French wines have the reputation of being traditionally made and requiring the buyer to part with a small fortune to secure a good bottle. Unfortunately (for the first) and fortunately (for the second) neither is uniformly true.

The French, as much as anyone, like to make a buck. More and more French producers have succumbed to the allures of technologies that promise bigger, fruitier and more accessible wines for the masses. While there are still some traditional producers making good wine, large numbers of producers (even in areas like Bordeaux) have turned to the dark side and make big, uninteresting wines.

The good news is that there are still tremendous values in French wine in areas that are less well known, or simply misunderstood. These are the areas where the wine geeks search for different, interesting and quality wines at great values. An appellation like the misunderstood Beaujolais is the perfect example. To most of the world, Beaujolais is the home of one of wine's great marketing triumphs, Beaujolais Nouveau, the young, simple and fairly uninteresting wine. It is also home to the 10 villages of the Cru Beaujolais where, in select, traditional domains, the savvy wine buyer can find some of the best wine values in the world.