It occurs to me that yesterday’s Bergerac experience holds a lesson. Comparing it with the other bag-in-box buys on that same trip I find that the more expensive the wine and the greater the promise on the label, the greater the disappointment. Bergerac, though properly Appellation Controlee is a rather modest one. The price of £1.17 a bottle in a 5 litre box is keen; it would be about £2.99 in the UK and at that price I would think it a steal.
The only other really successful buy was a Buzet at £2.50 a bottle in the box, equivalent to at least £3.99 in the UK. This appellation shares the Bordeaux terroir, but doesn’t have the same cachet despite using the same grapes and techniques. It was good value.
In contrast the Bordeaux Rouge box at £2.81 was authentic but a bit disappointing, and the Cotes du Rhone at £1.78, 50% more than the Bergerac and from a normally good value source, was too light and easy even at this price.
The whites continue the story. I bought both Bourgogne Chardonnay at £2.87 (around £4.49 if imported into the UK) and Bourgogne Aligote at £3.25 (about £4.99 in the UK). Now the threshold price for drinkable white wine is always significantly higher than it is for red, but even at these prices they should have delivered a bit more.
The moral seems to be that the best buys in-box are inherently modest wines. Don’t try to get something of distinction on the cheap; you will only get a devalued facsimile.