What to drink this week
Mature claret—or, to use modern parlance, red Bordeaux that’s ready for drinking—is something the traditional wine drinker from the British Isles holds especially dear. It stands for a certain settled order and peace, for a history that goes back to Dr Johnson and Parson Woodforde. It’s also one of the wine merchant’s greatest challenges. Good red Bordeaux ages rather slowly; great vintages sometimes go into their shell at two or three years of age and don’t emerge for at least another decade. When that moment, of the chrysalis becoming a butterfly, will arrive is hard to guess.
It might be a challenge, but a great claret is worth the wait, assures Harry Eyres
Why you should be drinking it
Mature claret is a grown-up sort of wine, in every sense. It offers the pleasures of subtlety and nuance rather than knockout power and forward fruit. This is civilised stuff and the perfect partner for a range of beef dishes and cheese soufflés.
What to drink
Sometimes, the knack is finding parcels of lesser vintages that have shed hard tannins, but retained sufficient fruit. Tanners of Shrewsbury has hit the jackpot with Les Calèches de Lanessan 2011 (£14.50; www. tanners-wines.co.uk). This is classic, cedary claret with silky fruit and balance, fully mature. Adnams has gone a different route with its Moulis-en-médoc, The Adnams Estate Range 2010 (right, £21.99, www.adnams. co.uk): from a great vintage, this is serious stuff, gamey and leathery on the nose, meaty and satisfying on the palate. Majestic has also scored with Château Bellisle-mondotte 2002 (£24.99, www.majestic. co.uk), which is beautifully evolved with soft tannins and impressive length.