By Paul Caputo

Heading north from the prestigious Pomerol AOC, the much larger appellation of Lalande-de-Pomerol is an excellent source of soft, fruity Merlot driven red wines. They can be expensive, but still cheaper than Pomerol, and if you know where to look there is plenty of value to be found.

The soils here are a real mix of clay, stone, silt and sand. Around 1200 hectares are given over to Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

The best wines are best between four and ten years old, depending on the vintage, and will show lovely red and black berry aromas matched with a fleshy, plummy palate that takes on some smoke, leather and game when aged in oak.