L’espirit de Bordeaux – affordable,quality French wine, what more could you ask for?
Affordable, quality French wine from Bordeaux? Does it exist anymore? Back in the day, say before investment wine-ing came into fashion and back when the Chinese were still Communist, Bordeaux was a wine that one could buy at reasonable prices. Fast forward to the 2010’s and it may seem like you have to be a gazillionaire to get your hands on quality wines, never mind affordable prices.
The Yvon Mau group has decided enough is enough and wants to bring Bordeaux in from the cold, show drinkers that you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg to drink well. And that’s where L’Espirt de Bordeaux comes in. Philippe Lequeche, managing director of Yvon Mau has vowed to “never surrender” the UK market. He thinks Bordeaux may have lost their way by focusing on the lux end of the market but the real bread and butter of Bordeaux has been and should be the mid-tier wines of the region.
Focusing on the £10-£30 bracket, Philippe believes that there are plenty of wines that can and do represent value for money from Bordeaux. How do you guarantee quality when there are so many, let’s face it, inferior producers in Bordeaux? Philippe responded that Yvon Mau is taking it’s time in choosing to work with what they feel are producers who agree with their vision of quality wines at a fair price. The company is taking the time to cultivate relationships with producers they feel have high quality wines and are looking for owners with personality whose wines reflect that.
They currently have 8 producers on their books but are looking to expand to around 15. When asked if they would expand beyond that, Phillipe responded that once you get too big, it’s difficult to maintain the quality and relationships that they are building with producers.
We had the opportunity to try the 2009 and 2010 wines from 7 of their producers and the wines are of very good quality and value for money. Producers that particularly stood out for me were the 2009 L’Autre de Sociando Mallet, Haut Medoc (£27.59), The 2009 Ch. Ducla Experience, Bordeaux Superior (£13.07), 2009 Jacques Boyd AC Margaux (£28.99) and the 2009 Val d’Or Saint-Emilion (£20.10). Each showing a distinctiveness of terroir and winemaker, and they were excellent with our lunch of braised duck.
The 2010’s were showing well but still tight on the palate and certainly do need a bit more time or perhaps decanting to be appreciated. The 2009’s will be available from early 2012. Based on the 2009’s that we sampled both before and with lunch, I think that L’Espirt de Bordeaux may just be what’s needed to shake up Bordeaux and bring them back into the modern wine drinkers house.
Is this the only affordable Bordeaux in the UK? Can’t be. If you know of any others, tell me in the comments section…