As we’re not able to go to our favourite bars for drinks, we’re drinking more at home: why not buy French wines to enjoy chez vous. Luckily, Australia has a number of French wine importers for you to buy French wines from so as to not only support small business but also find wines that you’re unlikely to find at the larger chain liquor stores.
We asked each of them what sets them apart from the big players, as well as why they import French wine. They were also asked what their favourite French varietal is and which wine they are enjoying at the moment. See their answers and find some special offers below.
DISCOUNT: Use the code Marseillaise for a 20% discount on all of your orders from Airoldi Fine Wines.
Airoldi Fine Wines imports from Bordeaux, Burgundies, Champagne, Languedoc, Savoie, Provence, with those wines all exclusives to them. Small South African and American producers also.
Why French wine?
Airoldi’s owner is from Bordeaux and has been in Australia for 20 years. When asked why he wanted to import French wine, he says “I wanted to bring a slice of home with me.”
You can buy French wines from Airoldi’s weekly selections called “confinement 6 packs” at 3 different price points. These can be purchased via the website or at its Pop-Up shop 7/22 George Street Sandringham VIC 3191.
Favourite French varietal
As to what’s his favourite varietal and what he’s drinking at the moment, the answer is Cabernet Sauvignon, regularly drinking Chateau Tanesse which is a Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux.
Airoldi’s Pop Up Shop is open at 7/22 George Street Sandringham VIC 3191 from Monday to Saturday 9:30am to 5:00pm and they are currently offering wholesale prices.
From Bibendum wines you can buy French wines imported from the satellite/lesser known appellations, outside the benchmark regions such as Burdundy, Bordeaux and Rhone. They tell us that there are exciting value wines to be found in the Languedoc, the Loire and the South West of France.
Why French wine?
“In our minds, France is the cradle of wine culture as we know it today and an essential element to any balanced wine portfolio.”
Live chats and tastings
Bibendum Wines is starting a whole series of live chats/tastings with a mixture of its international and domestic producers. Keep an eye out on its Instagram feed to find all the info!
Favourite French varietal
Asking them to choose their favourite French varietal is “like asking who is their favourite child” That said they say that “There is a variety/wine for every occasion, but I would say that I absolutely love Chenin Blanc. Such a versatile variety that can express terroir and age beautifully. At the moment, I am drinking a lot of Saumur (both white which is made from Chenin Blanc and red which is made from Cabernet-Franc) wines. I love their character and amazing value!”
And they encourage you to buy French wine and simply enjoy it, saying:
“Wine is a journey through a culture/region/history. Whatever your level of knowledge is, the best way to approach it is unashamedly, with passion and a curious mind. Have fun and don’t worry about the scores!”
Boccaccio Cellars has an extensive range of bordeaux, burgundy and champagnes in its store – a pretty complete snapshot of the big regions in France!
They import wines from:
- Bordeaux: They have quite a large following of people on their en-primeur list because of our exceptional service and value.
- Champagne: They import two fantastic growers. The Grand Cru wines of R.H. Coutier, as well as Serge Mathieu.
- Burgundy: They import some very important domains such as Domaine Fourrier, but also house an extensive library from Australia’s best importers.
Boccaccio Wines loves pinot and champagne, so these are a big focus for them.
Bottli proposes a discovery of all the wine regions of France and Australia. They offer wines selected by a team of qualified sommeliers, all of whom are French. Their products are exclusive to small winegrowers that are not found in the big brands. Bottli’s products are premium, luxury and rare wines as well: white wine, red wine, sparkling wine and Champagne.
Bottli’s concept is to offer, every month a new discovery, to stimulate the senses for wine lovers and discover the story behind each bottle.
Why French wines?
Nathalie Taquet, CEO of Bottli loves discovering new wines and being in Australia allows her to continue this learning process with Australian and international wines every day. As a WSET Level 2 graduate with family in Burgundy, Nathalie is passionate about stimulating the senses through wine. She works with passionate people and this closeness to the winemakers that she works with is important to her. Respect for the earth, the terroir and the person are elements that bring all the beauty of the product.
