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The whites, rosés and sparklers of Languedoc are real bargains.

Tastes Great, Less Money

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The region between Marseilles and Toulouse in southern France produces some of the most affordable French wine available in America. And recently, great strides have been made in Languedoc to produce high-quality wines that are still easy on the wallet. The wines listed below are rather medium-weight (as opposed to light and acidic), so they're terrific for cooler weather and heartier foods.

1997 Saint-Hilaire Brut Blanc de Blancs, $11.99. A great price for what has been called "France's oldest sparkling wine." Crisp, refreshing and elegant with toasty notes, this vintage bubbly (fermented in the bottle) is a great deal: perfect for fall weddings and other festive celebrations.

1996 Domaine Perraudin Viognier, $15.99. An unfiltered wine, this deep, golden yellow elixir is rich and complex with a dry finish. Delightful with roast chicken, Chilean sea bass and sautéed scallops.

1999 Chteau d'Oupia Rosé, $8.99. From Minervois, this deep, salmon-colored wine has a nose redolent with toasted nuts, strawberries and fresh earth. It's round and dry, and is very good with roast turkey, pheasant or composed salads.

1999 Chteau St. Martin de la Garrigue, $12.99. A lean, crisp white with an appealing balance of fruit and acid with a dry finish. Try it with mild fish, such as sole, cod or sea bass.

1999 Hugues Beaulieu Picpoul de Pinet, $5.99. Bright, clean and refreshing, this is a good choice for big parties and/or small budgets. Very nice with veal chops, light pasta dishes, steamed shrimp or poached

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