£20.95 / £19.25, Lea & Sandeman
The 2011 vintage in Bordeaux tends to be dismissed with faint praise – if that. Certainly, it was uneven and not a patch on 2009 or 2010, but some good wines were produced by the right people in the right place. Some very good. Step forward Château Puygueraud, made by Nicolas Thienpont in the tiny (by Bordeaux standards) northeastern appellation of Francs Côtes de Bordeaux (previously Côtes de Franc).
The 2011 – Merlot with 20% Cabernet Franc and a smidge of Malbec – is absolutely perfect now: approachable, mellow and full of charm, with generous mulberry and blackcurrant fruit, cedary spice and graphite notes and easy tannins. If you drink claret or want to give it at Christmas, then this is spot on. Otherwise, feed it something like a herb-crusted roast rack of lamb, roast beef (hot or cold), parmentier de canard or some mushrooms. 14%
Château Puygueraud 2011, Francs Côtes de Bordeaux, France
£20.95, or £19.25 in any 12-bottle mix, Lea & Sandeman