Jonathan Ray

Wine from the greatest châteaux for a fraction of the price

Wine from the greatest châteaux for a fraction of the price
Text settings

They’re a crafty bunch at and no mistake. One of their smartest wheezes is to ferret out, very discreetly, small parcels of surplus production from the top — and I mean the top — châteaux of Bordeaux and sell them on to their customers at extremely reasonable prices.

These ‘defrocked’ wines (as they like to call them) are made from estate fruit with the same care and attention that goes into the property’s grand vin by the same winemaking teams. I know which châteaux the wines are from but, for obvious reasons, FVD would rather I didn’t say. I can hint if you can guess…

We can, however, be quite open as to where the 2011 Pomerol is from: Château Beauregard, natch. An AC Pomerol, it’s made from 75 per cent Merlot and 25 per cent Cabernet Franc and is soft, succulent and mellow. Given the quality and the price and the fact that only 200 cases were made available, I doubt it’ll be around for long. £21.45 down from £21.95.

Speccie readers adored the 2012 Pauillac when we last offered it and it’s even better with a few months’ extra bottle age. Wonderfully stylish, it’s from one of Pauillac’s most garlanded estates (whose top wine sells for almost £360 a bottle).

Like a fairy in the ether. £20.45 down from £21.95. The 2012 St Emilion is from the most celebrated of châteaux and one which had an awkward Cabernet Franc crop in 2012, needing what little it harvested for the main wine. This, therefore, is comprised almost entirely of Merlot and is immediately appealing, soft, smooth and juicy. Full of elegance and power, it’s like a prancing white horse. £17.95 down from £18.95. The 2011 St Estephe is from the most romantic of Third Growths and one that everyone loves. It’s forward and approachable, yes, but still has something in reserve and its firm structure and earthy tannins promise much. £17.20 down from £17.95.

The 2010 St Julien is serious stuff indeed, from one of the commune’s ‘Super Seconds’, well known for the beautiful pebbles found in its soil. The grand vin might be ten times as expensive as this richly flavoured, classically-styled claret but is it really ten times as good? £19.45 down from £19.95.

Finally, the 2010 Haut Charmes, a Sauternes from the region’s most famous property. OK, so it might lack the intense concentration of the fabled grand vin, but it’s fraction of the price. 2010 was a glorious vintage and this remains an utterly charming sweet wine, light yet luscious and enticingly honeyed. I’ve tucked away quite a bit as it can only get better. £15.45 down from £15.95.

There’s also a mixed case with two bottles of each at the discounted price of £223.90.

Delivery, as ever, is free to mainland Britain, and there's a sample case containing two bottles of each wine. To view all other offers click here.
Written byJonathan Ray

Jonathan Ray is the Spectator's wine editor.

Topics in this articleSociety