Traditionally wine merchants not only used buy wine and sell it on to their customers but they also matured it until it was ready to drink. Now most wine is sold as soon as it is bottled. Wine merchants claim this is because: a) people prefer to drink younger wine these days and b) because most wine is made to be drunk younger. It also conveniently releases money that would otherwise be tied up in maturing stock. Some wines, however, insist upon a little aging and thankfully for those of us without the space or the patience to keep them there are still some merchants fulfilling their traditional duties. Here are a couple of my favourites:
Chateau Ducluzeau, Listrac-Medoc, 2000 – £15.75 – this claret tastes of the days when the term gentleman’s club meant batty colonels and cigars rather than strippers and cocaine. It smells a bit like that too. I found it refreshing and barely tannic with a mellow sweet finish. Available at From Vineyard Direct who sell a lot of good mature wine.
Macon La Roche Vineuse, Olivier Merlin, 2006 – £10.50 – Affordable red Burgundy is normally a recipe for insipidness but this is inky black and powerful. I’m glad it has a little age as it’s power has been softened somewhat making it very drinkable. Available from House of Townend – a Hull-based merchant whose customers I insulted in a previous column.
Both these wines would be great for Christmas day but I may have written this post too late to receive deliveries from either. So I am going to recommend one wine which always seems to be sold mature. I am not sure who takes the trouble to wait until it is ready but I am glad they do. It is also widely available and cheap:
Cotes du Rhone, Guigal, 2006 – £8 approx. (Majestic often have it on offer for less) – a traditional blend from one of the biggest producers in the Rhone. It smells of leather and herbs and tastes like having old friends round for supper.