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'Downton Abbey' Bordeaux Clarets and Whites to Launch

'Downton Abbey' Bordeaux Clarets and Whites to Launch

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Sip on a glass of Downton Bordeaux during the PBS premiere

Bottles of Bordeaux fit for the Downton aristocrats will hit the market in time for your January 2014 premiere party.

Even the Dowager Countess of Grantham won’t be able to utter a single remark after a sip of the wine she and her family inspired.

Fox News reports that Wines That Rock – the producers of Grateful Dead, the Rolling Stones, and Pink Floyd wine brands – have teamed up with Dulong Grands Vins de Bordeaux to create a line of Downton Abbey-themed wines. The PBS show will give its name to a vintage wine collection of Bordeaux clarets and whites, a popular import from France by the British aristocracy in the early 1900s. These recreated wines are grown from the same grapes, vines, and soil as the era depicted on the show.

In a press release, co-Owner of Wines That Rock Bill Zysblat says, “[The Dulong Grands Vins de Bordeaux vineyards] have over 130 years of experience in creating the world’s best wines, so these wines are wines the Crawley family would have been proud to serve at Downton.”

The wines will be sold by the bottle and also as packaged gifts. They will be available through distributors in the U.S. and Canada, just in time for your premiere party of season four in January 2014.

Debut ɽownton Abbey' wines are fit for a lord

In no other scripted TV series does wine figure so prominently as in “Downton Abbey.” In just about every episode, Carson the butler and his staff can be seen taking stock of, decanting or pouring the evening’s wines for Lord Grantham and other members of the Crawley family and their guests. Wine, undoubtedly good wine, is the social lubricant, helping the family celebrate its triumphs and easing it through its tribulations.

With that in mind, Ron Roy and his partners saw an opportunity. Why not create a line of “Downton Abbey” wines? Their company, Wines that Rock, had already successfully blended wine with a rock music theme, creating such California brands as Grateful Dead Wine, Rolling Stones’ Forty Licks Merlot, Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon Cabernet Sauvignon and The Police’s Synchronicity.

Like those legendary groups, “Downton Abbey” quickly became a global phenomenon. As the company thought about going beyond music and tapping into other parts of pop culture, “‘Downton Abbey’ was a no-brainer,” Roy told “Wine plays a really important part of the experience of ‘Downton Abbey,’ so that was our aha moment.” The company was able to negotiate a licensing deal with NBCUniversal, the owner of Carnival Films, which produces “Downton Abbey.”

That was a year or so ago. The first wines will be released next Wednesday, two months before the start of Season 4 of “Downton Abbey” on January 5. (The original release date was on Nov. 1, but the recent government shutdown delayed the approval process at the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.)

And the choices? There is no question that back in Edwardian England, Carson and his staff would have served French wine with an emphasis on Bordeaux, and that is what fans will be offered under the Downton Abbey label. “We wanted to stay authentic to the period and what was being served at the time,” Roy said.

While Bordeaux has become wildly popular in China, where it is considered a status symbol, it has a somewhat stodgy image in this country and has struggled in recent years, even though it is still the world’s most famous wine name. Yet I wouldn’t be surprised if these particular wines, with the brand and its marketing muscle, do very well. Priced at $15, there is a white, the 2012 Downton Abbey Blanc Bordeaux, and a red, the 2012 Downton Abbey Claret Bordeaux (claret is the British nickname for red Bordeaux). Some 15,000 cases have been imported to the United States.

“Bordeaux” is the broadest and most common of the region’s appellations, and these wines are from the large -- and largely undistinguished – Entre-Deux-Mers area within Bordeaux. That said, there are good wines to be found there, and I would put the Downton Abbey white among them with its easy-drinking, low-alcohol style with notes of green apple, citrus, herbs, a creamy finish and an interesting touch of black licorice. It’s a blend of 70 percent muscadelle and 30 percent semillon. Lady Grantham might have considered it with a first course of raw oysters.

The red is really too young to appreciate fully at this point. A blend of 70 percent merlot, 25 percent cabernet sauvignon and five percent malbec, its firm tannic structure is something I always like about Bordeaux (it’s usually missing in California wines at this price) but the pretty red and dark berry fruit notes are very much in the background right now. It needs six months to a year of bottle age (alternatively, try opening it and letting it breathe for a few hours before pouring it).

That said, you may well enjoy it as you sit back with a glass and settle into “Downton Abbey.” And that’s the goal. As Roy put it, “When you go to a Rolling Stones concert you wear a Rolling Stones T-shirt.” While Lord Grantham might sniff at these inexpensive Bordeaux as wines for the masses, preferring more prestigious Bordeaux appellations such as Pauillac or Pomerol, the new wines will give Americans in love with the series the chance to drink, at least in spirit, as the Crawleys did at those grand dinners in Downton Abbey.

Downton Abbey wine to be released

Downton Abbey has inspired many things: tourist attractions, spin off-parody shows, even a clothing line. So it's not a surprise to hear that the PBS hit has spawned a line of wine.

The folks at Wines That Rock --who produce Grateful Dead, the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd-branded wine -- have teamed up with Dulong Grands Vins de Bordeaux to create a ‘vintage’ wine collection that even Carson would approve of.

The range of Bordeaux clarets and whites are the type of clarets imported by the British aristocracy from France in the early 1900s. The recreated wines are from grapes grown on the same vines and from the same soil as the era depicted in Downton Abbey.

"We are working with The Dulong Grands Vins De Bordeaux vineyards, which have been in the same family for five generations," said Bill Zysblat, co-owner of Wines That Rock said in a release. "They have over 130 years of experience in creating the world's best wines so these are wines the Crawley family would have been proud to serve at Downton."

The wines will be sold in single bottles and also packaged as gift sets, and will be available through distributors in the U.S. and Canada --just in time for season four.

A note of interest: Downton Abbey’s creator, Julian Fellows, just announced that Paul Giamatti --who played a Pinot Noir-guzzling oenophile in the movie "Sideways," will be joining the cast as Cora’s playboy brother, Harold.

Sounds like a great time to crack open a bottle and watch Lady Mary with her new baby George.

How to Pair Easter with Bordeaux

The New York Times has a recipe for a roast leg of lamb slathered in butter and topped with anchovies. While anchovies might seem like an odd pairing with lamb they actually add depth to the meat that will make your Red Graves pop. Red Graves is a great wine to drink mature and, lucky for you, easy find in your local retail store. Via Bon Appétit

Ham with Bordeaux Superior

A roast ham with a younger Bordeaux Superieur (think a 2012 vintage or Claret) will bring a lighter and more fruity touch to your Easter Feast. If you have time to spare we love the idea of letting the ham cure in spices for a few days before roasting. Why not try the official wine of Downton Abbey in honor of the show”s finale? Via Serious Eats

Asparagus with Sauvignon Blanc

Nothing says “Spring!” like asparagus (and if you’re lucky that asparagus is grilled). No matter what recipe you choose, pair your asparagus with an acidic and grassy Sauvignon Blanc. Look for an Entre-Deux Mers or Bordeaux Blanc for some of the best value whites from the region. Via Food52

Easter Brunch with Crémant de Bordeaux

Easter brunch is a wonderful excuse for multiple bottles of wine. Fried eggs call for a crémant de Bordeaux, either blanc or rosé. While creamy scrambled eggs go wonderfully with a dry rosé or Graves Blanc with a high percentage of Semillon. If you”re serving a frittata any of the above will do the trick because there is nothing better than starting your day with perfect eggs and a refreshing glass of crisp Bordeaux. Via Martha Stewart

Hard Boiled Eggs with Crémant de Bordeaux

Dying Easter eggs shouldn’t be the only fun part of your Holiday tradition. This year pair those hard-boiled and vibrantly-colored eggs with with a Crémant de Bordeaux or your favorite rosé. This is, hands-down, our favorite way to keep the Easter celebration going. Via Half Baked Harvest

Peeps with a young Sauternes

No Easter is complete without Peeps, even if you usually buy them for their undeniable cuteness. When it comes to pairing your Peeps with wine, and more importantly eating them, the trick is to match sweetness with sweetness. Meaning you can eat your Peeps while sipping on a glass of a young Sauternes, a fruity Loupiac, or a lovely Saint Croix du Mont.

Winery launches ‘Downton Abbey’-inspired collection

Denver-based PL360 Beverage Partners imported a new line of wines inspired by the PBS series “Downton Abbey” into the United States. Launching Nov. 1, New York-based Wines That Rock's Downton Abbey Wine Collection features two blends from the Bordeaux region of France: a Blanc white wine and a Claret red wine.

