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For an idea of how a child will develop, size up their parents

With 287,000 acres of vineyards, Bordeaux is the biggest wine region in France. The city of Bordeaux is pictured (Photograph supplied)

With a history of winemaking going back 2,000 years, all wine statistics from Bordeaux are daunting.

At 287,000 acres of vineyards, it is by far the biggest wine region in France. More than 10,000 estates produce 960 million bottles of wine each year from 57 appellations. You could buy 52 bottles of our least expensive bordeaux wine for just one bottle of our most expensive.

As I write this only a couple of hundred yards from the house where John Lennon worked on his final album, I think of the song that he wrote with Paul McCartney, With a Little Help from My Friends. I would also like to suggest this thought when choosing bordeaux wines – may I be your friend please.

Our 2016 Chateau Tayet will cost you $25 and yet it rates a fine 91/100 from Decanter magazine and this description: “A classy merlot-driven claret, from vineyards just outside the Margaux appellation. It’s drinking beautifully at this age, showing savoury leather and cigar box notes plus ripe plum and blackberry. Fresh acidity, supple tannins and cedar oak spice complete the picture.”

The Wine Enthusiast magazine feels this way: “A ripe wine that has berry fruits, slices of black plum and a full deck of tannins. It is concentrated and ripe, full of fruit and equally full of structure.” (Stock #7783).

Ringing in at only $21 is 2018 Vintage Claret and I will ask Tom Cannavan of winepages.com for his thoughts: “Sourced from Saint-Émilion and neighbouring appellations, this is made by Johnathan Maltus, perhaps best known for his super Right Bank 'garage wine', Le Dôme. This merlot-dominated blend has smooth, concentrated aromas of plums and blackcurrant, an elegant little hint of sandalwood spice in the background. It's a big, caressing mouthful of luscious merlot on the palate, with very sweet and soft tannins, but a little liquorice twist of bittersweetness from the acid, oak and tannin does give a pert, fresh finish too.” (Stock #9544).

Our 2016 Château Peyrabon comes from a blend of 67 per cent cabernet sauvignon, 27 per cent merlot, 4 per cent petit verdot and 2 per cent cabernet franc. The vintage is rich in colour as seen through its almost inky darkness. The nose is generous in black fruits dominated by touches of blueberry and blackberry. The initial sip is refreshing and quite dynamic with a good acid support. The mid-palate is elegant, smooth, delicate, and coated with fleshy tannins. This is a 91 pointer from the Wine Enthusiast magazine that says: “With its high proportion of cabernet sauvignon, this wine has a good structure and ripe, generous blackcurrant flavours. Its fresh character gives juiciness that contrasts with the rich fruits. It's a wine with tannins and ageing potential. Drink from 2023. Best Buy.” $31 (Stock #9646).

Just to meet Jean-Luc Thunavin is a joy as he always has a mischievous smile on his face, and I would like to offer you his 2016 Bad Boy. The name for this cuvée came by way of American critic, Robert Parker, who often referred to Jean-Luc as Bordeaux's "black sheep" or "Saint Emilion's bad boy". Thunevin rose to prominence during the Right Bank “garagiste” movement of the 1990s with the rise of his garage-produced Chateau Valandraud. Jean-Luc produces the Bad Boy cuvee with the same passion and creativity that helped him establish one of the biggest cult wines from Bordeaux's Right Bank.

Here is what Parker’s Wine Advocate has to say about it: “The 2016 Bad Boy (aka naughty Jean-Luc Thunevin) is a blend 5 per cent cabernet sauvignon and the remainder merlot. It has a fragrant, quite floral bouquet this year, with scents of black cherries, incense, and a touch of vanilla pod. The palate is medium-bodied with firm tannin, fresh in the mouth with a citrus line of acidity, slightly granular in texture towards the finish that has good, médoc-like structure. This is a fine follow-up to the 2015 Bad Boy. 90/100.” $31.95 (Stock #9331).

Our 2016 Chateau Baret is from an area known as Pessac-Leognan and it is equally regarded for its red and white wines. Winemaking consultant Denis Dubourdieu is highly respected and here he blends 41 per cent cabernet sauvignon, 53 per cent merlot and 6 per cent cabernet franc from a very fine vintage. Critic James Suckling rates it 94/100 and writes: “Superb intensity and clarity of fruit, ranging from blueberries to blackcurrants to oyster shells and lightly tarry accents. Finely laced tannins inhabit layers of blue fruit, liquorice flavours and a tight, silky texture. Minerally, and very polished.” $34.20 (Stock #8317).

If I wonder how a child is going to behave and develop I often size up the parents first, and for me, wine works the same way. For instance, you could not expect anything but an excellent upbringing from 2017 Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) Legende Medoc. Here the renowned wine team of one of our world’s greatest wines gives us a bottle that does not cost in the four figures per bottle – in fact just $32. One reviewer says: “Looking for a bordeaux that is cheap AND good? It’s a thing! And this bottle is a great example of it. Put this medium-bodied, soft fruit-driven, balanced red on a dinner table and you’ll be a star. Bring a few to a dinner party and you’ll be a hero.” You can feel at ease with the name “Lafite” actually appearing on the label! (Stock #9502).

I must just share thoughts on last night’s dinner wine with you. We opened a magnum of 2002 Chateau Teyssier St Emilion Grand Cru and decanted it into two regular bottles (so we could re-cork and keep one). I did not expect that this average vintage had survived well, but it turned out to be quite stunning and a wonderful example of bordeaux with quite a few years of ageing. Our present vintage of this lovely wine from Jonathan Maltus is 2016 and it sells for $46 (Stock #8314).

This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. Contact Michael Robinson at mrobinson@bll.bm. Burrows Lightbourn have stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554) and Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355). Visit www.wineonline.bm

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Published March 25, 2022 at 7:45 am (Updated March 25, 2022 at 7:45 am)

For an idea of how a child will develop, size up their parents

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