This month Bottli launched their first online tasting events. In these, they educate about tasting good wine with online courses accompanied by sommeliers. The principle is simple: everyone gets the same bottle and a sommelier accompanies the discovery of that wine.
In their last online tasting, Bottli introduced a bottle of typical Bordeaux Merlot, talked about the Bordeaux region, the typical grape varieties of the region, how to taste its wine in terms of sight, smell and palate. Putting a word on aromas and flavours is not an easy exercise and that is why they try to help you understand the complexity of a wine.
If you place your first order via this link, you’ll receive 20% off your order. As if you needed an incentive to buy French wines!
Favourite French varietals and what shes’ drinking?
Bottli’s Nathalie says “Before coming to Australia, my favourite wines were in Bordeaux with Merlot mostly and in Languedoc with Cabernet Sauvignon. When discovering the tannic wines of Australia, my palate has a preference for Pinot Noir, especially from the Burgundy region of France and the Adelaide Hills of Australia. I have a penchant for red, but I like to drink a Crémant d’Alsace with a Camembert, a Pineau des Charentes with a Roquefort, or a Sauvignon Blanc with a goat cheese.”
As to the future, Bottli is currently setting up a concierge system to allow you to buy French wines from your year of birth, for example, or exceptional wines that you can’t find anywhere else in the world, such as bottles with very few bottles available in the world.
Another importer to buy French wines from is Clos Cachet, who only sell what they import directly from family owned, artisan Domaines from France’s most exciting wine regions. Of these, they say that “Some have a global recognition, and others are very talented and getting started. It is wines of emotion, made in the respect of nature (at least no pesticides, natural yeast and most likely fully organically grown).”
Clos Cachet imports wines from Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne, Jura, Loire Valley, Rhone Valley, Provence, Savoie and Beaujolais. These producers are only selling direct to great wine bars/restaurants or independent wine shops. Their craft can’t be found in the big wine supermarkets.
Why French wine?
Alex says “Wine is an integral part of my life having grown up in a wine family, making wine for six generation in Meursault, Burgundy. I saw in 2014 a tremendous opportunity to put my knowledge, passion and network to the service of wine professionals and wine drinkers. It would be about connecting them to the most incredible french wines there is, when these wines are usually very hard to access.”
Clos Cachet is currently promoting lovely wine packs with a 5%, 10% or 15% discount depending on quantities purchased. Otherwise, there are more than 200 wines to choose from.
What Alex drinks?
“I love Pinot Noir, that is more than a passion. However, I’ve found room in my heart for fine Gamays, Ploussard and Cabernet Franc. I’m taking a lot of pleasure drinking Morgon wines from Domaine Mee Godard, but also Saumur-Champigny from Le Petit St Vincent. Finally, one of my latest crush is for wines of Savoie, and Domaine des Ardoisières can change anyone’s perception of the region.”
Le Club wine subscription
At the beginning of May, Clos Cachet is launching “Le Club”, to bring back ‘Joie de Vivre’ in people’s home, with a monthly wine subscription, affordable and beautiful. French wines made easy, with video tasting, recipe from a famous Australian chef and live tasting events. @leclub.wine launching soon.
Cool Wine directly imports from two producers so you can buy French wines:
- Marc Plouzeau, based in Chinon – they have about 4 of his organically grown Chinon available from 4 different vintages.
- From Bordeaux- Excellent quality Cru Bourgeois. Cool Wine met them in Bordeaux last year and tasted at their cellars in La Cardonne.
You can buy French wines like these:
- Chateau La Cardonne 2016( $45) and also magnums and halves of 2015 that are drinking beautifully; and
- Chateau Ramafort 2012 ($40), 2015($32) and 2016 ($35).
Why French wine?
Cool Wine decided to import French wines through their wine travels and noticing spaces in the market in Australia that weren’t well covered. Cool Wine works with small importers and then themselves imports other wines that aren’t covered by those importers. Many of their customers are either already familiar with the styles, or have also travelled to these areas in recent times.
As for Marc Plouzeau, Tim of Cool Wine imported from his late Father Pierre Plouzeau after meeting him while staying in Chinon 30 years ago! Marc has switched all of his vineyards to organic growing and has many low and no S02 wines.