In creating this collection, Downton Abbey Wines looked to Grands Vins de Bordeaux, a family-owned winery with more than 130 years of wine-making experience in the Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux, France. Wine-maker Jean-Marc Dulong enlisted time-honored wine-making practices as well as modern techniques to create a collection of finely balanced wines. Downton Abbey Blanc is a light and crisp white blend, while Downton Abbey Claret is a medium-bodied red wine with bright fruit and a silky finish, he said.

“We are excited to launch the Downton Abbey Wine Collection, made in the finest Bordeaux wine-making tradition,” said William Zysblat, co-creator of the wines, in a statement. “Our collaboration with the Dulong family made perfect sense, as we wanted the same vines, soil and region used to produce the wines from the Downton era. Having Dulong as our wine-maker allows us to create accessible wines that we truly believe the Crawley Family would have been proud to serve at their table.”

Dulong added in a statement: “It is exciting for me to think about my Bordelaise ancestors crafting their clarets and blancs in the Downton Abbey era. Their know-how, passed down to me through five generations, has inspired my own wine-making. With Downton Abbey Wines, I have strived to capture the essence of Bordeaux in this collection of delicious and approachable wines.”

Bring a taste of ‘Downton Abbey’ home

Now that the final season of “Downton Abbey” has begun, fans of the British series can breathe a collective sigh of relief.

If you still can’t get enough, through the magic of product licensing, you can enjoy a taste of Mrs. Patmore’s cooking and taste some wine favored by Lord Grantham.

Several of the products are available from Cost Plus World Market, which has a store at Keizer Station, or through their website,

You can imagine yourself as the Dowager Countess of Grantham sipping a cup of tea from The Republic of Tea’s Downton Estate Blend. The Downton Abbey Tea Tin is $11.99 at Cost Plus World Market.

Not just any tart

You might wish you had Daisy in the kitchen making these tempting tarts. The shortbread tarts available from Cost Plus World Market ($4) are filled with apple, currants, sultanas and candied citrus peel for a proper British treat while viewing “Downton Abbey.” There is also a tin of shortbread cookies available from Cost Plus World Market ($22.99).

For your cellar

While we can’t supply your very own Mr. Carson to pour, you can at least have a glass of what he might have poured. You can now get Downton Abbey Claret and Downton Abbey Blanc. These wines are from Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux, France and made by Dulong Grand Vins, a family-owned vineyard with more than 130 years of winemaking experience.

The 2012 Downton Abbey Bordeaux Claret is a blend of 70 percent merlot, 25 percent cabernet sauvignon and 5 percent malbec, three of the grape varieties found in Bordeaux. The wine is available at Cost Plus World Market or through for $16.99.

The 2012 Downton Abbey Bordeaux Blanc is a dry white wine that is a blend of 70 percent muscadelle and 30 percent semillion. The wine is available at Cost Plus World Market or through for $16.99.

From Mrs. Patmore’s kitchen

And if all of this is not enough “Downton” deliciousness for you, why not whip up a recipe from one of the unofficial “Downton Abbey” cookbooks available on

“The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook”: From Lady Mary’s Crab Canapes to Mrs. Patmore’s Christmas Pudding, you can pick from more than 150 recipes featured in this unofficial book. (By Emily Ansara Baines, $15.96 hardcover)

“Edwardian Cooking: 80 Recipes Inspired by Downton Abbey's Elegant Meals”: You can step into the tasty treats enjoyed by the upper crust in Edwardian England. Entrées include Edwardian Leg of Lamb and Lobster Pudding, soups include Stilton Chowder and desserts include Raspberries in Sherry Sabayon Sauce. (By Larry Edwards, $17.45 hardcover)

Downton Abbey inspires modern wine collection of ‘vintage’ French blends

Downton Abbey sparked a surge in demand for flapper dresses, cravats and waistcoats and now the ITV series has inspired a ‘vintage’ wine collection.

French blends imported by the British aristocracy in the early 1900s are to be recreated and sold online – but only in the US and Canada where the period drama is also a hit.

The range of Bordeaux clarets and whites is being made by Wines That Rock which already produces Grateful Dead, the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd-branded wine.

But the deal arranged by Knockout Licensing is not a gimmick as the range will be made in collaboration with Dulong Grands Vins de Bordeaux which has been in the wine-making business for 130 years.

The wine will come from grapes grown on the same vines and from the same soil as the era depicted in Downton Abbey.

