In the Middle Ages, the Bordeaux region used to ship its wine to Great Britain where it was very popular. Because of its pale red hue, the British called it "French Claret", i.e. the "clear French wine", or even "Clairet Français". The Bordeaux Clairet appellation therefore perpetuates an old tradition for light red wines. Bordeaux Clairet
wine is unusual in that it is not a geographically-defined appellation, and comes from the Bordeaux appellations’ wine producing areas. The appellation’s declared 700 hectares permit an annual production of around 40,000 hectolitres of wine.
Like all red wines from the Bordeaux appellation, Bordeaux Clairet is a blend. The Merlot is often the dominant variety, in order to produce wines with a fruitier, more aromatic character. Midway between a red and rosé wine, Bordeaux Clairets are light, fresh, fruity and very aromatic, in keeping with the tradition of the first Bordeaux wines exported to the UK. Bordeaux Clairet wines are, nonetheless, Bordeaux wines in their own right. As such, they are subject to the same production quality requirements as other red wines: controlled yields (55 hl / ha maximum), chemical analysis and a tasting before official approval. Domaines such as Château de Lisennes, Château Penin and Château Turcaud produce good, reliable Bordeaux Clairets.
On the palate, Bordeaux Clairet wines are fresh, light and velvety, with a light tannin structure. They are easy-drinking wines that can be enjoyed when young and are popular in summer when they are the perfect choice for picnics and barbecues.