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Cheap Wine Challenge

A Malbec That Speaks French

2011 Clos la Coutale Cahors

2011 Clos la Coutale Cahors Photo courtesy of Clos la Coutale

Here, wine experts reveal their favorite bottles costing less than $17. Many of the selections are lesser known but absolutely worth the search.

Who: Morgan Fausett, beverage director, Del Campo in Washington, DC

What: 2011 Clos la Coutale Cahors

Why: “I love this Malbec. I think in a South American grill like Del Campo, it is important to show Malbec’s original roots, which is a lesser-known region in southwest France—Cahors,” says Fausett. “French Malbecs tend to be earthier and more tannic than their Argentinean counterparts.” This particular bottling is a blend containing 20 percent Merlot to keep the fruit vibrant.

Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.

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