In a nutshell: A stylish, elegant version of a classic left bank Bordeaux red.
The lowdown: Gravelly and flinty vineyards overlooking the northern end of the Gironde estuary surrounding the town of Bégadan supply the fruit that goes into this ripe and appealing Cru Bourgeois claret. In this part of Bordeaux Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant grape variety and forms around 70% of this blend with the remainder being mostly Merlot. After fermentation the wine spends 12 months in oak barriques (25% being new oak) which gives the finished wine supple and mature tannins, hence a good backbone and structure to balance its welcoming softness and ripe fruitiness. It's full of bold blackcurrant, cherry and chocolate flavours which fill the palate and lead onto a warm and lingering finish.
When to drink: A modern take on a traditional Bordeaux, it's very versatile and great with stews, casseroles, roast beef or lamb, pates and mature cheeses.
Philippe Berard, the owner of the estate bearing his name, comes from a family who have lived and worked in the Médoc region of Bordeaux for several centuries and he cam lay claim to being a true sone of the soil here. The current estate was created in 1908 by Philippe's great grandfather and was handed on through the generations with Philippe taking over in 1965 at the tender age of 18.
Until 1990 their production went to the local cooperative in Bégadan but since then, with the growth of the vineyard area to some 40 hectares he took the step to making and selling his own wine which he has achieved with no little success. Today they make three cuvées led by the excellent Cru Bourgeois Château des Cabans.