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Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Three Côtes de Bordeaux Reds

Three red wines from Bordeaux's more-ambitious but better-value sub-appellations

Bordeaux has long been one of my favourite wine regions; if I had to drink the red wines of just one region, it would probably be Bordeaux. It pretty much has everything:

- fresher, plumper Merlot-based wines
- fuller and gripper Cabernets
- lighter wines in cooler years
- bigger, riper wines in hotter years
- easy-drinking wines for early consumption
- complex and ageworthy wines for laying down
- from everyday wines to some of the world's most expensive

There is very little that Bordeaux cannot do; it is one of the great food-friendly and versatile wines.

Here are three wines from lesser-known regions that offer a glimpse of above-average Bordeaux greatness without the price premium of bigger names.

Château Carignan 2015, Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux (Oddbins £17.50)

Château Carignan has an extraordinary history; it was given to one of Joan of Arc’s right-hand men, Jean Poton de Xaintrailles. Today, fantastic, full-bodied reds are made in this Cadillac-based estate. This is a floral and fruit-forward wine yet with a decent amount of age adding a savoury undertone. Notes of damson, violet and black cherry are prominent, layered with flavours of sweet spice and cigar box. 

complex aromas of coffee grounds, soy and dried sour cherries with graphite, old leather, minty green herbs and sous bois; dark berry fruits, spiced plum cake, toasty oak and menthol with ripe, rounded and firm yet well-integrated tannins. Sleek, elegant and adept.

Very Good.

Match with roast beef or lamb with rosemary and garlic,

Château Pré Lalande, Cuvée Terracotta, 2016 Sainte-Foy Côtes de Bordeaux (Majestic £16.99 )

Based in the Sainte-Foy Côtes de Bordeaux appellation, biodynamic producer Château Pré Lalande have aptly named this wine ‘Teracotta’ for the vessel it is aged in. Matured in amphorae, this is a modern and approachable Merlot/ Cabernet Sauvignon blend.

dark berry fruits and inky graphite; vibrant ripe, juicy blackcurrant, blackberry and plum with cherries, pepper, coffee and savouriness; supple inky texture with very well-rounded and integrated tannins. Very harmonious.

Very Good.

Fresh and fruited, match with grilled meats or charcuterie.

Château Puygueraud 2018, Francs Côtes de Bordeaux (Laithwaites £14.99)

A blend of Merlot in majority with Cabernet Franc and a touch of Malbec, this is the top wine of Château Puygueraud. Fruit is sourced from the plateaus and the clay-limestone slopes overlooking the Francs Côtes de Bordeaux appellation.

Earthy with tobacco leaf, herb, liquorice and wild cherries; plush with ripe, slightly stewed blackberries, damsons and cherries; cocoa, spice and minerality; concentrated, with fine, slightly grippy tannins.

Improves with aeration and will repay some cellaring.


Match with rare roast beef.

More info on Côtes de Bordeaux: 

An epicentre of modern winemaking With significant innovation being implemented in wineries and vineyards across five diverse appellations, it’s time to discover the exciting and great value wines of the Côtes de Bordeaux.

Tucked away next to some of the most famous appellations in the world lies the fourth largest AOC in France. Côtes de Bordeaux may not be the first Bordeaux appellation to spring to mind, but it is a region on the rise, worthy of exploration.

Although the appellations are spread across the right bank of Bordeaux, they share similarly hilly landscapes, hence the name ‘Côtes.’

Created just 12 years ago in 2009, Côtes de Bordeaux is made up of five different appellations including Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux, Francs Côtes de Bordeaux, Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux, Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux and most recently, Sainte-Foy Côtes de Bordeaux which joined the group in 2016. 

The union of these great regions has created a dynamic and exciting larger area where modern, fruit-forward reds, refreshing whites and delicious sweet wines can be found. Around 10% of Bordeaux are wines are from Côtes de Bordeaux, which counts over 950 producers, many of whom are young winemakers producing modern style wines.

Each appellation has its own unique terroir and regulations producing an array of exquisite wine styles. Cadillac and Castillon are solely dedicated to making red wines, many of which are fruit-forward and approachable in their youth, while the Blaye appellation is renowned for both crisp, fresh whites made from Sauvignon Blanc & Sémillon and reds.

In Francs and Sainte-Foy, luscious sweet wine is also produced alongside the reds and dry whites. Discover the wines of this fascinating region with these 6 wines, each from a different Côtes de Bordeaux appellation.

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