What to drink…
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.