Cool Wine is currently offering a 10% discount on any 2 or more of the above wines , Shipping to Melbourne and the other capital cities, including Perth is generally $20 for a full case.
They also invite you to contact them directly by email or phone to discuss a bespoke order. They will always sort a good deal and price.
Favourite French varietal and what he’s currently drinking?
Tim says: “That’s a hard question, depends what night and what time of night! Definitely love Loire Chenin blanc, Marc Plouzeau has a lovely dry example. But also loving the cabernet/Merlot ‘old school’ Bordeaux from La Cardonne and Chateau Ramafort. Perfect in this Autumn weather with those more warming dishes.(we are all eating too much of!)”
Cool Wine also supports the work of some of the larger importers, from whom they source some wines, such as particular older vintages of Marc Bredif Vouvray, 2005, 2007 2009 through to 2013. Of these, Tim is selling them from $45 –$60, they can be totally unique and delicious wines. He says “I love introducing them to our customers, we get them to try a less expensive current vintage like 2018 $29, and give them a discount to take an older one to contrast. Such fantastic food wines. We visited Marc Bredif last year and then selected some of these wines, to come back to us, via their importer.”
Shop at and buy French wines from Cool Wine that are either imported by them or by other French wine importers.
Cyrano Wines is a small business based in the Adelaide Hills which brings undiscovered and affordable Languedoc wines to Australia so you can buy French wines you won’t find elsewhere.
They specialise in wines from small and independent producers with whom they have a personal connection as they visit them regularly. Cyrano Wines says that “The big wine retailers in Australia only distribute a few of the extensive variety of Languedoc wines and usually buy lower quality stock in bulk.”
Languedoc itself comprises many sub regions with different terroirs and therefore a large choice of styles and varietals to choose from. Cyrano Wines chooses its stock from Languedoc, keeping in mind that these wines must be affordable to the discriminating customer. They offer competitive quality. The wines embody the terroir, climate, and joie de vivre of the people of this stretch of the Mediterranean. The wines bring the full and characteristic flavours of the Languedoc region. Languedoc wines are now receiving international acclaim.
During more normal times, Cyrano Wines hosts successful wine and food tasting events at their home in Carey Gully in the Adelaide Hills. Their sales are shared between restaurants/bars and direct sales online. Cyrano Wines currently supplies South Australia and Victoria and is proud to have recently supplied the Alliance Française French Film Festival 2020 opening night in Adelaide (just one night before the festival was postponed!).
Why French wines?
Jean-François Gavanon of Cyrano Wines has had a long career as a restauranteur/chef in Adelaide and upon retirement decided to deepen even further his interest in French wines particularly those from the Languedoc region where he come from.
Cyrano Wines is currently and until 1 June 2020, offering a free bottle of Antech Limoux sparkling for orders of 6 or more. Orders can be a mix of any of their wines.
Favourite French varietal
Mr Gavanon explains that most wines from Languedoc are blends of varietals. But for reds his favourite is Syrah and for whites, Grenache blanc.
What he’s drinking?
He is currently enjoying Chateau Fonsalade Grenache from the appellation of St Chinian.
For whites, he recommends Sarrat de Goundy “Le Marin” a Bourboulenc from Narbonne region.
DiscoverVin have chosen a range of wines from across France, with their main focus on being good value for money. They generally seek out smaller producers, who take great care in their vineyards and subsequently produce exceptional wines. Many of DiscoverVin’s producers are producing organic or biodynamic wines – not because that in itself is required, but it does often result in careful practices with very good results.
Why French wine?
Discover Vin came about after working in France for 6 months in 2009. The founders lived in Bordeaux and tasted lots of great wines from the south west regions of France. Upon their return to Australia, they found that wines from many of these regions were not available in Australia and so they set out to remedy that.
Initially, DiscoverVin specialised in wines from the South-West of France. Regions such as Gaillac, Madiran, Pacherenc-du-Vic-Bilh, Jurançon and St Mont all feature on their website. With little known grape varieties such as Tannat, Petit and Gros Manseng amongst others. They also have a fantastic range of Champagne Jeeper Cuvées – an up and coming star that Discover Vin brought to Australia a few years ago with great interest. Since that time Discover Vin added wines from other regions too, but it all started with Bordeaux and the South West.
