Berry Bros & Rudd Good Ordinary Claret 2005
I have no idea how many millions of bottles of 'Good Ordinary Claret' have been sold in the 30 years since it was launched. It has been the stock 'house wine' of thousands of loyal customers, who must have been shocked to the core when Berry's recently announced that after many years the wine was to be sourced from a new supplier. Step up the house of Dourthe, the large negociant in Bordeaux that also owns Châteaux Belgrave and La Garde, as well as co-owning Clos de los Siete in Argentina. Berry's say the new wine was selected after "extensive blind tastings," and that it is "a discernible step up in quality." From the fine 2005 vintage and the blend dominated by Merlot, this has excellent, typical aromas of ripe berry fruits, cedar and a hint of game and truffly vegetation. On the palate it is silky and medium-bodied, with a very refined palate showing plenty of black fruit, but also tight-grained, polished tannins, a deal of spice and tobacco and crisp, refreshing acidity. Very good "everyday" Bordeaux, and what a bonus that it is also available in handy half-bottles and magnums. £7.20, or £6.48 by the case, Berry Bros & Rudd (half bottles are £3.78 by the case, magnums are £13.50 by the case).