Anthony Rose: A Bordeaux pick'n'mix

It's deathless prose: 52 per cent cabernet sauvignon, 45 per cent merlot and 3 per cent petit verdot. The label tells you everything and nothing about the 2007 Château Brown, Pessac-Léognan, £25.99, Soho Wine Supply (020-7636 8490), an enticingly spicy Bordeaux. It's the 3 per cent petit verdot that's intriguing.

How can such a tiny percentage make any difference when the major proportions are cabernet and merlot? The answer is seasoning. Similar principles apply to the 2006 Château Romefort, £9.99, buy two = £7.99, Majestic, a modern claret – only here it's the 7 per cent cabernet franc that brings a freshness to the blackcurranty merlot and cabernet sauvignon.

Bordeaux is a region in which blends of different grapes each vie for space in the final blend. The late-ripening petit verdot is always in a minor key, while cabernet franc often dominates on the Right Bank. The Bordelais have cleverly learnt not to put all their eggs in one basket.

In Burgundy, the opposite applies. Here growers have found that pinot noir needs no other company. A wine such as the bright 2010 Mercurey Vieilles Vignes, from Domaine Raquillet, £18.95, Lea & Sandeman, relies on pure pinot noir for its sumptuous mulberry fruitiness.

The Rhône's north is pure syrah territory for the pepper and spice characters of a wine such as the textured 2009 Domaine Collonge Crozes Hermitage, £12.99, Marks & Spencer. Its Mediterranean south blunts the syrah's edge, bringing the grenache and mourvèdre grapes into focus in the spicy 2005 Gigondas, Clos des Cazaux, La Tour Sarrazine, £16, Goedhuis & Co (020-7793 7900).

Languedoc likes blends, too. In the 2007 Domaine La Borie Blanche Terroirs d'Altitude, Minervois la Livinière, £9.99, buy two = £7.99, Majestic, it's the grenache at just 10 per cent that adds the white pepper touches to the dominant syrah and mourvèdre. The New World knows such rules, so the juicy 2009 Willunga 100 The Olive Branch Grenache, £9.99, Sainsbury's, stands on its own one foot.

Rioja allows tempranillo both on its own as in the vivid 2007 Cosme Palacio Tinto, £9.99, Morrisons, or seasoned with mazuelo and graciano in the case of the 2007 Bodegas Ruconia Tubal, Rioja Crianza, £16.50, Lea & Sandeman. Chianti has jettisoned its legal requirement for white grapes in favour of pure sangiovese and you'll find few sleeker examples than Fontodi's 2008 Chianti Classico, £18.50-£21.95, Cooden Cellars (01323 649 663), Noel Young (01223 844744).

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Recruitment Genius: Class 1 HGV Driver

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas