Majestic: Chateau Herve Laroque Fronsac 2014 – £14.99 or £11.99 via “Mix Six”
I bought this wine, along with a few others, in a quest to find a good value Bordeaux to use at my next wine tasting. Is it that difficult I hear you say. Well yes! Those of you who have read my previous blog posts on this high-profile region know about my gripe with mediocrity of the cheaper (read: affordable) Bordeaux that finds its way into UK supermarkets, in particular. Sure – it’s not the easiest region in which to grow grapes with that maritime climate and frequent rain annoyingly around harvest – but too many times I find thin, watery examples clearly made with unripe grapes with harsh tannins. Not a great advert for people wanting to dip their toe into one of the world’s greatest and most famous wine regions for under £20 a bottle.
Rant over. This wine hits the spot for me as there’s a decent amount of flavour but it’s not over the top in terms of body – it’s pretty elegant. There’s a whack of intense red cherry, a hint of plum and a lick of perfumed blackberries which meld nicely with the slight spiciness of the secondary flavours (those that come from the wine’s time in barrel, for example). It’s a little bit toasty, in a good way, and there’s a bit of vanilla and cardamom going down. It’s a very drinkable wine, really well balanced with fine, ripe tannins which don’t dominate the palate.
This wine is from Fronsac, an appellation on Bordeaux’s right bank and downstream (further north) from the famous Pomerol and St Emilion areas. Unsurprisingly, with neighbours like these hogging the limelight, prices in Fronsac tend to be far more affordable. Akin to Pomerol and St Emilion, the fruit forward Merlot grape is king here – rather than the more austere Cabernet Sauvignon which rules the left bank – and can produce easy going, earlier drinking wines like this one.
At a glance
- Style? Medium to full bodied red wine
- Where is it from? Right bank Bordeaux, France
- What’s the grape? 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc & 5% Cabernet Sauvignon
- Tastes of? Red cherries, blackberries and a bit of toasty oak
- What food would complement it? A hearty dish of pasta, risotto or a shepherds pie, for example. We had it with Pearl Barley Risotto with Shiitake Mushrooms & Butternut Squash
Other Bordeaux to try: