The masters of merlot

Leave your expensive clarets in the cellar and crack on with this terrific wine, says Matthew Jukes.

2015 Château Brisson, Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux, France 

£18.50, bottle; £9.95, half bottle; £35, magnum from Davy’s Wine Merchants, 020-8858 6011,

Three bottles this week, all filled with the same wine. It is very rare to find such a generous, ripe and affordable claret that is available in half bottle, bottle and also magnum format. I did a genuine double take when, steaming through a raft of dreary samples, this wine popped its head up. There is nothing to suggest on the label that this 85% merlot, 15% cabernet sauvignon blend would be anywhere near as exciting as it tastes. There were two clues which might have triggered my interest; the superb, full-flavoured 2015 vintage and the Castillon region on the Right Bank of Bordeaux, which I am, secretly, very keen on.  

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The wines from this historic part of Bordeaux often have amazing depth of fruit and nobility, but without the hefty price tags of the wines from the nearby regions of Pomerol and Saint-Emilion. But the key piece of info, which I wasn’t aware of, was that this wine is made by the highly respected Valades family, who have a reputation for being masters of merlot. They have owned Brisson and also Le Peyrat since 1878 and today Paul and his son Cédric work their magic at these superb estates. 

Brisson is only five years old but it is bursting with ripe, fruits-of-the-forest notes and there is a glossy, slickness to the palate which I adore. Leave your expensive clarets in the cellar and crack on with this terrific wine because it is sure to put a smile on your face.

• Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (




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