Uncorked: What Bordeaux should I order in a restaurant?


So you can identify your Bordeaux from your Beaujolais, and now you want to test your expertise – and impress your friends – in a restaurant.

Bordeaux is generally considered the world capital of wine, but navigating its many appellations, grapes and vintages can turn even the most discerning wine buff into a wine bluff.

Luckily, our gurus at Independent Wine Club have the answers.

Q. What Bordeaux should you choose in a restaurant?

A. Most oenophiles have heard of the illustrious wines from Bordeaux, but choosing from the myriad chateaux and vintages whilst at a restaurant is no easy task.

As a starting point, I’d always recommend buying the earlier drinking/less concentrated/cooler vintages in restaurants as they will be drinking more openly now and for less money. Currently it’s well-worth considering wines from 2004, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2017.

The richer, more powerful, more structured and more expensive vintages are the ones for the cellar, so they mature into their price. Examples include 2005, 2010, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Unless buying at the petit chateau or cru Bourgeois level (ask the sommelier if unsure), wines from these vintages will be too young and too expensive to be worth buying in restaurants.

Consequently you can get some excellent deals in restaurants on older back vintages from less-vaunted estates… remember, it doesn’t have to be Grand Cru Classe to be a great wine!

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Got a question for the wine gurus? Send it to hannah.twiggs1@independent.co.uk or tweet @hannah_twiggs.