OK, 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 preferences are the big leathery cabernet-dominated styles from Pauillac but if you prefer the softer, plummier styles then Pomerol is your boy. St Emillion 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.

Chateau 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.

Coop £17

Corney & Barrow, Margaux, 2016

Everything about this is understated but perhaps Corney’s need to shout about it a bit more. I first tried this last year and found it to be absolutely charming with cheeky raspberry fruits on the nose and dark plums and cedarwood on the palate.

Corney & Barrow £24.95

Gerard Richardson