Cellar notes #38: The best of Bordeaux

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Indy Lifestyle Online

The great and good of Bordeaux, not to mention the bad and the ugly, are drip-feeding the market as pre-release prices for 2003 come out.

The great and good of Bordeaux, not to mention the bad and the ugly, are drip-feeding the market as pre-release prices for 2003 come out. The best of the First Growths - Latour, Lafite and Margaux - are gold dust, while you may also need to pull strings to get your hands on the hottest Saint Estèphe properties, Montrose and Cos d'Estournel. Better bets for drinking are some of the lesser, more reasonably priced châteaux, wines such as Batailley, Branaire-Ducru, du Tertre, Duhart-Milon, Gruaud Larose, Giscours, Langoa Barton, Lynch-Moussas, Pontet-Canet, Talbot and La Tour Carnet. Like the prices themselves, wine merchants' offers are trickling out, so if you want blow-by-blow offers, visit www.bbr.com or e-mail the following: sales@farrvintners.com; charles.lea@leaandsandeman.co.uk; charles@montrachetwine.com and sales@bordeauxindex.com.

For those who can't wait, Majestic has three clarets worthy of note. The 2002 Château de L'Abbaye de Ste-Ferme has a £1 discount if you buy two bottles, bringing this vivid, juicy, capsicum-scented claret down to £5.99 a bottle. The second, 2000 Château Grand Tuillac (£6.99) is a modern-style claret from the Côtes de Castillon close to St Emilion, and is full of juicy cherry, vanilla and plum fruitiness. Finally, on special offer for the summer at £9.99 (list price, £14.99) is Château Plaisance from St Sulpice de Faleyras. The 2001 is a youthful claret, aged in oak for a mocha-like veneer to the cassis fruitiness. Just the thing to win Bordeaux new friends.

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