Christmas is the time for fine claret, whether the grub you plan to gorge on is a juicy rib of beef, a succulent saddle of lamb or the dread festive turkey. And, if you’re canny, there’s no need to break the bank. We’ve put together three keenly priced clarets with our partners Mr Wheeler. Each has unimpeachable credentials, from truly great estates. Drink long and drink deep.
The 2014 Vieux Château Saint André (1) from Montagne Saint-Emilion is a complete and utter claret-lover’s delight. Produced from fruit grown on his own six-hectare estate by Jean-Claude Berrouet (who, being the former winemaker at Ch. Pétrus, certainly knows his onions), the wine is almost indecently flirtatious and approachable. A blend of succulent, brambly Merlot with just a splash of structure-giving Cabernet Franc, the wine spends a perfectly judged spell in oak and is full of soft, ripe, dark fruit, vanilla, spice and even a whisper of black coffee. £16.80 down from £19.50.
The 2012 Château Fourcas-Borie (2) is similarly toothsome and is about as spot-on for washing down the Christmas fare as it’s possible for a wine to be. The estate in Listrac is owned by Bruno Borie, the admired owner of Chx. Ducru-Beaucaillou, Grand-Puy-Lacoste and Haut-Batailley, and there’s certainly a sprinkling of Cru Classé stardust evident here. The wine is impeccably structured, blended from 60 per cent Merlot and 40 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon and it’s richly flavoured and forward, with spicy black cherry, blackberry and plum fruit and a long, deeply satisfying, almost savoury finish. It’s a right Christmas cracker. £19.20 down from £22.00.
Finally, those readers who bought the 2012 Clarendelle a month or so back will be delighted to see the 2010 Clarendelle (3) in this offer. Praised to the skies by Uncle Bob Parker a few years ago (he gave the wine a healthy 90 point score), it’s an über-smooth Merlot-rich blend produced by Domaine Clarence Dillon from the family-owned vineyards of Chx. Haut-Brion, La Mission Haut-Brion and Quintus. Fully mature on release, it’s certainly not going to get any better and should be earmarked for immediate quaffing this Christmas rather than next. £15.60 down from £18.
The above wines are offered in unmixed dozens and there is also a mixed dozen (4) with four bottles of each wine.
If you buy any three cases you get a free magnum of 2010 Clarendelle (worth £34.95). Delivery, as ever, is also free.