Once a month, DiscoverVin sends out a newsletter to their avid followers, often with a discount code for use that month, or with information about upcoming events.
For May, DiscoverVin is:
- preparing for an online Virtual Wine Tasting Party with Champagne and the Fabulous Ladies Wine Society on May 5th (tomorrow) – with a deal attached.
- offering its customers a free 3 month subscription of Robert Parkers Wine Advocate Magazine.
In addition, DiscoverVin has:
- 2 different wine clubs for people to choose from, which include discounted packs delivered on a regular basis.
- mixed packs of wines to entice people to try some different varieties, or wine packs to follow the Tour de France annually (available 1 month before Le Tour) – these packs are always discounted, as are the gift packs.
- a clearance page which is a great way to buy French wines at a discount- these might be wines that they have a lot of to clear, or alternately when we only have a few bottles remaining.
Favourite French varietal?
“My favourite varietal is the Manseng grape which is indigenous to the Jurançon region in the foothills of the Pyrenees near Spain. The Gros and Petit Manseng grapes can be made into a delicious dry white wine or can be left on the vine to produce a semi-sweet late harvest wine. The late harvest wine is sweet in the mouth but has a lovely dry finish so is not cloying. It is a perfect match with pâté or saussicon.”
“At the moment I’m really enjoying the red wines from Bergerac. They seem to have a lovely elegance and great balance that goes down well with dinner as the evenings get cooler. My favourite is the Domaine de l’Ancienne Cure (L’Abbaye Range) 2011 – 40% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Malbec.
A close second is the Chateau Tour des Gendres Le Classique Bergerac Rouge 2014. 60% Merlot and 40% Malbec. Both are certified biodynamic.”
After 10 years Discover Vin is in the throws of building a new website which we hope to have up and running in the very near future! Watch this space www.discovervin.com.au
Good Pair Days sells wines from unique small producers that fly under the radar due to their boutique and small production. Bigger wine suppliers cannot source form these gems the same way because they are such low volumes coming from small family vineyards and wineries.
These include what they say are “very exciting wines from classic regions like Burgundy, Bordeaux, as well as rising favourites in Southern France and the emerging producers of Southwest France. Some incredible value to be found in all.”
Why French wine?
Good Pair Days don’t only import wine from France and they are “all about expanding the world of wine and stretching our range to include the best from the globe! We think it’s really important (and fun) to try wines from all around the world and consider it our responsibility to make sure our customers have a wide selection of both international (French) and local wines to choose from. Especially the ones they can’t just get at an ordinary bottle shop.”
Apart from their subscription model which sees you get three delicious wines delivered each month, you can also order individual wines from Good Pair Days. Take their quiz to have a wine box selected based on your preferences. Use this link to get a free $38 bottle with your first box.
Wineing from home Live Wine Chats
Good Pair Days has adapted to COVID-19 and knowing that we are at home more by offering “Wineing from home live wine chats” on zoom and Instagram live (they call it WFH Live Wine Chats). It’s a great way to enjoy wine discussion, learn more and explore the world of wine as a community. Good Pair Days’ sommeliers pick a topic or grape to discuss and dive deep into. Most recently (Tuesday, April 27) they did one on Malbec, and tasting a bottle from Cahors.
Find out about the upcoming ones here.
What they drink?
The team at Good Pair Days all drink different wines but Alex, one of the sommeliers is crazy for Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley. She loves its earthy nose and crunchy red berry fruit flavours.
You can buy French wines from Living Wines who import from some of the less familiar regions such as the Jura, Gaillac, Aveyron, Ardèche, Provence, and Roussillon as well as more familiar regions like Bourgogne, Alsace, and the Loire.
Living Wines works with 9 producers in the Jura, which means even though they are a small company, they actually have what they suspect is one of the largest representations from this region in Australia.
