Lesser-known Bordeaux wines you'd be mad not to try
The Bordeaux region has a wine for every taste – and every budget – if you know where to look
Another part of the region which has seen a big hike in investment over the past decade or two is Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux.
Castillon goes without, so has never been able to command such lofty prices, for land or wine; but what it does have is a share of the same limestone ridge. It also has Stephan von Neipperg, an Errol Flynn lookalike (right down to the pencil moustache). He has owned Château d’Aiguilhe, the flagship estate of the Côtes de Castillon, since 1998. Its reds represent all that is special about this area: merlot gives them soft curves, cabernet franc a joyful, red berry and redcurrant leaf fragrance. In fact, the wines as a whole have a sumptuous, happy-go-lucky quality more often found in Pomerol than in St Emilion – and at far more affordable prices. Look out for the second wine of Château d’Aiguilhe, Seigneurs d’Aiguilhe.
Excellent value can be found in the other neighbouring Côtes de Bordeaux – in particular Francs (mainly from Ch Puygueraud, whose second wine, Chateau Lauriol, I mentioned last week).
There’s another area on this side of the estuary I sometimes like to look at and that’s Fronsac (and the superior Canon Fronsac). Unlike the other wines I’ve mentioned so far though, these do need a bit of explaining. Notable for their tannic undertow (they can be quite bitter on a bad day), these wines might be on the right bank but they appeal more to the more masochistic palate of the left-bank lover. I like them on a table – you know those times when you have a savoury dish that demands a wine with some mettle.