Someone who did not identify him or herself emailed me recently to say:
Marks & Spencer's Bordeaux Merlot 2003 at £4.99 is the best affordable bordeaux I've drunk in aeons. Try!
So I did and was most impressed by how amazingly 2003-like the current vintage of this wine is. It's very rich and full with dry, dusty tannins underneath – a triumph for vintage expression which one does not usually find at this price level. In my experience most supermarket or branded bottlings of AC Bordeaux are all too similar year in, year out. This particular wine was supplied by Bordeaux merchants Sichel, by the way, and M&S expect to move on to the 2004, which will presumably be an entirely different kettle of fish, at the end of may 05. I can fully recommend this wine for drinking any time this year.
Thanks for the recommendation, whoever you are.