It’s a vine romance as Downton branches out

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AFICIONADOS of period drama Downton Abbey will find the hit series makes them giddy with more than simply excitement – with the launch of a brand of wine.

Devotees can consume the show not just on television and on DVD with the launch of bottles of “claret” and “blanc” as the series follows the lead of acts such as the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd, which have launched wines in their name.

It might make a fitting brand extension after US actor Paul Giamatti joined the cast for the programme. He famously led the cast in the wine-tasting comedy, Sideways. The wine was launched in North America last month and has been made available this week to fans in the UK who can now share a tipple. The drinks come from a family-owned winery in the Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux.

Winemaker Jean-Marc Dulong said: “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 winemaking.”

The programme, which has just completed its fourth series, returns to ITV screens for a Christmas Day edition. Regular viewers of Downton Abbey are used to hearing the familiar murmur of North Yorkshire place names and while the series is not filmed in the county, Lord and Lady Grantham, their family and servants all refer to locations including Thirsk and Ripon.