I LOVE autumn and the run up to Christmas because it’s traditionally the season for all the great nostalgic wines of port, madeira, sherry and, of course, claret. I know I spend a bit of time ribbing our garlic-eating neighbours but when it comes to claret-style wines they really are peerless.

Before anyone gets uppity about that last line, yeah, I know, there are some wines from Bordeaux that are as rough as a badger's backside but, to be honest, if you spend £6 or under on a French wine, you deserve to have a badger winking at you.

When you move into the mid and high quality wines, though, they can be sublime. There are blended variations of cabernet, merlot, petit verdot etc all over the world and I'm a big fan, but the French ones come with something I adore: tannins. Yes, tannin, that dry tasting, tooth lining plant extract that adds real class if the winemakers gets in balance with the fruit.

Each region of Bordeaux blends their grapes in different measures, and some of them favour one grape in particular as is the case with Pauillac where cabernet is the king or pomerol whose crown prince is merlot and that's what makes the region so interesting. That and, of course, the North European weather and the variations of sunshine which means every vintage literally can taste different. unlike much of Australia's production for example.

So, there you have it, Bordeaux really is like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates and this is definitely the season to give it go.

The Wine Society Claret

Is there anything more reassuring than the Wine Society claret? It’s just sublime for the price with soft plummy fruit, smooth but evident tannins and a nice mellow finish. It’s like a hug in a glass.

The Wine Society £7.50

La Reserve de Leoville Barton

Yeah, I know it’s a few bob but this is a world class wine, as is anything I've ever tasted under the Barton label. Slightly toasty on the nose with really classy dark autumn fruits and a hint of mint on the finish.

Pop Wines Glasgow £45