Bargain wine and France are typically not mentioned in the same conversation, but the combination of a struggling euro and revived interest in overlooked regions have produced some seriously good buys. This 2010 vintage of Le Fruit Défendu ("the forbidden fruit") from Domaine Magellan in Languedoc is a prime $13 example of how nonclassified vin de pays can demand serious notice when the right winemaker (and the right grapes) are involved.
In this case, the vintner is Bruno Lafon, of Meursault's great Domaine Comte Lafon, who has brought his Burgundy know-how for fine wine to property near Montpellier in Pays d'Oc, a region better known for country juice. What he has produced there from old vines of well-pruned cinsault (a Rhône blending grape prohibited in the local official appellation - thus, "forbidden") is simply good drinking, a medium-weight burst of soft black fruit framed with juicy acidity and spicy tannins that make it a great burger wine. Moore Bros., which hosts Lafon this weekend, sells it for a nice price, too.