Drive the D2 route 35 miles north of Bordeaux through the Médoc region, and you pass the stone gateposts, seas of vines and noble buildings of the Left Bank’s most celebrated châteaux.
In the Margaux appellation, a colonnade of trees leads to Palladian-style Château Margaux. Further north in St-Julien, waving flags fly atop Château Ducru-Beaucaillou.
A domed stone pigeon house amid the vines signals Château Latour in Pauillac, while Château Lafite Rothschild appears just before the road curves towards St-Estèphe and the pagoda-like turrets of Château Cos d’Estournel.
Famous estates give the Médoc’s four most important appellations their reputation for great wines sold at astronomical prices. But lurking in the same postcodes are less well- known properties whose wines cost less than they should, based on their quality.
Scroll down to see tasting notes and scores for Elin McCoy’s top-value Médoc wines
For those estates, prices and reputation haven’t caught up with recent improvements brought about by a new owner with plenty of cash, a dynamic wine consultant, or a shift to organic viticulture.
Others languished because the wines were only available in one or two markets and not much was tasted until recently. And at some once-sleepy châteaux, a new, more ambitious generation has just taken the helm.
All of them offer undervalued wines for savvy buyers willing to look beyond the big names.