Winner of the Wine Adviser’s competition, Bridget jetted off with Gerald (our buyer) and Deborah (Rude’s MD) for Bordeaux in late March.

Escaping the UK’s latest batch of snow and ice, the intrepid trio were royally looked after by Maison Sichel, who supply many of our wines from South West France.

The key goal for the visit was to put together the new vintage of our best-selling Rude Reserve Rouge.

Being a blend from the excellent Languedoc region, each new vintage needs a lot of swirling, sniffing and tasting to get the proportions just right for a standout red wine.

After over two hours of experimenting and much sipping (using spittoons, of course) the three were ready to agree on ‘Bridget’s Blend’, the 2017 Rude Reserve Rouge.

It’s half Merlot, giving a soft richness, with 30% Syrah adding to the depth of flavour, and 20% Grenache finishing things off with a touch of spice.

With Debs, Gerald, and Bridget all pleased as punch with their efforts, the wine will now be bottled, given a few months to settle, before being with us in August.

The Rude Reserve Blanc 2017, blended earlier in the year, is already flying out, wowing people with its winning blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Colombard (with a little local Ugni Blanc and Petit Manseng for good measure).

It wasn’t all work, however, with some great visits to our producers in Bordeaux and Gascony (including a memorable trip to ancient Armagnac cellars), and a visit to the impressive La Cité du Vin, perhaps the world’s finest wine museum.