Can you do French wines on a budget? I'm always being stopped by folk telling me how they took a trip to France and filled up a 5 litre plastic bottle at a roadside vineyard for 3 or 4 euros and all I can think is that I'd rather rot my guts with Diet Coke.

Anyway, being the ever curious type, I tried a whole host of bargain basement French wines and found that you can indeed do France on a budget as long as the wine is white, but bargain basement reds are few and far between.

Yeah, there's also an element of long-term snobbery on my part, but here's my brief assessment of the situation. Bargain basement Champagne, with the sole exception of Tesco's excellent own label, is gut rot.

Burgundy under a tenner is basically coloured water with alcohol thrown in; Bordeaux under a tenner is a gamble with every bottle and the only thing you are guaranteed to get are teeth lining tannins. The Rhone valley fairs quite well as long as you stick as close to a tenner as possible and the only part of France worth a gamble for a half-decent red under a tenner is the hot South.

Domaine de la Tourmaline Sur Lie Muscadet de Sevre et Maine

What a gorgeous white for under a tenner. Fresh apples and an abundance of citrus flavours with a mineral finish.

Majestic Wines £8.99 mix 6

M&S Cotes du Rhone Villages

Trust M&S to deliver the goods with crushed red fruits and just a hint of spice on the finish. A real delight

Marks & Spencer £8