When the Romans first planted a few vines on the limestone outcrops of St Emilion in the early years of the first century, and tasted what was, by all accounts, rather thin, bitter wine, they can hardly have imagined that the region's greatest red wines would become the most sought afterfine wines in the world. From the days in the seventeenth century when the then owners of Ch Haut Brion, the de Pontac family, became the first to export to the UK, selling their wine in their own tavern, the Pontac's Head, red Bordeaux or claret has been the Englishman's favourite. The wines of the 1855 Classification are merely the tip of the iceberg. Bordeaux AC accounts for about half of all wine produced in the area, from vineyards outside the regional or communal appelations and often blended by the negociant houses. Simpler beasts these although still clearly related to their more illustrious cousins - relatively light and fresh, full of fruit, with soft tannins making for delicious, and good value, early drinking.