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    5 different Bordeaux wines to brighten up your Christmas

    *Sings* Have yourself a merry Bordeaux Christmas, let your wine be great...

    Rachael Hogg posted in Wine
    16h ago

    Bordeaux is probably the most recognised wine region in the world, but it’s also one of the trickiest to get your head around, and one of the most intimidating if you’re new-ish (or not that new-ish!) to wine.

    For an outsider, Bordeaux wine can be super complex, obscure, and often, really, really bloody expensive. And if you find the cheaper stuff in a supermarket, you might be left disappointed or a bit underwhelmed.

    Bordeaux is the largest appellation in France – the wine industry there supports a lot of people across a lot of different businesses. There are the cooperages, vineyards, barrel makers, bottling lines… with all of them forming a big, important part of France’s economy.

    There are still a lot of family businesses operating in Bordeaux. Of course, some vineyards have been bought up by the bigger companies, but there are lots which have been passed down through generations.

    A fun afternoon was had. This is basically happiness in a picture, right?

    A fun afternoon was had. This is basically happiness in a picture, right?

    You might have heard of some of the really famous Bordeaux names: Haut-Brion, Lafite-Rothschild, Latour, Margaux, Mouton Rothschild, Pétrus, and Chateau d’Yquem, even if it’s just in passing. But believe it or not, only 5% of the wine produced in the Bordeaux region is from the really big names.

    There’s lots out there aside from the big guns, and you can get really good value for money from some of the lesser-known labels and mid-price points.

    If you’re looking for some deliciously diverse Bordeaux alternatives this Christmas, which won’t break the bank, I joined an online tasting with Lydia Harrison MW (Master of Wine, aka one of the highest qualifications of professional wine knowledge... in the world) to find out more about what’s on offer.

    Château Bauduc Blanc de Blancs 2016, Crémant de Bordeaux – the sparkling one

    There’s more and more Cremant being made in Bordeaux. If you’re looking for a sparkling alternative to Prosecco, or Champagne, this is a great one to look at. It’s made in the same way that Champagne is, but is around half the price.

    Champagne is predominantly made from chardonnay, pinot meunier and pinot noir grapes, but because Bordeaux doesn’t have quite as many rules to follow, there’s lots of different grape varieties you can use.

    Château Bauduc Blanc de Blancs is 100% semillon, from 2016. The vineyard is owned by an English couple who moved out to France in 1999, and released their first vintage in 2000. You can also stay at the vineyard in a farmhouse they rent out. Seriously dreamy.

    This would be the perfect drop to start your Christmas Day celebrations. Bring out the cured salmon and a bottle of this. It’s got bags of flavour and a lovely roundness to it.

    Available direct from Chateau Bauduc for £16.50.

    Laithwaites Sauvignon Blanc 2019, Bordeaux Blanc – the party one

    Sauvignon blanc is SO popular at the moment. You might think most of them come from New Zealand, but white wines from Bordeaux use sauvignon blanc, too! Laithwaite's launched this wine all the way back in 1995. Winemaker Jean-Marc has been fine tuning it ever since.

    This wine is 100% sauvignon and is a great one to enjoy with friends and family, or on Zoom calls (there’s going to be a lot of them over Christmas aren’t there?). Lydia described it as a great party wine, or one that would be perfect with nibbles.

    The grapes were picked early, and it’s got a lovely aromatic perfume and stony minerality. It would go really nicely with goat’s cheese, vegetable tarts, salads, light starters, as the acid cuts through creaminess perfectly. This vineyard is also trying to lessen its impact on the environment – bonus.

    Buy it from Laithwaite's for £11.99 a bottle.

    Le Merle Blanc de Château Clarke 2018 – the special one

    We’re talking about Christmas Day here, which is the time to treat yourself. Buy a slightly nicer bottle than you usually might, have a nice meal, make it more of an occasion?

    Le Merle Blanc de Château Clarke was first produced as early as 1890 and At the time, was one the most important products of Chateau Clarke. Sadly, production decreased and the owners at the time focused on different grapes. However, after acquiring Chateau Clarke in 1973, Baron Edmond was keen to reinstate Le Merle Blanc and pay homage to this forgotten wine. It's back and better than ever, although it's also quite rare, with only a few hundred cases produced annually.

