First published in The Irish Times, Saturday 16th November, 2018
As one of the best-known names, Bordeaux can command a premium price for its very top wines. Sadly these days, a bottle of the very best classed-growth Bordeaux costs hundreds of euro, out of reach for most of us. However, less expensive Bordeaux can offer great value for money, and ranks as one of the great food wines.
I wouldn’t necessarily recommend you drink it with Christmas turkey (the tannins can clash with both turkey meat and cranberry sauce), but, judging from sales over the festive period, most of the country disagrees with me.
When it comes to a roast of beef or lamb, though, Bordeaux is hard to beat. If you are catering for vegetarians and vegans, roast red peppers, mushrooms (great with many red wines) and cheese dishes all go well with red Bordeaux.
Most retailers bring in a selection of Bordeaux for the Christmas season, so here we present a round-up of the best on offer from budget busters to the very finest.
For those on a budget, SuperValu has the ever reliable Chateau Pey Latour (€9 on promotion), and 64 Wine the very attractive fruit-filled Chateau Canon La Foret (€14). Lidl has Chateau Carpena Côtes du Bourg (€9.99), which I marginally preferred to its Côtes de Bourg, Chateau les Graves de Cau (€8.99). Dunnes Stores has Chateau Darzac and Chateau Bois Pertuis (both €12.50).
Moving up in price, Molloy’s Liquor Stores has an ambitious new range of Bordeaux, from €18.95 to €33; my pick of the bunch was the €24.95 Chateau Moulin Borie (see below). O’Briens Wines can always be relied upon to have a good selection; this year my star picks include the fine elegant Chateau Mauvesin-Barton 2014 (€25.95), the soft-maturing Chateau Rolland de By (€28.95) and the fruit-filled Chateau St Marie (€15.95). Among its excellent selection of Bordeaux, Terroirs in Donnybrook has two organic wines, the supremely elegant margaux Chateau Mille Roses 2015 (€39.50) and the very attractive Les Demoiselles de Falfas 2016 (€24.50).
As might be expected, Mitchell & Son is not short on options when it comes to Bordeaux; I would certainly be happy with a bottle of Chateau La Justice 2015 (€21.95) or, at a less elevated price, Cuvée des Abeilles 2015, Chateau d’Auzanet (€14.95) and Grand Bateau Bordeaux (€16.95). If you fancy visiting Bordeaux, Mitchells will be running a wine trip there next summer; see mitchellandson.com for details.
Whelehan’s in Loughlinstown is another good source of Bordeaux. From its tasty selection, Chateau le Crock 2010 St Estèphe (€45) is a seriously good wine, and I was very taken with the Chateau La Fleur Pourrot 2012 St Émilion Grand Cru (€35).
Bordeaux de Gloria 2016, Bordeaux
A very attractive elegant bordeaux with blackcurrants and a touch of spice, finishing on a lightly tannic note. Roast lamb or beef.
From La Touche, Greystones, latouchewines4u.ie; Grapevine, Dalkey, onthegrapevine.ie; Deveney’s, Dundrum; Higgins, Clonskeagh; O’Driscoll’s, Cahersiveen, Co.Kerry; Grape & Grain, Leopardstown Inn, leopardstowninn.ie; Londis, Malahide; Drinkstore, Manor Street, Dublin, drinkstore.ie
Chateau Moulin-Borie 2015, Listrac-Moulis
Ripe, smooth and sophisticated with concentrated red fruits overlaid with spice, and well-integrated tannins on the finish. Try it with a roast of beef.
From Molloy’s Liquor Stores, molloys.ie
Chateau Lamarsalle 2014, Montagne St Émilion, Biodynamic
Delicious vibrant claret, loaded with ripe damsons and blackberries, a good backbone of tannin and excellent length. A great match for roast beef, lamb or a rare steak.
From 64 Wine, Glasthule; Ely Wine Store, Maynooth, elywinebar.ie
Chateau le Puy Barthelemy 2011, Côtes de Bordeaux, Francs Biodynamic
Forward, ripe dark fruits, some undergrowth and a long dry finish. Supremely elegant and long. With an aged fillet of beef.
From Green Man Wines, Terenure, greenmanwines.ie; Redmonds, Ranelagh, redmonds.ie; Blackrock Cellar, Blackrock, blackrockcellar.com; siyps.com