At its heart, wine is about friendship and trust.

It starts with the relationship between grape growers and wineries. Relationships often span generations; in Europe’s premier regions, some dealings are measured in centuries.

Trust is the bedrock: trust from winemakers in the growers’ ability to consistently nurture their vines to create premium grapes; trust from growers that wineries will honour buying agreements in bad times as well as good.

When it comes to choosing what we buy as wine lovers, trust also plays a role. We may place our trust in labels we’ve enjoyed before, or perhaps trust flows from knowledge gained directly from the winemaker at a cellar door or tasting event.

Let’s face it, wine isn’t like cola or bourbon: it’s not manufactured in accordance with a strict, controlled process. Good wine has the imprint of its maker in every bottle. Its characteristics vary from season to season, from region to region.

We never know exactly how a wine will taste but it’s these variations that capture our hearts, minds and palates. There’s always more to understand, more to discover. Of course, passions can be limited by the hip-pocket nerve. This is where trust can be valuable.

At The Australian Wine Club, we put our trust in a team of winemakers, tasting teams and buyers that span the winemaking world. When it comes to finding good French wines at affordable prices, Bordeaux-based Jean-Marc Sauboua is our guide.

Jean-Marc’s selections have shaped the wine club’s selection of affordable French reds on offer this week. You’ll find multiple gold medal winners from families and winemakers who’ve been growing and working with the grapes of Bordeaux and Medoc for decades.

Jean-Marc was trained at Château Haut-Brion, one of Bordeaux’s five Premier Grand Cru Classé (First Growth) estates, and has been making and sourcing wine in the region for 35 years.

“Trying wines from other places is like travelling,’’ Jean-Marc says. “It’s enlarging your experiences and knowledge. It’s a way of life.’’

French reds, in general, tend to be less fruit-forward than Australian cabernets and merlots, offering an elegant, savoury drinking experience. Here’s a chance for a French adventure without a jetsetters’ price tag.


Bordeaux-based Jean-Marc Sauboua has shaped The Australian Wine Club’s selections this week.


Reboul Salze 2021

From the Right Bank of Bordeaux’s Premières Côtes de Blaye; crafted by the highly regarded Christophe Reboul Salze, who’s been friends with Jean-Marc for years. An array of aromas lift from the glass: vanilla, cassis, plums, along with tobacco and floral notes. A velvety palate. Classic French merlot. 13.5% alc; RRP $34 a bottle.

SPECIALS $26.99 a bottle in any dozen; $25.99 in Affordable French dozen.


Chateau Bellerive 2016

From an excellent vintage, this eight-year-old merlot-dominant blend from the heart of Medoc offers complex scents and flavours: blackberries, cocoa spice, sweet aniseed, smoky tobacco and dark chocolate on the back palate. Voluptuous mouthfeel, mature tannins and a persistent acid line. Serious drinking. 14% alc; RRP $50 a bottle.

SPECIALS $39.99 a bottle in any dozen; $25.99 in Affordable French dozen.


Chateau le Bonalguet Bordeaux 2020

This consistent gold medal winner hails from a family estate at Saint-Germain du Puch, between Bordeaux and Saint-Emilion. Deep cherry, plum and cassis aromas, with a hint of floral, mocha, vanilla and cedar spice. The medium-bodied palate carries blackcurrant and plum flavours on fine-grained tannins. Super approachable. Decant for an hour. 13.5% alc; RRP $32 a bottle.

SPECIALS $22.99 a bottle in any dozen; $25.99 in Affordable French dozen.


Le Grand Chai Medoc 2019

From Bordeaux’s Left Bank, this blend of merlot and cabernet opens with subtle aromas of cassis, vanilla and leafy, savoury hints. Ripe fruit flows through on the palate followed by hints of tobacco, spice and leather. Mellow tannins. Lovely balance. 13% alc; RRP $38 a bottle.

SPECIALS $29.99 a bottle in any dozen; $25.99 in Affordable French dozen.

AFFORDABLE FRENCH DOZEN Three bottles of each wine above for $25.99 a bottle. SAVE $150 a dozen.

Order by simply clicking the links to our online store or telephone 1300 765 359 Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm AEST. Deals are available only while stocks last. The Australian Wine Club is a commercial partnership with Laithwaites Wine, LIQP770016550. Stockhead is partnering with The Australian Wine Club on this offer.