Karl Marx himself preferred a glass of claret to the mug of tea affected by some of his recent converts.

Denis Healey

Okay, most of us will never be able to enjoy the first growths from Bordeaux, but you don't have to spend a grand on a bottle to realise that when it comes to Cabernet and Merlot blends, Bordeaux is still the region to beat.

It’s no surprise that the top wineries of the new world label their best cabernet-dominated efforts as Bordeaux blends. That said, you have to know where to shop because there are far more badgers' backsides than there are swans among the wines of the region.

There are five grapes allowed in a traditional claret, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, malbec and petit verdot, and so many ways to blend them that there really is a wine for every palate in Bordeaux.

My personal preferences are the big leathery cabernet-dominated styles from Pauillac, but if you prefer the softer plummier styles then Pomerol is your boy. Saint-Émilion still produces what I would call a traditional earthy style and they can be sublime and silky, but buyer beware because the poor versions can taste like wet cardboard. Ultimately Bordeaux is all about the restrained and subtle deployment of power, a bit like the typical male love interest in a Jane Austin novel and that’s what I love about them.

That said, not everyone likes to pour a novel into their glass, some people like their wines to be as obvious as a comic book and there's nothing wrong with that. Just bear in mind that claret comes cheap or it comes good so if you are going to give it a shot, aim for the best you can afford folks and definitely don't venture under a tenner!

Epping Forest Guardian:

Château Senejac, Haut Medoc 2016

This is just sublime with plums and tobacco on the nose leading into a blackberry dominated palate with hints of mint and sublime, soft tannins. I enjoyed this recently with a cheese platter and to be honest, it was simply exceptional with the oak aged cheddar.

Co-Op £17

Epping Forest Guardian:

Good Ordinary Claret, 2017

This was my first love from the region and it’s just as delicious now. Cassis and oak on the nose with soft red fruits and silky tannins on the palate. Its a great all rounder with food but I've found its particularly good with lamb dishes.

Berry Bros & Rudd £11.95