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Bordeaux Wine

Bordeaux Wine

Sourcing 'Classed Growth' claret for current drinking tends to involve shopping around and spending more time than seems justifiable on price comparison websites. We were therefore delighted to secure a parcel from Château Gombaud-Guillot in Pomerol last year and to offer the eminently approachable 2012 vintage for the first time in this list. This 8 hectare estate has been farmed organically since 2000 and boasts Château Trotanoy as a neighbour in the heart of the Pomerol plateau. Made from a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc it should be decanted at least an hour before drinking and will cellar well for a decade. James Molesworth contributed the following tasting note to the Wine Spectator: "Very solid, featuring a strong graphite note in the middle, while crushed plum, blueberry and blackberry fruit fill in the edges. A roasted alder element holds the finish, balanced by a loamy echo that lends a grippy feel. Should round into form with modest cellaring."

Another new acquisition is an unimpeachable Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux from Château La Brande in the celebrated 2016 vintage. It is made from a blend of 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and a dash of Petit Verdot grown on clay and limestone soils and raised in vat and traditional Bordeaux barrels. With a brambly bouquet and mid-weight black fruit palate supported by fine-grained tannins, it is already drinking well and will readily support a further 3-5 years bottle age. It is hard to believe that nine years have elapsed since we first shipped our popular 'house' claret from Château d'Abzac back in 2011. This pure Merlot, redolent of ripe red fruit with gentle hints of graphite and sandalwood and a couch of soft tannins has since gained a loyal following. It is not a wine that requires a fuss or decanting but every bottle is as enjoyable as the last. In 2014 Château d'Abzac's proprietor Baron D'Anglade purchased a 1.5 hectare parcel of vines in Lussac Saint-Émilion from which he makes his Château Milonblanc. Hailing from a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvingon that is racked and raised in French oak barrels it has an autumnal fruit bouquet and a core of dark cassis fruit supported by ripe tannins and a fresh acidity. It has more grip and ageing potential than the 'Abzac' and is well suited to roast meat or wild mushroom dishes.

We were pleased procure a substantial stash of 'Fifth Growth' Haut-Médoc from Château Cantemerle in the already accessible 2012 vintage. Made from a blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc, it has a wealth of sleek blueberry and dark cherry fruit over a background of silky tannins. No lesser critic than Robert Parker observed that: ...Cantemerle's ethereal elegance and racy, classy style are unmistakable in this understated yet pretty, dark ruby-colored 2012."

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  1. IGP Côtes Catalanes: Domaine du Clos des Fées 'Vieilles Vignes' Grenache Blanc 2013
    Magnum
    £52.00
    Magnum (Case)
    £312.00
  2. Bordeaux Supérieur: Château d'Abzac 2019
    Bottle
    £13.75
    Bottle (Case)
    £165.00
  3. Collioure: Domaine La Tour Vieille 'Les Canadells' 2019
    Bottle
    £17.95
    Bottle (Case)
    £215.40
  4. Côtes du Roussillon: Domaine Ferrer-Ribière 'Cuvée Tradition' 2017
    Bottle
    £12.95
    Bottle (Case)
    £155.40
  5. Côtes du Roussillon Villages: Domaine du Clos des Fées 'Vieilles Vignes' Rouge 2016
    Bottle
    £27.50
    Bottle (Case)
    £330.00
  6. Côtes du Roussillon: Agly Brothers 2017
    Bottle
    £22.00
    Bottle (Case)
    £264.00
    Magnum
    £49.00
    Magnum (Case)
    £294.00
  7. Pomerol: Château Gombaude-Guillot 2014
    Bottle
    £48.00
    Bottle (Case)
    £576.00
  8. Côtes du Roussillon: Les Sorcières du Clos des Fées Rouge 2018
    Bottle
    £15.95
    Bottle (Case)
    £191.40
  9. IGP Côtes Catalanes: Domaine Ferrer-Ribière 'Empreinte du Temps' Carignan 2017
    Bottle
    £15.25
    Bottle (Case)
    £183.00
  10. AOC Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux: Château La Brande 2016
    Bottle
    £16.50
    Bottle (Case)
    £198.00
  11. Haut-Médoc: Château Cantemerle 2012
    Bottle
    £38.00
    Bottle (Case)
    £456.00
  12. Lussac-Saint-Émilion: Château Milonblanc 2016
    Bottle
    £18.75
    Bottle (Case)
    £225.00
  13. Côtes du Roussillon: Les Sorcières du Clos des Fées Blanc 2018
    Bottle
    £15.75
    Bottle (Case)
    £189.00
  14. IGP Côtes Catalanes: 'Vieilles Vignes' Domaine du Clos des Fées Grenache Blanc 2017
    Bottle
    £25.00
    Bottle (Case)
    £300.00
  15. IGP Côtes Catalanes: Domaine Ferrer-Ribière 'Empreinte du Temps' Grenache Blanc 2017
    Bottle
    £15.25
    Bottle (Case)
    £183.00
  16. Domaine la Tour Vieille: Banyuls Réserva
    Bottle
    £22.50
    Bottle (Case)
    £270.00
  17. Collioure: Domaine La Tour Vieille 'La Pinède' 2018
    Bottle
    £16.95
    Bottle (Case)
    £203.40
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Quick & Easy Guide to the wines of Bordeaux

Walk tall among wine royalty along the quays of Bordeaux.

Overview:
No city in the world has a stronger association with wine than Bordeaux. Essentially divided into the 'left bank' of the Gironde estuary (west of the city and dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon) and 'right bank' (east and Merlot), the region benefits from a mild maritime climate. The famous 1855 classification (requested by Emperor Napoleon III for the Paris exhibition) created the five-tier Cru classé system which represents 61 châteaux of the left bank Médoc, below which are the Crus Bourgeois. The right bank commune of St-Émilion has its own classification system. One should not overlook the wonderful sweet wines of Sauternes & Graves or great value 'satellite' appellations such as Lalande-de-Pomerol or Montagne-St-Émilion.

Area Under Vine:
With over 10,000 chateaux managing 120,000 hectares under vine, this is the largest AOC region in the world. Over 50% is classified Bordeaux or Bordeaux Supérieur.

Key AOCs:
Pauillac, St-Estèphe, St-Julien, Margaux, Pomerol, St-Émilion, Pessac-Leognan, Sauternes, Graves.

Principal grapes:
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec. For the whites – Sauvignon, Semillon, Muscadelle, Ugni blanc and Colombard.

Notable domaines:
Lafite, Latour, Mouton-Rothschild, Haut-Brion, Pavie, Cos d'Estournel, Cheval Blanc, Pètrus, Le Pin, Yquem.

Local delicacies:
Lamproie à la Bordelaise (eel cooked in red wine), local oysters from Arcachon Bay, canelé (dark caramel cakes).

Restaurants we like:
La Tupina (Bordeaux), Fernand (Bordeaux), L'Escale (Lamarque), Le Parasol (Royan).

Famous people from the region:
Francois Mauriac (writer). That's it.

Things to do:
Climb Europe's highest sand dune (Cap Ferret), stroll through the pretty vineyards on the plateau of Pomerol or the hills of St-Émilion, hone your tasting skills at the Maison du Vin, promenade along the world heritage-designated quayside, visit Bernard Magrez's contemporary art exhibition housed in the 18th century mansion Hôtel Labottière, take a river cruise on the Gironde.

Bien classique:
Bordeaux Supérieur: Chateau d'Abzac

Autre chose:
Haut-Medoc: Chateau Sociando-Mallet