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
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
newsJohn Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
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

    C++ Software Engineer - Hounslow, West London - C++ - to £60K +

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Visitor Experience volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...

    Telesales Manager. Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Day In a Page

    Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

    Screwing your way to the top?

    Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
    Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

    Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

    Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
    Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

    Take a good look while you can

    How climate change could wipe out this seal
    Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

    Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

    Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
    Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

    Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

    John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
    The 10 best pedicure products

    Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

    Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

    A land of the outright bizarre
    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
    Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

    The worst kept secret in cinema

    A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
    Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
    Why do we have blood types?

    Are you my type?

    All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
    Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

    Honesty box hotels

    Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

    Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

    The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
    Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

    The 'scroungers’ fight back

    The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes