A red Bordeaux in a Burgundy bottle without a capsule and label graphics showing a love-you hand squeezing a bunch of grapes was never going to be a conventional Bordeaux. Stand by, then, for generous, bright fruit (sweet plums, blackberries and blackcurrants), fleeting whiffs of parma violets and spicy tobacco and a gentle undertow of refreshing leafiness. Tannin? There's not an elbow or an angle in sight, just glossy curves and mouth-filling, velvety fruit.
What and where? I'm glad you asked. It's Merlot from selected rows in a single vineyard close to Saint-Emilion and on the same pure limestone soils. The vineyard is said to be owned by one of Bordeaux's famous families; of which, of course, there are quite a few, but to narrow it down a little the family in question is also described as nature obsessed. The wine is made by Laithwaites' Jean-Marc Saboua and is part of their Gentle Riot range – wines made in a holistic, sustainable way. Vegan, too.
It's at home with red meat – I had it with stuffed flank-steak rolls in tomato and red wine sauce (Sicilian braciole stuffed with mortadella, pecorino, provolone and breadcrumbs). But without the kind of tannins that demand red meat, it was even more at home with baked pasta (Campania ziti) in a spicy sausage and tomato sauce with provolone, parmesan and mozzarella (both dishes were part of a meal I ordered from London's Bocca di Lupo restaurant). It would also go with pork or duck and proved that it can take on the sweet intensity of spiced roast pumpkin, root and Mediterranean veg. It wouldn't say no a really good pizza either.
One last but crucial point: it's best served cool – 16 or 17ºC – which is almost certainly a lot cooler than the room you're in right now; so pop it in the fridge, probably for around 30 minutes, but it depends on the temperature of the bottle when you put it in and the temperature in your fridge. 14.5%.
Roc Cuvée 2020, Bordeaux , France
£13.99, or £12.99 in any 12-bottle mix, Laithwaites
#wine #France #Bordeaux #Merlot #wineandfood #foodmatching #red