Why Bordeaux? Not a question wine lovers from previous generations would have thought to ask. After all, Bordeaux, or claret, defined wine, was wine. Qualitative, restorative, reassuring. By the jug, by the glass or painstakingly decanted. To quaff, to contemplate, never to trifle with. Wholesome, hearty, essentially vinous.
What’s changed? Every day a new brand is born from vineyards that now lounge some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes. The ‘old’ and ‘new’ wine worlds eye each other enviously, emulate, mirror, sometimes mock, often mime. The choice is both stimulating and exhausting. Hot and bothered, choosing a wine today can be a moment of panic, flurried and florid, faced as we are by shelves bursting with bottles and boxes, ever brighter, ever cheaper.
By contrast, Bordeaux calms. Bordeaux refreshes. It offers respite just as it reinvigorates.
Why Bordeaux? Perhaps because it remains essentially true to its origins, its varieties, its climate. Whilst a slave to Nature and a minutely defined appellation system, Bordeaux nevertheless remains the master of blends and vintages.
Perhaps because it continues to offer such delicious diversity. Fragrant modernity (Chateau Haut-Canteloup; tangy, floral, personal, the Jo Malone of white wine) meets elegant, timeless classics (Pindefleurs Saint Emilion Grand Cru; sumptuously purple and young, its youth calmed with food, its longevity guaranteed by its fresh core).
Or perhaps because amongst claret lovers like us, there is a genuine belief, first held by the Romans, that what comes from vines planted on the right and left banks of the Gironde, Garonne and Dordogne rivers, slakes thirst, satisfies desire, feeds both conversation and the soul and is fit for all tables, all friends, all family, all occasions.