Claret – an Englishman`s tipple
CLARET, the very name conjures images in my mind of stately homes and butlers and period costumes, the dusty old bottle of 45 being decanted for Sir who is entertaining tonight! Certainly it has been for a long time the world`s big investment wine, with their top wines fetching some of the world`s highest prices. It is an English name, for the red wines of Bordeaux in the south-west of France where the river Garonne flows into the Atlantic. On the gravelly left bank predominantly the Cabernet Sauvignon grape variety is grown, while the right bank is of loam-clay more suited to Merlot. Other Bordeaux red wine grapes include Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. The left bank is called Medoc and the right St Emilion and Pomerol, the former characterised by its cassis, cedar and tobacco characteristics, the latter by its plum, spice and cream. Both styles we call claret. Lamb is Medoc`s natural food partner and salt-marsh lamb is raised on the banks to exploit the happy union. Pomerol and St. Emilion wines fair well with lamb too, yet they more than Medoc will be a match for seasoned roast beef and game-birds, the latter being happily prevalent in the nearby pine forests of Landes. Within Medoc, from north to south, are the appellations St. Estephe, Pauillac, St. Julien, Moulis, Margaux, Pessac-Leognan and Graves. Also found on the right bank are the lesser known but up-and-coming appellations Blaye, Bourg, Fronsac, Canon-Fronsac, Lalande-de-Pomerol, Montagne-St. Emilion, Cotes de Castillon and the exciting Premieres Cotes, which yield supple, often delicious early drinking clarets. If you would like to be acquainted with the red wines of Bordeaux, drop into the shop and have a chat. Our best selling claret is Chateau Jacques Noir 2010, a St Emilion at £26.99 per bottle which ticks all the boxes. If you are looking to impress your dinner guests, look no further! Happy imbibing….