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Bordeaux Month at Ake and Humphris

30 May 2018 by Philip Probert

Bordeaux has a reputation for fine Chateau and fine wine but it's not all Petrus and Lafitte. If you know what you're looking for, there are some affordable gems to be found.

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Join us instore on the first weekend of June to sample the Ch Ville George and Chateau Troupian, as we pit Haut Medoc against Haut Medoc. Age and experience vs youth and vigour which will you prefer. Keep your eyes peeled for further tastings and events throughout June.

It is easy to lose sight of the region's humble origin. There are parts of the world where wine has been the lifeblood of a community and its commerce for hundreds or even thousands of years and by whose standards Bordeaux is very much a late starter. The region first found fame as a port of trade where wine was as important as wool to the city, which traded with the English and the Dutch. Indeed it was the Dutch with their technical prowess who drained the estuary of the Gironde, allowing vines to be planted on the flat river beds rather than the few isolated islands that rose above the waters of the flood plain.

Suddenly wine making became a commercial proposition and the popularity of these light fresh wines became a sensation in the Gentleman's clubs and taverns of London, as Claret became the toast of the town. It was an unknown but enterprising soul who took to writing the name of the Chateau on the Barrels, inadvertently creating the worlds first brand when drinkers noticed that some of the wines tasted better than others. The wines of Haut Brion were a particular favourite with Samuel Pepys who called them "Ho Brian" in his diaries, the wine remains highly sought after to this day. 

Famously Bordeaux was the first wine producing region to create a classification, which still holds true today, to help consumers understand differences between the appellations. Brokers from the wine industry ranked the wines according to its trading price, not by the quality of the wine. However Bordeaux is a wonderfully mixed bag and as well as the exclusive and elite there are enjoyable and approachable wines to be found and more modest prices, especially if you know where to look.

From Haut Medoc; Chateau Troupian is a predominantly Merlot wine that offers a glimpse of the unique balance between generous fruit and spice that gives the wines of Bordeaux their fame. At just £9.99 this is an exceptionally enjoyable wine that might make you rethink your view of Bordeaux as snooty and austere. Other great value wines on our shelves include Chateau Civrac £9.99 from the unfancied Cotes De Bourg a mature wine but still drinking like a youngster. Fronsac also gives us wines like Haut Villars at £13.99 and Mayne Viel at £12.99 which both over deliver from this less famous part of Bordeaux.

St Emilion offers up the undeniably classy Ch. Leydet Valentin 2014 £23.99 earthy and elegant this is a treat for lovers of dark and succulent wines. The perfect wine for a family get together over Sunday lunch with all the trimmings. Pomerol may not have been part of the 1855 Classification but is home to the highly lauded and even more highly priced Chateau Petrus. Our Chateau Valois is a snip then at £29.99 because it is imported by by a small company who have worked closely with us for a number of years. 

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