4 ways to add French class to your wine glass

Four classy French wines to try.
Four classy French wines to try.PHOTO: DEB LINDSEY FOR THE WASHINGTON POST

UNITED STATES (Washington Post) - Here are terrific wines from Michel Gassier in Costières de Nîmes in southern France, plus a classic style Chateauneuf-du-Pape and a good value premier cru Burgundy.

Vignobles Michel Gassier Nostre Pais 2014

Three stars
Costières de Nîmes, France
Whether the white or the red, these wines offer tremendous value. The white is a blend of Grenache blanc, roussanne, Viognier, clairette and bourbelanc. It combines the honeyed, lanolin character of a Rhone Valley white with the freshness of a cooler climate wine - the influence of the Mediterranean Sea. The red combines Grenache, carignan, syrah, mourvedre and cinsault into a beguiling elixir of earth, stones and fruit, seasoned with an herbal note of sea air. Alcohol by volume: 13.5 per cent for the white, 14.5 per cent for the red.

Vignobles Michel Gassier, Cercius 2014

Three stars
The red Cercius, a Cotes-du-Rhone, is a blend of Grenache and syrah that soothes the palate and soul with flavors of tobacco leaf, cherry and fruit compote. At 15 per cent alcohol, it's a bit heady, but the wine manages to remain balanced without being "hot." The white Cercius 2015 blends Grenache blanc, roussanne and sauvignon blanc, which give the wine a zippy acidity that adds beguiling freshness. The white is labeled as a Vin de France, because the sauvignon blanc is a foreigner to the Rhone Valley. ABV: 15 per cent for the red, 13.5 per cent for the white.

Domaine Berthet-Rayne 2013

Three stars
This is a classic Chateauneuf, with earthy flavours of blackberries, prunes and that appealing southern Rhone herbal character known as garrigue. Organic viticulture helps keep the alcohol in balance. ABV: 14 per cent.

Domaine Besson Givry Premier Cru Le Petit Prétan 2014

Two stars
A premier cru Burgundy is hard to find at this price. This wine shows dark berry fruit - think blackberries, currants and the darkest cherries you've ever tasted, then add attitude. Fans of Russian River pinot noir from Sonoma County should enjoy this charmer. ABV: 13 per cent.

Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favourite wine store to order through a distributor.