Ch Brande-Bergère, Cuvée O’Byrne 2009 Bordeaux Supérieur


From €11.30, £15, CA$32.99. 

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I know that I am guilty of le Bordeaux bashing when it comes to the pricing policy of the more obdurate rump of the classed growths, but I am also on the record as maintaining that petits châteaux from great vintages such as 2010 and 2009 represent some of the very best value in the world of wine. (See, for example, The delights of Crus Bourgeois 2009, 2010 Crus Bourgeois impress and this 2011 wine of the week.)

Here is another example of a wine that is punching way above its price in terms of the pleasure delivered. Like all the 2009s, it is no shy retiring flower. It’s packed full of fruit and charm, but has that excellent Bordeaux quality of great balance and digestibility. It’s impressively concentrated and extremely satisfying with the tannins well in retreat and no very obvious oak. I particularly enjoyed the combination of richness on palate entry and freshness on exit. Sweet Merlot dominates this 13.5% blend but there is some structure too. I reckon it is definitely underpriced but I would drink it sooner rather than later – this year ideally.

Château Brande-Bergère is in the commune of Les Églisottes on the right bank. The estate was founded at the end of the 18th century by the O'Byrne family, who had left Ireland in the 17th century as wild geese. They became well known and prosperous, with one of them being a member of the Parliament of Bordeaux. When Richard O'Byrne, younger son of the family and a priest, happened to be in charge of the nearby church of Chamadelle, the O'Byrne family acquired a piece of land called Brande-Bergère for him. When the Dalibot family acquired Château Brande-Bergère in 1997 they decided to name their premium wine from older vines (and labelled Vieilles Vignes on the somewhat cluttered label) Cuvée O'Byrne in memory of the founders of the estate.

I should say that I deliberately ensured that I tasted the 2014 vintage last week and, while I gave the 2009 16.5 points, I felt the 2014 was worth only of 14.5.

This wine, which seems reasonably easy to find in magnum, is available from Huntsworth Wine of London W8 at £15 for a single bottle or £13.95 a bottle if you buy a dozen. According to, it’s also available in France and in British Columbia, Canada.

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