Good, old-fashioned claret is sometimes overlooked. In our haste to get to know all regions of the wine world we sometimes forget the beauty and simplicity of Bordeaux.
The large, elaborate Chateaux with the vineyards spread out around them provide an area that is easy to get to grips with, and a myriad of wines that provide something for everyone. Due to the nature of the landscape and the different grape varieties available to producers the variety of wines made is extensive but not dauntingly so. Most Chateaux produce a flagship wine, a second wine and perhaps a white and they tend to stick to a grape blend that only differs by small percentages each year.
Bordeaux produces some of the most elegant, complex and nuanced wines in the world but they also make them in relatively good quantities creating a more inclusive approach for consumers.
The wine market has also remained healthy and focused on the region ensuring there is a wealth of information available for each wine and a well-stocked UK market in which to buy them.
Below is a slightly random selection of different styles of Claret from various vintages from the last 20 years.
All are available by the bottle, so you can create your own mixed case. Or if you spot your favourite chateau here, feel free to wander through the different vintages we stock and take a case.
This a big, brooding wine that is deep in colour and character. Although the fruit is full and lively it has a dry finish that slightly detracts from the many layers but will soften with age. If you like youthful fruit a bit of breathing time and a good meal will encourage this to open up.
Domaine de Chevalier are underappreciated and excellent value. They are ones to seek out in good vintages as the prices never reach the heady heights of others and bottles are usually easy to get hold of. The 2015 vintage, although a little young, has found that fine line between savoury and sweet, it neither tips one way or the other but offers both with a good mineral core that keeps it fresh.
Mature, elegant Marguax that has retained its freshness and has that lovely brown edge so telling of well-aged claret.
2006 was always going to be a tricky vintage given the overwhelming success of 2005 and the difficult conditions encountered that season. Conseillante produced a wine with character and individuality that encouraged it to be viewed in a different light. This may not be the vintage for those who like classic Pomerol but it is an interesting example of a producer making a wine for the vintage rather than the style. Bright, heady nose with racy acidity and plenty of fruit.
A vintage and wine that seems to have gone through continuous change over the last 15 years. When first released the wine was masculine but a little green, it then closed up and became slightly austere, but has now settled and revealed a more nuanced side that is vibrant yet delicate for such a powerful wine.
2006 provided ripe fruit that makes this a touch sweet and youthful tasting and perhaps lacks a few of the more mineral layers necessary to provide perfect balance but this is still a soft, classic tasting Saint Emilion that is both refined and simple in style.
La Fleur Petrus is part of the Moueix stable of wines that includes Petrus and Trotanoy and is usually close behind them in elegance and complexity. The 2011 isn’t perfect which is to be expected from an average vintage but it was made in a more fruit forward, approachable style making it good for drinking now. Sweet on the nose with soft black fruit on the palate and a hint of something herbaceous on the finish.
2010 is the standout vintage for Pontet Canet of the last 15 years; this is a wine that has been built to last but lets you in to its many layers of complexity even in youth. It is full-bodied with fruit in abundance and the savoury, earthy, mineral layers coming in close behind. It has incredible length and will keep going for many decades.
2009 was a great year for Bordeaux and Mouton were always going to do well but, what sets this apart from others is the savoury, herbal edge that brings a layer of complexity to the glass that only goes to complement the sweeter notes further. Long, fresh and expertly balanced.
With Margaux it is not only the wine that has become iconic but also the name and chateau itself. Luckily their ability to produce exceptional wine has not wavered during this long lasting fame and nor does it show signs of doing so. The 2009 is everything you’d want a Margaux to be, opulent, complex, elegant, and a reflection of it’s terroir.