All of Living Wines’ producers are only imported by them and they don’t sell to any big players, only independent wine shops. So that means that their entire portfolio is unavailable at the big players. Some of the producers Living Wines works with whose wines are particularly rare and sought after include:
- Alice and Olivier De Moor (Chablis),
- Tony Bornard,
- Renaud Bruyère and Adeline Houillon,
- Alice Bouvot (l’Octavin) and
- Etienne Thiebualt (Domaine des Cavarodes) (all Jura); and
- Jean-Pierre Robinot (Loire).
Living Wines also works with some less familiar grape varieties including Ondenc, Abouriou, Chasselas, Fer Servadou, Negret de Banhars, Bourboulenc, Mauzac, Menu Pineau, Molette, Verdanel, Pineau d’Aunis, Ploussard / Poulsard, and Muscat de Hambourg.
Living Wines also publishes a regular newsletter to an email mailing list, which is also available on its website. In each issue of the newsletter Living Wines offers special packs, discounted to between 10% and 40%. The current issue had 8 packs, three of which are still available. A perfect opportunity to buy French wine at a discount!
They will be publishing a new newsletter early in May with some packs that include some particularly special back vintages of some of their rarest wines. They also anticipate some similar packs in June as well. The latest and all archived issues are available here.
Why French wine?
“We bought a house in Provence in 2006 with some friends and began drinking much more French wine. We found the flavours much more savoury than the Australian wine we were drinking at the time and, over time, our palates changed quite dramatically. We decided the only way we could afford to drink French wines in Australia was to start an import business! We began in 2008 just with a commitment to organic viticulture and small family businesses but within a year or so we had fine-tuned that to only work with natural wine.”
Favourite French varietal
“We don’t think we can answer this. It depends so much on the situation! Perhaps we can give a short list, which would include Ploussard / Poulsard, Pineau d’Aunis, Savagnin and Chenin Blanc.”
What they’re drinking?
At the moment, because Living Wines has just received its first shipment from Jean-Marc Dreyer in Alsace and are keen to see how the wines have travelled, they are drinking lots of Alsace varieties, mostly white grapes which have been macerated (including Riesling, Auxerrois, Pinot Gris and Sylvaner).
“We are also drinking lots of orange wines from Alsace having been reminded about how flexible orange wines are – how they can match with so many dishes. Confined at home and so maybe not drinking quite so many different wines a night (no guests, no restaurants) we find that an orange wine is a really good bottle to sit on if you are eating several quite different dishes.”
Mosaïque Wines has a strong representation of South-Western France producers and regions: AOC Cahors, AOC Fronton, AOC Madiran, AOC Gaillac, AOC Jurancon, AOC Coteaux du Quercy.
Why French wine?
Thomas Gisbert, founder of Mosaïque Wines grew up in the South-West of France near Cahors on his family vineyard (Chai Saint Etienne), which motivated him to distribute these lesser known producers. Mosaïque Wines believes these wines deliver incredible value for money as well as expressing unique flavour using unique grapes from the regions such as Malbec, Negrette, Tannat, Mauzac, Petit Manseng, …
In addition, Mosaïque Wines imports sustainable and artisans wines from Champagne, Burgundy, Chablis, Sancerre, Jura, Beaujolais, Rhone, Bordeaux.
Having grown up on the family vineyard, then working in hospitality here in Australia, and missing some of the wines from home, Thomas started importing French wines in 2016 to share them with Australians.
Mosaïque Wines is currently offering free shipping Australia wide from $200 for orders made via its website. There is no minimum order, if you only need a few bottles.
They also have an Isolation mixed 6 pack
Favourite French varietal
Picking a favourite French varietal is a tough question. Thomas says “If I had to pick one I would say Cabernet Franc. My family grows Cabernet Franc and I always loved its body and elegance with much less tanins than Cabernet Sauvignon.”
What’s he drinking?
As the weather cools down, a delicious medium bodied red Le Petit Courselle; a blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Syrah (Vin de France).
