What to drink…

Living France - - À LA MAISON -

For decades, Bordeaux has been the dar­ling of the fine wine world. But there’s far more to this re­gion than fa­mous names such as Mou­ton-Roth­schild, Pétrus and Lafite.

Lo­cated in south-west France, near the At­lantic coast, the vine­yards of Bordeaux sur­round the re­cently re­vi­talised city of the same name. It is the largest pro­ducer of ap­pel­la­tion wine in the coun­try, with vine­yards cov­er­ing an area that is four times big­ger than Bur­gundy.

The generic ap­pel­la­tion is known sim­ply as AC Bordeaux. Within its bound­aries there are dozens of smaller sub-re­gions, in­clud­ing the fa­mil­iar ar­eas of St-Émil­ion, Mé­doc and Pauil­lac, as well as Sauternes, the renowned sweet wine.

The ma­jor­ity of Bordeaux pro­duc­tion, how­ever, is red wine, some­times nick­named ‘claret’ in the UK. Mer­lot is the most com­mon in­gre­di­ent, ac­count­ing for al­most two-thirds of the grapevines planted in Bordeaux. It is of­ten blended with Caber­net Sauvi­gnon and Caber­net Franc (and oc­ca­sion­ally other va­ri­eties too).

Château Mon­cets 2009 La­lande de Pomerol (£14.99 Ma­jes­tic Wine) Pomerol is on the right bank of Bordeaux, where Mer­lot thrives. This wine comes from the lesser-known satel­lite ap­pel­la­tion of La­lande, which makes it great value for money. Fur­ther­more, this ex­am­ple is from the 2009 vin­tage, which pro­duced su­perb qual­ity across the re­gion and is ideal for drink­ing now. It is staunchly savoury and de­serves to be paired with a hearty meal.

Stylis­ti­cally, red Bordeaux is medium- to full-bod­ied with dis­tinc­tive black­cur­rant fruit, of­ten ac­com­pa­nied by savoury flavours such as leather, liquorice and spice from oak age­ing. Each sub-re­gion has its own par­tic­u­lar char­ac­ter­is­tics – Mar­gaux is said to have a fra­grant flo­ral char­ac­ter, while Pauil­lac is thought of as more in­tense and tan­nic.

The most sought-after Bordeaux wines can cost hun­dreds of pounds a bot­tle – but thank­fully there are plenty of de­li­cious ex­am­ples cost­ing far less than that. Here are three to look out for that pro­vide a great in­tro­duc­tion to this peren­ni­ally fas­ci­nat­ing re­gion with a world­wide rep­u­ta­tion.

Château Thieu­ley, Rosé 2015 Bordeaux (£9.49 TheWineCom­pany. co.uk, £10 Wright­son Wines) The Courselle sis­ters took over this château from their fa­ther in 2008, and the wines are just like their com­pany – en­er­getic, en­gag­ing and en­joy­able. This rosé is made from 40% Mer­lot with 30% each of Caber­net Sauvi­gnon and Franc. The re­sult is a medium-bod­ied, vi­brant style of pink with crunchy red fruit and a fra­grant, flo­ral fin­ish.

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