Bordeaux's warm wines for winter

At this time of year, with warming casseroles and hearty stews on the menu, we crave full bodied reds, such as Bordeaux.

Bordeaux is probably the most important wine city in the world. Located in the south west of France, the area is dominated by the Rivers Garonne and Dordogne, which help to regulate the air temperature around the vines.

The main red grape varieties grown in Bordeaux are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Cabernet Sauvignon is the classic grape variety of Bordeaux, accounting for around 30 per cent of the area under vines. In many Medoc wines, it is around three-quarters of the blend. This gives structure to the wine and donates a cassis or blackcurrant aroma. Merlot adds body to the blend. It matures earlier and improves the wine's balance. Cabernet Franc, a relatively high yielding grape, has less body and finesse and is usually used in small quantities.

Bordeaux not only produces some of the finest and most expensive wines in the world, but also affordable everyday drinking gluggers. Something for everyone then, and very seasonal.

Alan Johnson is managing director of Elegusto Wines



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