Château Prince Noir (France) 2006
Just as wine collectors are mulling over the proposition of whether or not to buy Bordeaux's latest vintage 'en primeur', here's an inexpensive Bordeaux red from 2006 that has its own story to tell. I met up with vigneronne Alexandra Martet in Bordeaux, to hear about her estate, which is one of three which are the first wine estates in the world to be accredited by an organisation called LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming), whose charter is all about sustainability and caring for the environment. For LEAF accreditation not only must vines be farmed with minimal herbacides and pesticides, but there's a tranche of measures to protect the fauna and flora of the vineyard, to recycle waste water and materials, and to develop a diverse and balanced ecosystem around the vineyard. The wine itself is 40% merlot and 30% each of Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc, aged in new American oak. That gives it a decidedly plump, luscious vanillin appeal, with very ripe and rich berry fruits and a palate that is creamy and warm, with tobacco and chocolate notes and just enough structure to maintain a food-friendly edge. Lovely stuff. £5.12, Asda.