|Premius (France) Bordeaux Rouge 2001
It has to be said that a lot of "branded" Bordeaux is rather lacklustre stuff; the mass-production labels of big negociants that tend to be dry and fruity, but without much to disntinguish them. This wine comes from the house of Yvonne Mau, whose Château Prieullac estate I visited in 2002. Mau have put in place a "club" of over 80 small producers in the Bordeaux area to create the Premius range, and they are working closely with them on all aspects of their operations, from vineyard to winery, to improve quality and consistency. The red outcome of this partnership is a Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc blend (60%/35%/5%), aged for six months in new oak. The charry, toasty depth of the nose is immediately obvious, with spice, cedar and tobacco layered over soft red fruits. On the palate that toasty, vanilla-edged character continues, with lots of coffeeish flavour and tannins supporting cherry and raspberry fruit. There is a darker, blackurranty note, but then that mellow warmth of earthy red fruit and spiciness sweeps through. The finish is quite robust, with good tannins and sufficient balancing acidity. There is plenty of character here, and this is decent value at full price, but I spotted it as part of Tesco's current Wine Fair, down to £4.69, which is a definite bargain. £6.49. Tesco, Unwins.