will help get you started.

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From left to right: La Vieille Ferme Rose (Vineyard Brands), Château de Campuget (Dreyfus Ashby and Co.), Mont Gravet Carignan (Winesellers Ltd.), Mancey Cremant (Verity Wine Partners), Pierre Spaar (Wilson Daniels)

La Vieille Ferme Rosé

Price: about $8
Where to find: Widely available in both supermarkets and wine shops.

This pink is one of the world’s great cheap wines. It’s well made, so it doesn’t taste cheap, and it tastes like French rosé is supposed to taste — dry, fruity (strawberries?), crisp, and clean. Best yet, it’s widely available in both supermarkets and wine shops.

Château de Campuget Rosé

Price: about $12
Where to find: Central Market

Call this the Ferme’s big brother — a little more sophisticated and even a little savory, featuring red berry fruit. It’s bone dry and delicious.

Brumes De Gascogne Blanc

Price: about $12
Where to find: Spec's

This white is from Gascony in southwest France, a region best known for d’Artagnan of The Three Musketeers. As such, few know about the tremendous quality of inexpensive Gascon wine. They’re fresh, dry, low in alcohol, and have some combination of tart apple and soft lime fruit. Almost any Gascon white is worth buying.

Mont Gravet Carignan

Price: about $10
Where to find: Central Market

One of the keys to finding quality cheap wine is to look for labels made with lesser-known grapes. Hence, the Mont Gravet, which is made with carignan and is almost unheard of outside of parts of France. It has black fruit (figs perhaps?), an earthy kind of something or other, some spice and soft tannins, the chemical in red wine that can taste astringent.

Pierre Spaar Cremant

Price: about $20
Where to find: Total Wine & More

Sparkling wine from Alsace in eastern France is also called cremant and also offers fine value. It’s not quite as tart or zippy as Champagne since it uses different grapes. This wine, from a top producer, can taste of apples but still has terrific bubbles and that creamy sparkling wine feel in the mouth.

Mancey Cremant De Bourgogne

Price: about $18
Where to find: Pogo's

Champagne is some of the most expensive wine in the world, with many bottles costing $100 or more. Hence, look for sparkling wine made in France that isn’t from the Champagne region. This bubbly, called a cremant because it comes from Burgundy near Champagne, offers Champagne-like quality at one-third of the price. That means apple and citrus fruit, tight bubbles, and an almost rich feel in the mouth.