What to drink this week

Ma­ture claret

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country Notebook -

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.

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