Anthony Rose: 'These are a few bottles that have delivered satisfaction in spades'

 

It took me a while to work out what the famous bon viveur André Simon's was on about when he said there are no great wines, only great bottles. Investors who depend on a wine to increase in value might point to an objective standard of greatness, but the weight of expectation is a heavy burden. Many an anticipated 'great' bottle turns out to be a disappointment, many a no-expectations a lovely surprise, all the more so when the ambiance is right and the conversation flowing. Maybe your experience of delicious bottles doesn't chime with mine, but I can confidently say that these are a few bottles that have delivered satisfaction in spades.

Ever since I bought a case of the enduring 2003 Le Soula, this nine-way fruit-salad blend from the Fénouillèdes in the Roussillon where France and Spain meet, has been a personal favourite. The 2008 Le Soula, £20.78- £23.95, Cambridge Wine Merchants (01223 568993), Roberson (020-7371 2121), Berry Bros (0870 9004300), shows complex herby aromas of basil and bayleaf while the rich, honeyed, stonefruit flavours are leavened by a refreshing saltiness that walks a tightrope between fruit and minerality. I had always been less impressed with the red until the 2008 Le Soula Rouge came along, £23.95, Berry Bros, Harrogate Fine Wine (01423 522270), Worth Bros (01543 262051), but the 2008 is a delicious drop of thyme-tinged, black-cherry fruit and damsony succulence.

One of the great advantages of southern reds is their capacity to bring a little liquid central heating into our lives. The southern Rhône packs a punch though the grenache grape in wines like the powerfully red-fruited and peppery 2010 La Bastide Saint Vincent Gigondas, £18.74 and the vibrant, blackberryish, cockle-warming concentration of the 2008 Lirac Rouge, Cuvée de la Reine des Bois, Domaine de la Mordorée, £19.95, Lea & Sandeman. The South of France is responsible for some broad-shouldered rugby types, not least the 2010 Château L'Hospitalet La Clape La Réserve, a blend from broad-shouldered ex-rugby player Gérard Bertrand that wears its heart of red fruits and garrigue herb on its muscular sleeve.

Venturing further south still, to the Iberian peninsula, Lea & Sandeman's recent, well-timed southern offering contains a vivid red from Montsant by the euphonic Acústic, Vinyes Velles, £14.75, whose strawberryish fruit and lipsmacking quality is made to accompany a robust daube of beef. Portugal is particularly good at powerful reds, both at the affordable level of the 2010 Quinta do Crasto Douro, £9.99, Majestic, a sweetly ripe and bramble-spicy Douro Valley blend, and, with greater refinement and richness, the excellent 2006 Quinta Vale D Maria, £19.99, Waitrose, all spicy, black fruitiness steeped in vanilla oak spiciness yet etched with refreshing acidity. Just great bottles.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
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

    Guru Careers: MI Developer

    £35 - 45k: Guru Careers: An MI Developer is needed to join the leading provide...

    Recruitment Genius: Fitness Manager

    £20000 - £22500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leisure organisation manag...

    Recruitment Genius: Visitor Experience Manager

    £25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Delivering an inspiring, engagi...

    Recruitment Genius: Learning Team Administrator

    £17500 - £20500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are looking for a great te...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence