Jonathan Ray

Wine Club 19 November

Six wines from the very top Grand Cru Classé Bordeaux châteaux which are declassified, offering extraordinary value for money at a price we can afford

Wine Club 19 November
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One of FromVineyardsDirect’s finest ruses has been to obtain, quietly and discreetly, small amounts of surplus production from the most celebrated châteaux in all Bordeaux (and I mean the most celebrated) and to sell the wine on under their own labels at extremely reasonable prices.

These ‘declassified’ wines (as they like to call them) are made from estate fruit with exactly the same care and attention that goes into the properties’ grands vins by the same winemaking teams. Understandably, FVD would rather I didn’t say exactly which estates they are, although you might find some clues below...

The 2014 Margaux (1) is a gloriously, precociously, mouth-fillingly approachable charmer, a smooth, succulent blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon from the Sichel family, famous for its association with Châteaux Angludet and Palmer. £21.25 down from £21.95.

The 2014 Pauillac (2) is a fine successor to the 2012 that readers positively lapped up last time. In fact, I think they bought the lot. Wonderfully stylish and accessible, this is from one of Pauillac’s most famous estates (and about a twentieth the price of its grand vin). Like a faun, it tantalises ethereally. £21.45 down from £21.95.

The 2012 St. Émilion (3), from a stellar estate, is comprised almost entirely of Merlot and is velvety soft and supple. But there’s character and weight to the wine, too, and buckets of ripe, juicy fruit. It’s a wine with both grace and power. I would liken it to a beautiful, galloping white horse. £19.45 down from £19.95.

We’ve offered the 2011 St. Estèphe (4) from a fine 3rd Growth estate before and although it was forward and approachable it still had something to give. It’s still robust, but its ripe damson, cherry and plum fruit has come to the fore and it’s heading to its prime. A veritable love heart of a wine. £19.45 down from £19.95

The 2011 St. Julien (5) is everything that a fine, classically structured claret should be. From one of St. Julien’s finest ‘Super Seconds’, well known for the beautiful pebbles found in its soil, it has an impeccable pedigree and is full of ripe dark fruit, hints of tobacco, leather and spice. Decant it and ask your guests to guess the provenance and price. £19.45 down from £19.95.

Finally, the marvellously complex 2012 Sauternes (6), from the region’s most famous property of all. It might not boast the profound flavours of the grand vin, but at this price it’s an absolute corker. Sadly, this will be the last such parcel from this beyond-illustrious estate, since henceforward they will be putting all their surplus production into a second label wine (which will retail for many times this modest price). £15.25 per half bottle, down from £15.95.

There’s also a mixed case containing two bottles of each and delivery as ever is free.

Written byJonathan Ray

Jonathan Ray is the Spectator's wine editor.

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