The Loire
 
If you’re really searching for world class wines that are values you have to check out the Loire Valley. Predominantly based on Cabernet Franc, the reds from the Loire are as good as any produced in France, yet sell for a fraction of the price of comparable wines of quality. And since I’m talking about the Loire it would be felonious to ignore the sweet white wines from places like Vouvray. Arguably the finest white wines on the planet, affordable, age worthy, delicious in their youth, middle age, and old age. Yours, not the wines because these things are virtually immortal.  
 
2011 Clos Roche Blanche Cuvée Pif $16-$20 Here’s a typical Loire red, a blend of Cabernet Franc and Malbec. It sells for a song, rich with tart red fruits, earth, and herbs; it will improve in the cellar over the next 5-8 years and continue to gain nuance and complexity There is no better value for the cellar. 
 
2007 Olga Raffault Chinon Les Picasses $20-$25 While more recent vintages might be on the market it’s worth seeking out the 2007. Pure and vibrant and just at the point where the fruit is slowly giving way to more pronounced tobacco and earth flavors ths is entering its long plateau of maturity. 
 
2010 Charles Joguet Chinon Clos de la Dioterie $40-$50 This is a monumental bottle of Cabernet Franc. It has it all, power, richness, elegance, depth, superb structure. It’s really a wine for the cellar, and after 5-8 years this will be one of the great Cab Francs of the decade.
 
2009 Huet Vouvray Clos Bourg Moelleux $42-$65 And now for something completely different: Chenin Blanc. Sweet, white, full of fruit today and ready to age for decades during which time it will develop all sorts of lanolin, nutty, honeycomb and quince flavors. Huet is the master of Vouvray and to be able to buy this quality for this price is simply remarkable. 
 
2009 Clos Rougeard Saumur Champigny $70-$90 Loire Cabernet Franc not from Chinon? Yes, and arguably the finest expression of Cabernet Franc extant. This is a cult wine, albeit a relatively affordable one. The richness and supple texture belie the level of complexity and nuance these wines can attain. A rare wine that is a high point in any cellar.