As we know Bordeaux is the home of some of the world’s most expensive wines. Yet there are only 200 of these classified wines in Bordeaux out of 6000 other châteaux. They are in high demand and their prices have quadrupled in the past 10 years.
We seem to have lost sense of reality. If you know where to look, Bordeaux is also the home to many great value wines. Some of these lie just on the ‘wrong side of the boundary’ with similar terroir to famous neighbours but a fraction of the cost. (These boundary lines were laid down in the 1930s , the French appellation system, often just circling around the village church). Some are in less fashionable areas with names that don’t have the cachet of more famous appellations. Many of these appellations have been tarnished by a reputation from the past when the most important criteria was the ageing potential of a wine.
In the complex world of understanding wine labels (and the French inconsistent classification words do not help!) preconceptions abound often dating from decades ago. With 30 years in the region I have come across such treasures, some are obvious, some are hidden away and hardly spoken of.
Many of them are SIP wines (from the SIP Wine Club quarterly mixed case deliveries direct from Small Independent Producers http://www.sip-wines.com) family-owned and run for generations. Email me ( email@example.com) for more information.
Over the past ten years or so there has been a new understanding in the grass roots of vine growing with a new focus on the vine and what it needs to ripen its grapes in this temperate climate. Bordeaux might not be trendy, it might not be a new discovery, but it is time to give it a fresh look.
Where to find the great value wines in Bordeaux?
I go into a lot of detail of where to look and the SIP châteaux (Small Independent Producers) that I have discovered in the last 30 years in my recent book Bordeaux Sip by Sip (to order here) 14,90€
FULL BODIED WINES*
These wines have a majority Cabernet Sauvignon generally.
Medoc – Left Bank: Châteaux La Branne, Tour Haut Caussan, l’Ousteneuf, Bourdieu
Haut Medoc – this one of the most interesting appellations as it can be just on the wrong side of some of the most famous appellations and the high price tags of their neighbours on the same terroir.
Just over the Border from Margaux: Arsac, Agassac, Paloumey, Cambon la Pelouse
Just over the Border from St Julien: Moulin Rouge, Beaumont
Just over the Border from Pauillac: Hourtin Ducasse
Just over the Border from St Estephe: Sociando Mallet, Charmail
Moulis – Left Bank: Mauvesin, Biston Brillette
Listrac – Left Bank: Saransot Dupré, Mayne Lalande
MEDIUM BODIED WINES– predominantly more Merlot
Graves – Left Bank: Cerons, Brondelle
Castillon – Right Bank: Picoron
St Emilion – Right Bank: Béard la Chapelle
Montagne St Emilion: Calon, Roudier
Puisseguin St Emilion: Bernon Becot
Fronsac – Right Bank: Cassagne Haut Canon, Gaby
Lalande de Pomerol: Canon Chaigneau