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
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

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