Tony Eklof, originally from New England, has settled in Clonakilty after a career as a librarian at University College Dublin. His knowledge and passion for wine has been inspired by frequent visits to the wine growing regions of the continent, particularly Italy and France.
No, we are not referring to spacecraft sent up from the famous capital of the Aquitaine, but rather sub-regions of the famous Bordeaux wine growing area in the southwest of France. You are probably familiar with the most famous Bordeaux appellations, Merlot based wines from St Emilion and Pomerol on the right bank of the Garonne River, and Cabernet dominated blends from the left bank Haut-Medoc, most notably the towns of Margaux, St-Julien, Pauillac, and St-Estephe. These wines can be among the most exquisite in all the world and are priced accordingly.
Bordeaux satellite regions are mostly found among the right bank appellations, particularly just outside of St-Emilion, ‘the loveliest and liveliest’ wine town in Bordeaux. In the past these wines were sold as Saint Emilion, but now must hyphenate St-Emilion to their particular growth areas, hence we have Puisseguin-Saint-Emilion, Montagne Saint-Emilion, and Lussac Saint-Emilion. These wines have the same excellent soft Merlot-based qualities as their more famous neighbour, and yet they never, in the words of expert Oz Clarke, ‘gain the perfume and sheer hedonistic richness of a really good St-Emilion’. Nevertheless, they have the advantage of maturing earlier so no need to wait a few years to drink them, and can represent excellent value. Lalande-de-Pomerol AC comes from just north of Pomerol, one of the most sought-after Bordeaux. Lighter and less-concentrated than classic Pomerol, but often a lovely attractive good value wine.
Cadillac-Cotes de Bordeaux is another of my favourite satellites. It overlooks the famous Graves region, and used to be more noted for its excellent slightly sweet white wine, but is more recently producing delicious juicy reds best consumed between two and three years old.
At the time of writing, LIDL has available for a limited period some wonderful examples of the Bordeaux satellite wines:
Chateau Fonguillon Montagne-Saint Emilion, 2015, 13.5pc
Chateau Fayan Puisseguin Saint-Emilion, 2017, 13pc
Chateau Sentout Lagrange, Cadillac Cotes de Bordeaux. 2017, 13pc *Star selection*
Chateau Haut-Plaisance, Montagne Saint Emilion, 2016. 13.5pc Gold Medal Winner, Paris, 2018
All of the above are priced between €10-€12
For that splurge, ‘the real thing!’ Go on, treat yourself. Amazing value Chateau Graves de Rabion, Saint-Emilion 2016. 14pc Gold Medal, 2016 90pc Merlot, 10pc Cabernet Franc. €12.99.
Pictured above: A wine estate in Cadillac, Cotes de Bordeaux