The Auld Alliance between Scotland and France might have started as a military alliance but it became synonymous with a long established friendship founded on the Scots love of French wine.
Many Scots fought as mercenaries for the French, and in return Scottish merchants were offered privileges, including freedom from Normandy taxes and direct access to Vine growers to select the choice of Bordeaux’s finest wines – a privilege which was eagerly protected for hundreds of years. The trade survived the Reformation, the Union of the Parliaments and during the Jacobite era nationalists took to Claret as opposed to Port as a sign of independence.
More often than not a blind eye was turned as the wine was smuggled through Leith and rolled up the streets to the New Town where Edinburgh folk kept drinking the Claret that had become part of Scots culture. Cockburns of Leith Claret still comes ashore today and, given the undoubted quality of Bordeaux wine and our historic attachment to it, will surely always take a place in Scotland’s cellars.
Each year Cockburns of Leith source a parcel of Bordeaux labelled under their famous Cockburns of Leith name, Scotland’s oldest wine merchant established in 1796 and one time purveyor of wines to Sir Walter Scott and Charles Dickens.