    Le Merle Blanc is 70% sauvignon blanc, 10% sauvignon gris, 10% muscadelle and 10% semillon and this is the 2018 vintage – but it will keep for a few years if you don’t want to crack it open at Christmas. It’s got honey notes, citrus peel and a bit of a waxy character as well. Although it’s £30 (currently on offer for £22), if you compare it to Burgundy or white wines of equivalent quality from other regions, it’s comparatively really great value.

    Lydia says this will go perfectly with roast chicken, guinea fowl, brie, or truffled brie.

    Buy it from Waddesdon for £22 a bottle (on offer down from £30).

    Château Mille Anges 2016, Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux – the red one

    There is a lot of competition out there when it comes to Bordeaux reds. This one definitely emphasises the more modern reds coming through from the region. It’s from Cadillac, which is one of the lesser known areas.

    Formerly a convent, Château des Mille Anges has been producing fine wines for more than three centuries. It was purchased in 1994 by Mrs. Heather van Ekris and she's made some major investments since.

    This particular wine has got lots of fruit flavour, blueberry, violet, with some supporting spice of cloves and black pepper. It’s fresh, drinkable and smooth. Although it’s great to drink now, it’s got the concentration and power to age.

    You could drink this at most points during your Christmas Day, but it’ll work really well with hard cheeses and a charcuterie board.

    Buy it from Goedhuis for £13 a bottle.

    Château La Rame Sainte-Croix-du-Mont 2017 – the sweet one

    I love a dessert wine, and this one offers crazy value for money. So much effort has to go into making a sweet wine, and when you check out the flavour intensity you’re getting from this wine, you realise how good value for money it is.

    Château La Rame is one of the oldest properties in the Sainte Croix du Mont appellation, where the influence of the river encourages botrytis or noble rot.

    It’s 100% semillon, and it’s got lots of dry fruit, marmalade, dried apricot, and honey, along with some subtle Christmas spices. Overall, it’s a bit lighter than a Sauternes.

    Traditionally with sweet wines, sweet and sweet works well, so one to go with your pudding – creme brulee, sticky toffee pud etc. If you’re looking for some more interesting pairings, it would work with scallops or lobster, or perhaps a fish pie.

    Lydia also suggested you could use up the leftovers in cocktails. I think people forget about sweet wines a lot, but this isn’t just packing sugar and sweetness, you’re getting fruit and acidity as well.

    Buy it from Majestic for £14.99 a bottle (£12.99 if you buy a mixed case of six bottles).

    Which of these do you fancy trying for Christmas?

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    Comments (18)

    • Happy Alcoholic Xmas 😂

        16 hours ago
      • Always drink responsibly Rémon! My current motto is drink less, drink better!

          16 hours ago
      • A Dutch beer brand has one: "Drink met maten" if you translate this literally into English it would mean "Drink with measurements". But the word "maten" could also mean mates (friends). So I always use the second option of Drink with Mates...

        Read more
          16 hours ago
    • I’ve been looking for Traditional Method sparkling Semillon for ages! Who’s the importer on the back label?

        11 hours ago
      • Unusually for a Bordeaux they sell direct! Trying to find out more but I think they only ship to France/the UK... I'll try to find out if you can get any in the States.

          2 hours ago
    • Thanks for the mention... #newzealandsav 😁 we do have some nice ones here at all the price points (thankfully).

        16 hours ago
      • ha, I promise no offence intended. And I've had some wonderful New Zealand SBs... I'm a big fan of Yealands... I just can't deal with the GRAPEFRUIT IN THE FACE ones everyone seems to love right now 😁

          16 hours ago
      • None taken! I can't do grapefruit either but there are heaps with stone fruits, pineapple, citrus etc 🙂

          15 hours ago
    • Château des Mille Anges for me ☝️

        24 mins ago
    • Thanks you for that interesting review. I come from the Centre-Val De Loire where the Sancerre is produced. I don't really know the Bordeaux wine. I should try to taste them one day.

        4 hours ago