Joseph Barnes Wines; I had reviewed a series of wines for the Good Food Would Choose Bordeaux Campaign and found a number of them to be rather underwhelming, so began compiling a list of good Bordeaux from local independents around Cambridge as alternatives.
Charles kindly gave me a half bottle of this Ch La Claymore as his recommended "everyday Bordeaux" to try - according to Charles' website, the name of the estate is an apparent reference to the big sword (Claimh mhor) of the Scottish Highlanders who invaded the region in 1370.
Lussac St-Emilion is a lesser, satellite region of the right-bank area of St Emilion. At this price level, that's no bad thing, actually.
The right bank is mainly Merlot dominated, meaning generally softer, quicker-maturing wines, with aromas of plums and coffee.
Purple in the glass, there are touches of brick red age; immediately on first pouring, there is mostly oakiness on the nose and it is initially a little lacking in fruit; however, this all changes after around 30 minutes.
With time and air, there is dark cherry fruit and developed oaky aromas on the nose, with touches of spice.
The palate shows lovely bramble and black cherry fruit, a touch of pencil shavings and coffee grounds.
At five years old now, it is showing nicely developed secondary aromas, but will also keep for a little longer - a note that a standard sized bottle will generally age more slowly, all other things being equal.
Good acidity, with a supple and mouthfillling texture; perfectly ripe tannins and nicely balanced finish. Extremely well made indeed.
Continues to improve with some air - resealed and sampled the next day, it is better again, so don't be afraid to decant for a while before serving.
Match with slow-cooked, plain roast beef or roast duck.
£16.99 per full-size bottle; provided for review.
Joseph Barnes Wines - http://www.josephbarneswines.com/home.aspx