Popsy and JJ set up Popsy & JJ Wines after it occurred to them a year or 2 ago that it was crazy Aussies couldn’t get proper access to Euro wines at reasonable prices. They say that “a bunch of Aussies might be surprised to learn that Europe makes more than 10 times as much wine as Australia (55% versus 5% of world wine production). So it seemed crazy we couldn’t get our hands on hardly any of them. Euro wines probably account for 1% of wine stocks in the big Aussie wine retailers with the only obvious exception being Champagne.”
Why French wine?
“But why not access to Bordeaux that has more than 6,000 producers of all price ranges, why not Burgundy, Tuscany, Barolo, Barbaresco, Loire Valley, Veneto, Rhone, Friuli and so forth?? Most of these iconic European wine regions have been producing wine for several thousand years. Jesus literally could have been breaking bread with his apostles with wine from Bordeaux or Tuscany! At popsyandjj.com.au we introduce you to amazing artisan wines from all these areas and more. Wines at great prices that you cannot access anywhere else in Oz.”
“The French have some of the most iconic wine producing regions on Earth, such as Champagne, Chablis, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Languedoc, Roussillon, Loire Valley, Rhone to name a few. Thousands of years of wine making culture. Popsy & JJ have a couple of French families that supply them wine today that have been making wine on their vineyards for literally centuries before the East coast of Australia was even first seen by Captain Cook! That is almost unfathomable to an Aussie!”
“Popsy and JJ scour Europe to find amazing artisan wines and bring them back for Aussie wine lovers to enjoy. Bring a bit of Europe to people’s homes, give a bit of education about some of the world’s iconic wines and wine regions and expand Aussie wine lovers’ palates. They also share a few of our their recipes as we are both keen home cooks. As you know, wine goes with food and vice versa. Wine is only at its best with food and mostly that’s what they do. So they publish all their food matches on our website. Every one of our wines has been reviewed, scored and has an accompanying written and video review with matching recipes online at popsyandjj.com.au.”
EXCLUSIVE SPECIAL OFFER
Popsy & JJ have made the kind and generous offer for Matilda Marseillaise readers of $50 off any dozen wines and a chance to go in a draw for a 1st prize $1000 worth of Popsy and JJ wines; 2nd prize $500 worth of P&J wines, $250 worth of P&J wines. (The winners get to mix and match their own selections.)
The code is “Matilda50off” and will run until 31st May.
“Too many French favourites to focus on just one! A great wine from Chablis with incredible, unique texture and minerality like our 2018 Domaine Fourrey (made from 100% chardonnay for those Aussies that didn’t know) with a perfect, tender tarragon roast chicken goes like a dream.
A super smooth, dark luscious berries meets earth, right bank Bordeaux (merlot-cabernet blends for Aussies that weren’t sure) like our 2015 Haut-Maco Cuvee Jean Bernard goes amazingly well with a perfectly char grilled medium-rare wagyu rump and Paris mash.
Our Jaillance bubbles from Loire Valley and our Charles Mignon from Champagne are both super fine bead, creamy wonderful examples of aperitif French sparkling wine – both superbly matched to oysters and snapper ceviche.”
Chat all thing European wine with them
Popsy & JJ also encourage you to drop them a line if you have any questions about European wines or wine regions or their wines specifically. You can email them at [email protected]
Single Vineyards currently imports from the following French wineries:
Their website has all the products listed and available to order and they ship Australia wide.
Why French wine?
French wine has an exciting diversity and range of styles. They are quality wines that have a sense of place and a story.
Buy French wines from Single Vineyards at 15% off. Use coupon code SAVE15 at the checkout.
You can also buy French wines for Mother’s day with their wine & chocolate bundle available including a bottle of Chateau Le Grand Verdus Rose.
Favourite French varietal? What they’re drinking at the moment?
Single Vineyard’s favourite French wine at the moment is the Cellier des Dauphins Les Dauphins Rogue. It is 15% Syrah and 85% Grenache. It is a very juicy wine with lots of red fruit flavour. It is also super smooth, silky and balanced wine.
Other importers to buy French wines from include:
Veno (mainly Italian but some French also including a French wine dozen):
Do you know any other specialist places to buy French wine in Australia? What’s your favourite French wine?
Other articles you may like
We’ve also published some articles to show support for French businesses in Australia during these difficult times.