The dark art of declassified wine

De-classified wine is an oddity. It tends to be production that cannot be sold under the vineyards main label. This can be for several reasons, perhaps the vines are too young to make it into the grand vin. Perhaps,  in good years that there is over capacity and what’s left over is bottled under a different guise.

The steer that we are given is that the wine is made in the same caring manner as the main brew. It’s the same people with the same know how.

The châteaux do not like to publish that they are dumping the wine on the market by requesting the distributors keep quiet about its origin. However, the merchants like to drop little clues into their marketing blurb which can alert you to its true provenance.  

Is it worth it ?

I am just not sure. I have sampled 3 such wines. They all sell for about £16-£18 a bottle and promise much. 

The first is marketed as just Margaux 2006 from FYD. I little bit of digging around suggests it comes from Chateau Palmer, the venerable 3rd growth whose wines sell for  £120 a bottle.

On opening, the colour and clarity was extraordinary. It positively sparkled in the glass.  It certainly smelt like a grand vin but it was very thin with very little length.

Again from FVD, I purchased a magnum of their Paulliac 2006 for Christmas Day. It was a good wine but nothing special.  It came from the super second, Château Pichon Longueville Baron.

The third wine was a birthday gift from my father in law.  I think he bought it from Laithwaites and it is called L’Expression de Saint Julien 2007. Despite my best efforts I cannot work out which  Chateau this wine originates from.

The St Julien was the best of the three. I am conscious that 2007 was a poor vintage and wines were made for early consumption but it looked and tasted like something really special.

I am going to give the 2 other wines another few years to develop but at the moment I am fairly underwhelmed by the whole concept.


About Man et Vin

I am a 47 year old living in Nottingham. Maybe, like me, you have become disillusioned by the quality and variety of most wine that is sold in the UK. I am not anti supermarket or wine store but there must be more out there. Please join me on my journey to find decent good value wine. At the same time I want to find out more about storage, availablity and discover some of the lesser known wine growing areas. I have nothing to do with the wine industry, as it happens I am a middle manager in a financial services company.
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4 Responses to The dark art of declassified wine

  1. Mark says:

    Very interesting, what would these wines be worth if one was to sell them on in years to come?

    • Man et Vin says:


      it’s difficult to say. But it’s true to say that 2nd and 3rd wines of the great chateaux are all increasing in value as the top wines are now unaffordable to most.

  2. Mark says:

    Very interesting, i have purchased a few bottles of the Margaux, should probably lay them down for a while though despite wanting to taste immediately!

    • Man et Vin says:

      Hi Mark

      Just reading a decanter magazine and they rated Palmer to be the 3rd best bordeaux of the vintage. Drinking from 2013 onwards. I have 1 bottle left so i’ll need to be patient too.


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