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Claret

Vintages:
1982 - A great vintage. Very ripe grapes giving extraordinarily plump wines, easy to drink in their youth. Now that they are maturing, little wines should probably be drunk up, while grander wines are still tasting astonishingly youthful. I recommend leaving them in the cellar for years yet.
1983 - Quicker maturing than 1982. A classic claret vintage. Virtually all wines from this vintage are ready to drink now, but many will keep as well.
1984 - The worst vintage of the 80s, although some reasonably good wines were made.
1985 - A large vintage of lovely wines - top wines drinking well now. Some minor wines at Cru Bourgeois level still delicious.
1986 - Although this is said to be a keeping vintage, below Classed Growth level the wines are fine for drinking now.
1987 - This was a brilliant vintage for small shopkeepers like us - but most should have been drunk up by now.
1988 - A classic claret vintage - best of all for Merlot (St. Emilion, Pomerol).
1989 - A very hot summer produced rich wines, turning out in many cases to be the equal of 1990.
1990 - A really wonderful vintage. Certainly a great vintage. It was almost impossible to make bad wine in 1990.
1991 - Drink up.
1992 - My advice is to avoid 1992s. They seem to me dilute, one-dimensional and dull.
1993 - A much better vintage, rather underrated, with many wines exhibiting nicely defined fruit - bit like 1973.
1994 - Said to be better than 1993. I'm afraid most of those that I have tasted lack the elegance of 1993, and seem to me rather clumsy. Better for wines from the right bank (St Emilion, Pomerol, etc), and Bourg and Blaye than the Medoc.
1995 - All the 1995s I have tasted have been delicious.
1996 - At the top level, a keeping vintage - at Cru Bourgeois level, good drinking now.
1997 - In their youth, this year provided what wine merchants like to call a "useful" vintage: nice wines for early drinking.
1998 - Good vintage, especially for Merlot.
1999 - Sound vintage - more interesting on the right bank. A bit patchier on the left bank; however, there are good wines in a soft style which are already providing very good drinking.
2000 - Terrific vintage, with nearly all wines at Cru Bourgeois level and above still displaying deep colour and assertive flavour.
2001 - An underrated vintage, in the shadow of 2000, but ultimately may turn out superior to its predecessor. Some delcious wines were made - drinking well now.
2002 - There are always exceptions, but this is definitely a weak vintage.
2003 - Small vintage, atypical, exceptionally deep-coloured wines. Particularly good in the northern Medoc.
2004 - Attractive vintage - and some very advantageous prices since punters are chasing the 2003s and 2005s.
2005 - Undoubtedly a terrific vintage, and below the superstars not greedily priced.
2006 - A fine vintage, in the style of 2004, but better.
2007 - A weaker vintage, but "useful". Good for drinking now and for a few years yet.
2008 - Sound, but uneven vintage.
2009 - Delicious! Lots of easy fruit - and prices seem to have eased a bit.

 

Ch. LA PETITE ROQUE 2014 AC Côtes de Bordeaux Blaye
A blend of 70% Merlot with 30% Cabernet Sauvignon - but you can really taste the Cabernet, giving it a lift of classiness and grip to go with the plumpness of the Merlot. This is an impressively good value petit château claret.

   £9.95

Ch. BERNADOTTE 2002 AC Haut Medoc
This property was bought in 1997 by May-Eliane de Lencquesaing, owner at the time of Ch. Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, who put considerable investment into it. In 2007 it was sold to Champagne Louis Roederer. The 2002 is firm and solid, a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. It needs decanting several hours before drinking in order to open out the flavour.

   £14.95

Ch. CISSAC 2008 AC Haut Medoc
I have been following Ch. Cissac since I first opened my shop nearly 30 years ago. It is a reliably delicious claret.
A selection of other vintages also available

  £18.95

Ch. MONTLANDRIE 2009 AC Côtes de Castillon
Rich, full, plump claret in the style of Saint Emilion. This property belongs to Denis Durantou, the highly regarded owner of Ch. L'Eglise-Clinet in Pomerol. Good for drinking now, but is definitely worth cellaring for a few years more.

  £26.50