Magazine article The Spectator

Spectator Mini-Bar

Magazine article The Spectator

Spectator Mini-Bar

Article excerpt

The prices of the top Bordeaux reds are down this year, though you can still pay hundreds of pounds a bottle for the most famous labels. What puzzles me is the way that some of the smaller, unknown chateaux imagine that because Chinese millionaires pay ludicrous sums for the great names, they can overcharge for their own inferior fluids. There is no trickledown effect in wine prices. The rest of the world is making dazzling wines which can retail here for £7-£10, so why should we bother with their thin, chalky, mouth-puckering effluents?

Which is why the merchant Simon Wrightson has tracked down three clarets, all from the golden years of 2009 and 2010, which really are delicious and excellent value. All are drinking well now, but they will go on improving for two or more years, so if you buy now you'll have superb glugging in quantity for a long time.

The first, Ch. Bel Air de l'Orme 2009 (2), is the wine Simon is serving at his daughter's wedding later this year. I thought it had deep, dark, undergrowth flavours, and as the chateau tells us (their translation) 'with melted tannins and it delights us with delicious blackcurrant and black berries notes'. I could not have put it better in English. …

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