Something of a journey through time today.
First, we experience the centuries-old allure of Bordeaux, where craftsmanship and expertise has created a global benchmark for red wine.
Over time, long standing traditions, inspired blending skills and a very special geology and climate have all come together brilliantly.
Then we move on to a white.
Here, we come bang up to date with the discovery in relatively recent times of the food-friendly nature and overall appeal of the assyrtiko grape.
Even in the youthful example featured today, few can fail to appreciate the crispness, complexity and nod towards its volcanic homeland it offers us.
I hope you get a chance to sample both wines.
Once again, pictures are included where possible to make it easier to track down the wine in question.
The classic face of Bordeaux
2020 Chateau Vieux Manoir (£7.25 at the Co-op and 14.5% abv):
This week and next, I look at that elusive creature – inexpensive claret.
For today’s selection, the focus is on an example of the classic style containing those savoury elements for which Bordeaux is noted.
Next week’s choice will be a more fruit forward version, so perhaps you lovers of fruity, ripe reds can be patient for another seven days.
Traditional in style but with only limited tannin, Ch Vieux Manoir does encompass a lively acidity that gives freshness to its prune, elderberry and dried herb flavours.
Those components are presided over by touches of graphite and mocha that provide the savouriness mentioned at the start of this item.
NB: The price of this wine may be about to change.
From ancient to modern
2022 Athlon Greek Assyrtiko (£6.99 Aldi and 12%):
As interest in wine grew world-wide, so versions from more and more countries started to demand attention.
With its unique indigenous grapes and diverse terroir, Greece has been one of the more successful new arrivals.
Here is an example of their hugely impressive assyrtiko white wine grape.
Avoid chilling it too fiercely, though, since that can over-emphasise this version’s mineral savouriness.
Once around 8°C, any slate influences soften to allow assyrtiko’s lemon acidity, herbal hints and sense of purity to shine through brightly.
That provides the perfect background to the wine’s polished pear, nectarine and apple flavours.
If you have not tried this grape variety, here is a great introduction to its charms – that are skilfully built on as you encounter more expensive versions.
Join me again on Thursday when I take a final, lingering look at red wines that particularly excel in summer.
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