In terms of fine wine the words 'Bordeaux' and 'bargain' rarely get put into the same sentence. Everyone knows that in order to drink the premium wines of this region you will either need to be working in the wine industry, have a rich friend who serves such wines at dinner parties, or be that rich friend.
However, visiting Bordeaux for the 2012 en primeur tasting this April we discovered some truly epic wines, albeit minus the epic price tag. Jancis Robinson concurs stating that: "In general 2012 is offering much better value than any vintage since 2008. If you did want to buy a first growth, this is a vintage to consider since prices have come down but quality has not."
Even the most expensive 'Grand vin' available this year are so far, being priced reasonably. Sadly, these 'reasonable' prices won't translate as a 'bargain', to most people. That's where the Bordeaux 'second wines' and 'estate wines' come in. Produced by the same wine making team as the illustrious 'Grand vin', these wines are typically selected from younger vines and will receive less oak ageing, a further selection then takes place whereby wine in the barrel is designated as a second, third or potentially fourth wine. In the case of estate wines, they are produced from an entirely different vineyard but receive expert care and guidance from the same winemaking team.
The beauty of these wines is that often the grapes will still be of extremely high quality, and rigorous sorting will have taken place in order to eliminate anything unripe, or disease ridden. They will in some cases, still express elements of the same fabled expression of terroir asthe 'Grand vin', but perhaps not with same razor sharp precision. Thus offering the opportunity to fill your cellar with some illustrious wine at a fraction of the price.
Centuries of winemaking expertise from the world's most renowned wine region at reasonable prices that will age beautifully for 10 years - what more could you want?
The following wines are my recommendations from the 2012 vintage for the eager and discerning wine buyer to start a collection of Bordeaux but without having to book in an appointment with their local mortgage lender. All priced between £10 and £50 per bottle this cross section of wines which represent all the major appellations, will promise some exciting years of drinking ahead: