St Emilion Bordeaux Wine Review

We’ve got 5 right bank Bordeaux wines from Aldi, Waitrose, Lidl, Tesco and Sainsburys. Now all we have to do is blind taste them against each other, to find out which is the best.

Bordeaux wine tasting group

St Emilion Bordeaux...

One of the simplest things you learn when you’re growing up is the difference between right and left. The same can be said when you’re learning about Bordeaux wine, specifically the differences between the left bank and the right bank of the Gironde estuary. In a nutshell the wines from the left bank are made predominantly with Cabernet Sauvignon and those from the right are predominantly Merlot based. This makes ‘Bordeaux’ much more complex and variable than many French wine regions.

Today we are drinking wines with a Merlot weighting from the right bank, specifically the area of St Emilion. Some of the wines may also contain some Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot as well as a couple of other permitted grape varieties.

So why is merlot on the right bank?

Well the answer is everything to do with the local terroir, the soil type in St Emilion is clay and chalk which doesn’t retain enough temperature to reliably ripen Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. learn more about cabernet sauvignon

Merlot is a much softer grape than Cab Sav, the tannins are more approachable and consequently the wine is generally easier to drink when it’s younger. The more youthful of these are often sold in supermarkets at a more affordable price. They maybe a far cry from the most famous vineyard in the region namely Cheval Blanc, but are St Emilion wines at supermarket prices any good at all? Having had the opportunity to taste my way through some of the great older vintages, I’m eager to find out.

(slight confession, the Chateau Pey La Tour, is actually from the Entre Deux Mer region but retained its place in the tasting due to it being predominantly Merlot led).

Classic flavours that are associated with right bank Bordeaux  are…

  • Violet
  • Plum
  • Blackcurrent
  • Cedar
  • Graphite

As per the wine hack blind tasting rules all the bottles were fully covered so no one knew which they were tasting or in what order.  So how did the wines compare?

Bordeaux wine tasting glass

Wine

Smell

Taste

Finish

Rating

Price

winehack gold award

Smell a rustic market, slight whiff of tobacco

Taste dark berries with a slight acidic edge but rounded

Finish sweet on the finish with a tannic tail end

Rating 7.5/10

£9

Buy this if… you want a good value St Emilion which delivers deep dark fruit in a rounded package.  There wasn’t much in it at all between this and the Aldi offering, but with the lower price tag this is the best Bordeaux for your buck!

winehack silver award

Smell cassis, burnt oak, touch of vanilla

Taste rustic in the way of a good gite, a touch thinner on the palate

Finish well rounded tannins with good length

Rating 7/10

£10.99

Buy this if… you want a marginally lighter body that the Roc De Lussac, but still with lots of deep flavour.   There was a hair’s width between them and the team really enjoyed the Chateau Peymouton, so hopefully you will too  

3rd

Smell spice and mince pie

Taste lighter on the taste and initially rounded but dryness quickly sneaks up

Finish a little bitterness on the finish but peters away quite quickly

Rating 6/10

£9

Buy this if… you want something a little drier and a hint of spice.  Still an enjoyable bottle for the price

4th

Smell big fruity pillow, dark fruits, hint of chocolate

Taste mellow fruit, subtle, hint of leaded petrol

Finish sharpens slightly on the finish but still quite soft, lingers

Rating 6/10

£10.99

Buy this if… you want a bottle which is more subtle on the palate and which offers a pleasant softness.  This scored almost identically to the Tesco offering so again a solid option

5th

Smell lighter on the nose and sharper.  Toffee, light oak, and a hint of  nail polish

Taste again lighter with more acidity.  Blackcurrant present including the stalks

Finish shorter and dry acidity persists.  You can taste the alcohol

Rating 4/10

£10.69

Buy this if… you want something a bit different from the rest, lighter with a lot more acidity.  For the money the team were a bit disappointed and we’d definitely plump for one of the others

With thanks to our 3 guest tasters Catherine, Nick and Andrea who joined the winehack team for the latest blind tasting

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Jay

    I know nothing about red wine, so I bought the St Emilion to go with a beef casserole I was making for some friends. We all agreed it was the perfect choice.
    Thank you

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