The Best Bordeaux in Waitrose
By Master of Wine, Christopher Burr
The British love their Bordeaux, or for the reds "Claret" as they prefer to call it, for the last several hundred years. Ever since Eleanor of Aquitaine (Bordeaux was Aquitaine's capital) married Henry the Second of England in 1152, and was mother to two further English Kings, Richard 1st and King John, the trade in wine between the two countries has been unstoppable.
English cooking - roasts and grills, seems to have been almost created to compliment the fruit, savoury old leather and cedar-box tannin characters, and fresh palate cleansing acidity.
Waitrose have always had a great range from the most expensive to some great value wines. I recently enjoyed two good value reds, Chateau Queyret Pouillac 2019, a young fresh wine with masses of character, from the Entre Deux Mers vineyards between the Garonne and Dordogne rivers just before they meet at Bordeaux to form the Gironde estuary, with lots of berry fruit and a gentle "bite" of soft tannins. Now £7.49.
The other red I like is from a satellite region of Saint Emilion, Espirit de Puisseguin, again a young 2019, Merlot based wine, with soft round black plumy fruit, and great value at £8.99.
The whites are equally impressive. An entry level Sauvignon white Bordeaux again from the Entre Deux Mers, Les Chartrons 2019 is a crisp bright wine, with round fruit and excellent with sea-food. £8.99.
But a top wine with fantastic character and complexity is Chateau Fieuzal blanc, 2013. From the famous Graves (Pessac Leognan) area south of Bordeaux and a blend of 50/50 Semillon and Sauvignon to make a rich complex wine, with ripe citrus and intense flavours. A great white Bordeaux for grilled fish or fish with a sauce. Not cheap but worth a treat at £44 a bottle.
I should also mention that in the nineteenth century the sweet wines of Bordeaux, Sauternes and Barsac, got higher prices than the great classed growth red wines. Their quality is supreme as some of the best sweet wines in the World. Waitrose No1 selection have half bottles of 2011 Sauternes from the first growth Chateau Sudiraut in Sauternes. Lucious and rich with gorgeous sweetness yet kept fresh by some bright ripe lemon and lime acidity from a touch of sauvignon in the blend. Delicious as an aperitif or best with pate or cheeses. £16.99 per half.
Christopher Burr, MW,
8th April 2021