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Great Value Bordeaux – has someone been putting something in their tea?

I’ve recently wondered if someone is putting something in their tea down in Bordeaux. Yes, it is probably the most famous wine region in the world that produces wines considered the greatest by many, but it’s never been my first port of call for excellent everyday drinking red. In fact, it wasn’t long ago that I used to make the quip that ‘good value Bordeaux’ was an oxymoron, well not any more.

A sample of the 2016 Chateau Mayne-Vieil arrived just in time for me to have a glass with lunch on Christmas Eve and it certainly put me in the Christmas spirit. It’s from Fronsac, a region which sits on the ‘Right Bank’ of Bordeaux. Wines from this side of the Gironde estuary are usually Merlot based (whilst the ‘Left Bank’ favours Cabernet Sauvignon) with a little Cabernet Franc and/or Cabernet Sauvignon added to the blend. However this particular wine is 100% Merlot and seems all the better for it.

The most famous regions of the ‘Right Bank’ are St. Emilion and Pomerol with Fronsac situated just five miles from the latter. What is striking about this wine is that it is not trying to emulate the character of either but has a distinct style of its own. It is sourced from 35 year old vines and fermented in concrete vats. Just 15% is aged in barrel for three years and I think it is this that gives the wine its distinction. A lot of Bordeaux at this price point can sometime ‘overdo’ the oak whereas this offers a lovely purity of fruit rarely found in claret at this price. Although this is lovely to tuck in to now, it’s just going to get better so squirrel a couple away if you can.

2016 Château Mayne-Vieil, Fronsac, Bordeaux @ £72 per case (6 bottles)

“Ripe, pure and pronounced, this superb claret wastes no time in laying its cards on the table. The ripeness and vibrancy of the black fruit is tantalising but not overpowering as more complex flavours of roasted coffee and a touch of earthiness. This has the structure and finesse of a wine that has a long life ahead of it and offers exceptional value – not only for Bordeaux but against any competition.” JW

To order this wine please email jonny@songbirdwine.co.uk and click here for more details on deliveries


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