The Emmy and Golden Globe-winning drama, which first aired in Britain in September 2010, is now shown in over 200 countries, attracting 120million viewers worldwide.

'Downton Abbey' Bordeaux Clarets and Whites to Launch - Recipes

Highclere Castle, stand in for the fictional Downton Abbey. What kind of wine do you think they have there? (Photo: JB + UK_Planet on Flickr)

According to , Knockout Licensing has teamed with Wines that Rock to create a range of wines inspired by the megahit costume drama. The firm – which already makes Grateful Dead and Rolling Stones wines (apparently that is also a thing?) – will recreate a collection of “vintage” wines meant to emulate the French blends which would have been served by the British aristocracy in the early 1900s.

"We are working with The Dulong Grands Vins De Bordeaux vineyards, which have been in the same family for five generations," Bill Zysblat, co-owner of Wines That Rock, said in a statement. "They have over 130 years of experience in creating the world's best wines so these are wines the Crawley family would have been proud to serve at Downton."

The wine will even be created from grapes in same area that the Crawleys might have imported their own stock from. “Bordeaux Clarets and Bordeaux Blancs bearing the Downton Abbey name will come from grapes grown on the same vines and from the same soil as those from wines in the era depicted in Downton Abbey ,” says the press release .

The wine does not have an official release date and will be sold in individual bottles as well as packaged gift sets. While there is no sign that we’ll get what we all really secretly want – which obviously is a bottle with Dame Maggie Smith ’s face judging us from the label and pithy quotes from the Dowager Countess emblazoned on the cork – Downton wine should certainly perk up everyone’s viewing parties this January.

Would you drink Downton -branded wine? Or is there something else you’d rather see with the Downton Abbey name on it?

Search Mano a Vino

Wines of Downton Abbey, What Were Those White Wines?

As Anna advises Mr. Molesley on the wine service, "Mr. Carson likes to serve two white wines, which you should open and decant just before they eat. A light one for the hors d’oeuvres, then a heavy one with the soup. Keep that going for the fish, and then change to the Claret, which you should really decant now. There’s a pudding wine, and after that whatever they want in the drawing room with their coffee." We wonder, what were the white wines?

We certainly know what Claret is, just what the British call red Bordeaux. Pudding wine is what they call dessert wine, usually sauterne or port wine.  But what were those white wines?

A book by Janet McKenzie Hill (1852–1933) who was a influential pioneer of the modern culinary arts and science, sheds some light. She wrote many cookbooks and the 1908 classic, A Guide for Edwardian Servants - The Up to Date Waitress.

"With appetizer, sometimes a cocktail, oftener nothing.  With oysters, sauterne. With the soup, pale sherry.  With the fish, hock or sauterne.  With the entrees, claret or Burgundy.  With the roast, champage.  With the game, Burgundy.  With cold dishes and hot or cold sweets, champagne.  With dessert of cheese, port wine.  With coffee, liqueurs.

Champagne is served from the bottle.  Decant claret, Burgundy, and sherry before serving them sherry should be decanted and left in a cold place one hour before dinner."

Edith Crawley Sips her WIne and Contemplates

We also discovered that Edwardian nobility also favored German wine, what they called Hock Wine, a term the British used for German white wine from the Rhine region. This not surprising since most of France was still recovering from the terrible disease that assailed European vineyards in the late 19th century.

The wines might have been Rieslings from Schloss Johannisberg, one of the most important and historic vineyards of the region as well as Künstler or newcomer at the time, Gunderloch.

Evidence from the Titanic, which of course is dwelled upon in Downton Abbey Season One, reveals that among the 1,000 bottles on the ships manifest there were one type Sauterne (French dessert wine) 2 Hock-Rhine (sweet German wine) 2 Moselle (dry white German wine) 2 Ports (dessert type wine) and one sherry. The rest were French red wines.

Wines the Dowton Abbey butler, Mr. Carson, may have acquired from Berry Bros. & Rudd is Britain's oldest wine and spirit merchant, having traded from the same shop for over 300 years.

Mathew and Mary Crawley Toast

Joy Neighbors writes in a post The Wines of the Titanic that:

Wines of the era included " Champagne and Moselle, wines that could be served chilled" and "According to a 1910 White Star Line Wine List for first class passengers, included on a trip were ten different Champagnes, along with Sauternes, Moselle, Claret, Port, Sherry, Burgundy, and Vermouth."

