Downton Abbey Claret an inexpensive royal treat

Downton Abbey Claret an inexpensive royal treat

The show may be coming to a close, but the wine will be here for re-runs.


Who: Les Grands Chais De France Winery
What: 2012 Downton Abbey Bordeaux Claret
Where: French import
Why: Because the taste is suitable for royalty
How much: $14

Are you involved in the Downton Abbey craze? I enjoy the show and often binge watch the series once it's released on a streaming channel. I can't stand watching only on a weekly basis and having to wait to find out what happens. Did Bates really do it? Will Mary marry and who will marry Mary? Will Edith ever be happy for Christ's sake?

An internet search makes it clear many Downton fans are definitely hooked. We can find online instructions for hosting watch parties, a Pinterest page for DIY Downton accessories, blog discussions and, now, Downton Abbey wine. Not only can you watch the show, but can savor a glass of wine right along with Lord and Lady Grantham.

Making it more fun is that each bottle lists a character and description. This particular 2012 Bordeaux is titled "Revenge is Sweet" by John Bates. (So I have to ask again, did he really do it?) There is also mention of Mr. Carson decanting a bottle and we can be assured it is a fine French Bordeaux Claret.

Although Bordeaux is a city in France, it also refers to an entire wine-producing region located along France's Atlantic coast. This region gives us more sought-after expensive wines than any other region in the world. The natives of Bordeaux have been making wine for 2,000 years and know how to work the unique combination of climate and soil to grow superior grapes. The area is unable to grow much of anything else. Bordeaux boasts mostly red wines, but has a small white production, as well.

Due to the English inhabiting Bordeaux at one time and only a mere 450 miles separating the two locations, it seems fitting that Lord and Lady Grantham often make a toast with a Claret (the English name for Bordeaux wine). This is also authentic to the period. And, had they raised a glass of Downton Abbey Claret, I think they would have approved. This wine is not as heavy as many Bordeaux wines, but full-flavored just the same. Being 70% Merlot makes it smoother and silkier with an appealing purple color. It's lower in alcohol with a touch of black licorice taste that's detectable after it breathes for a few hours. I'm guessing Lady Grantham would have instructed the kitchen staff to pair this Claret with game or, when not entertaining, a hearty stew. And Mr. Carson would have taken great care and used a filter to remove the sediment present in the bottom of this bottle.

This Downton Abbey Claret falls on the lower end of pricing. The greatest Bordeaux wines start at $30 a bottle and can go up to $800. The more expensive are rare and aged, making up only about 3% of all red Bordeaux. With the Downton series being popular now, producers aren't willing to let the wine age and are pushing it out within two years, expecting the taste to decline within five years. And we know that the Downton Abbey series will be long gone by then since fans have been notified of the last season. Boo!

Don't be discouraged Downton fans. The Bordeaux Claret will be around for several years to enjoy with the series reruns. The only difference will be us knowing if Bates is guilty and who Mary decides to spend her life with … because if they leave me hanging, I will be forced to consume a great deal of Bordeaux Claret.