With their own suites of indigenous wines, Spain and Italy are seldom happy hunting grounds for Bordeauxphiles. Nevertheless, there are exceptions to the rule.
Barcelona’s Monvinic is a vinous treasure trove, with an ever-changing inventory of wines, many of which are sold by the glass. It carries an extensive selection of Bordeaux, including around 40 sweeties and more than 100 reds. A bottle of Château Climens, Barsac 1CC 2008 will set you back €138, while a simpler Château du Vieux Moulin, Loupiac from the same vintage clocks in at a wallet-pleasing €35.
On the other side of northern Spain, Rekondo in San Sebastián has a cellar widely acknowledged to be among the best in the world. The list changes frequently, but there are often short verticals from classic properties. Château Le Pin, Pomerol currently features prominently, with the 1991 on at €1,650 and the 2008 €1,390.
Italy’s La Ciau del Tornavento in Treiso has an 1,800-bin list and an amazing range of Bordeaux, including a vertical of Yquem going back as far as 1967 (€3,000) and well-aged reds, including a Clos Fourtet, St-Emilion 1GCC 1949 (€800).
Switzerland & Germany
Before leaving Europe, mention should be made of Switzerland’s Weinkeller Farnsburg near Basel, which has a cellar with more than 800 Bordeaux references, and southwest Germany’s Franz Keller, with well over 1,000 references, including a vast line-up of magnums.
Now, you’re going to have to look hard if you want to find decent Bordeaux in Africa or the Middle East.
Should you find yourself in desperate need of a bottle of cru classé while in Paarl, South Africa, ask for the owner’s cellar menu at Noop, where you can enjoy a small selection of top-end bottlings. Or head to Cape Town’s Aubergine for a small but well-formed list starting at ZAR695 for a Côtes de Bordeaux.
Meanwhile, over in Dubai, Bordeaux is a popular choice for reds by glass at Zuma – the current option is Château Talbot, St-Julien 4CC 2000 (AED756 for a 175ml glass), although you could enjoy a whole bottle of Château Potensac, Médoc 2010 for only a little more (AED860).
Surprisingly, given the high volume of Bordeaux sales in Asia, it’s challenging to find a diverse offering in restaurants. Exceptions can be found in Hong Kong, where Les Quinze Vins outlets in Central (+852 2652 0588) and Wanchai feature a wide selection of reds, many with some age. If you’re feeling flush, you could splash out on a magnum of Château Latour 1926 (HK$40,000), but if you’re on a budget Château Chasse-Spleen, Moulis-en-Médoc 1998 at HK$785 might be a better bet.
Shanghai has plenty of glossy outlets where you can drink endless rivers of premiers crus classés, but more adventurous drinkers should head for Wine Universe by Little Somms, on Yuyuan Lu (+86 21 5298 6130), where the choice of bottles is on constant rotation. There’s always a dozen or so Bordeaux by the glass, starting at around RMB170. There’s a similar informality at Singapore’s Praelum, where the 35 bins, are a mixture of petits châteaux and top names.
If you really want to blow the budget, though, join the high rollers in Macau, where two of the top hotel restaurants, Alain Ducasse’s Morpheus and the Altira’s Aurora each sells an astounding vertical of firstgrowths. Morpheus offers Château Mouton Rothschild 1945-2009 for MOP3,000,000 while Aurora focuses on Château Latour 1945-2005 for MOP1,300,000.
The final stop on your world tour of Bordeaux-friendly restaurants should be Australia. Sydney’s Felix dishes up straightforward brasserie food and an extraordinary list including an outstanding range of French wines. There are decent blancs, including Château Suduiraut’s Blanc Sec 2016 at A$135, plus four pages of reds, with a strong selection of bottlings from satellite APs, such as Château le Puy, Emilien, Francs Côtes de Bordeaux 2015 at A$48 for a glass or A$225 per bottle.
If you were ever in doubt about Bordeaux’s ability to pair with Asian food, visit Ferment Asian in the Barossa, where the splendid assortment of aged Bordeaux includes Cheval Blanc 1945 for A$5,500 and Lafite Rothschild 1924 at A$3,300.
Best for value: Melbourne’s Bistro Thierry channels the relaxed vibe of a Parisian brasserie. A miscellany of Bordeaux kicking off at A$75 for a Château Picoron, Castillon 2014 helps conjure up that Gallic sense of place.
Kiwi wine merchant Maison Vauron offers its entire list of Bordeaux imports at its L’Atelier du Fromage in Auckland. A NZ$10 corkage charge allows you to choose from more than 150 Bordeaux, starting at NZ$18 for a Croix de Marsan Rouge 2017.