Ronan by Clinet
In the hunt for ultra-affordable, good-value drinking in Bordeaux, there are perhaps two alternative avenues to explore. The first is to find a domaine run by an enthusiastic viticulteur where the prices are constrained by a less prestigious appellation, perhaps in a St Emilion satellite, one of the Côtes de Bordeaux such as Francs, Bourg or Castillon, or even the very peripheries, in the Entre-Deux-Mers or the generic Bordeaux appellations. It can be a rather tiresome search though; although there are some super domaines turning out wines of great quality and value, such as Château Bauduc or Château de Parenchère, if you go in blind you can find yourself sorting through a lot of chaff to find the wheat.
The second option is to go straight to a familiar name, in a famous appellation, and their generic Bordeaux project. With thousands of hectares of Merlot (the most widely planted of all red varieties in Bordeaux) to choose from, several names – especially on the right bank – have developed wines taking advantage of this broad supply of fruit. Some of the best-known include Jean-Luc Thunevin and Bad Boy, and Esprit de Pavie, made by Laurent Lusseau of Château Pavie. One more name to add to this shortlist, now working from some of the most impressive facilities in all Bordeaux, is Ronan Laborde of Château Clinet in Pomerol.