Downton Abbey. Mr. Carson Counts The Wine

So my guess is that Mr. Molesley would have started with a Sauterne or a Moselle and then poured a Hock wine or Sherry.

9 accessible, affordable Bordeaux wines

Bordeaux red wines aren’t cheap. You can pay $900 a bottle or more for a recent-vintage Domaine de la Romanée-Conti or Château Lafite-Rothschild.

No surprise — these are some of the world’s finest wines. Unfortunately, most of us are priced out of tasting them, even once in a lifetime. It’s why I always advise young hedonists to make friends with someone who owns a boat and someone who has a fabulous wine cellar.

French producers are aware of this, and lately are launching ad campaigns making us aware of Bordeaux wines that are lower in price, more accessible.

One group of red Bordeaux wines offering good value for price these days are those classified as cru bourgeois. These traditional Bordeaux blends — with an average price of about $25 a bottle — are called “Left Bank” wines because they’re produced on the west and south side of the Garonne and Gironde rivers in Bordeaux.

Red Bordeaux wines can include cabernet sauvignon, merlot, malbec, cabernet franc and petit verdot grapes. But Left Bank wines emphasize cabernet sauvignon, while Right Bank wines feature merlot. Cru bourgeois wines are reviewed and tasted blind by professional tasters before being sold.

Other, affordable, less-powerful red wines are labeled simply “Bordeaux AOC,” meaning they can come from anywhere in the 62-square-mile Bordeaux region. They are fruity and ready to drink young.

One advantage to the more affordable Bordeaux red wines is that they are lighter and less tannic, ready to drink earlier, while the top Bordeaux can need up to 10 years of age before they are entirely accessible.

These wine reds go well with white meats such as roast or grilled chicken or pork, or ham, or cheese as well as light red meat dishes such as meatloaf.

So while most of us won’t be drinking a $900 red Bordeaux with our $95, two-pound-ounce Wagyu Longbone Steak at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House in Manhattan anytime soon, most of us won’t be arriving in a $180,000 Bentley Continental GT, either.

2011 Château Maurac Haut-Medoc, Cru Bourgeois: hint of oak, lush and ripe, with sweet fruit flavors, anise and mint, smooth finish, ripe tannins $28.

2012 Baron Philippe de Rothschild Mouton Cadet Red, AOC Bordeaux (65 percent merlot, 20 percent cabernet sauvignon, 15 percent cabernet franc): hint of smoky oak, aromas and flavors of black raspberries and black coffee, light body, crisp, soft tannins $12.

2011 Château Aney, Haut Médoc, Cru Bourgeois (65 percent cabernet sauvignon, 25 percent merlot, 7 percent cabernet franc, 3 percent petit verdot): hint of oak, aromas and flavors of black plums, espresso and earth, ripe tannins $24.

2010 Château Tour Saint Joseph, Haut-Médoc Cru Bourgeois, Bordeaux (50 percent merlot, 45 percent cabernet sauvignon, 5 percent cabernet franc): hint of oak, powerful flavors of black cherries and black peppers, ripe tannins $25.

2012 Château Magnol, Haut-Médoc, Cru Bourgeois (48 percent merlot, 40 percent cabernet sauvignon, 12 percent cabernet franc): toasty oak, aromas and flavors of red raspberries and cloves long finish $25.

2010 Chateau Le Boscq Cru Bourgeois Médoc, Red Bordeaux (62 percent cabernet sauvignon, 26 percent merlot, 7 percent cabernet franc, 5 percent petit verdot): hint of oak, aromas and flavors of black cherries and black pepper, medium body, soft tannins $22.

2009 Château Liversan Haut-Médoc Cru Bourgeois (50 percent merlot, 44 percent cabernet sauvignon, 4 percent cabernet franc, 2 percent petit verdot): hint of oak, aromas and flavors of red plums, espresso and spice, firm tannins $19.

2011 Vignobles Andre Lurton Chateau Bonnet Red Bordeaux (50 percent cabernet sauvignon, 50 percent merlot): hint of oak, light-bodied, aromas and flavors of black cherries and black coffee, soft tannins $13.

2012 Downton Abbey Bordeaux Claret, AOC Bordeaux (70 percent merlot, 25 percent cabernet sauvignon, 5 percent malbec): floral aromas, flavors of black raspberries and cloves, smooth and ripe, long finish $17.

Watch the video: Gareth Neame Discusses Downtons Success. Downton Abbey. Interview (July 2022).


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