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The Grapevine

A blog from the team at Great Western Wine

  • Alan's Wine of the Week: d'Arenberg Lovegrass Shiraz, 2010

    d'Arenberg Love Grass Shiraz, 2010

    Alan's Wine of the Week: d'Arenberg Love Grass Shiraz 2010

    £13.95

     

    The additional varieties in this wine cling to the Shiraz making a complex and food friendly wine that is fresh and lively, with black and red fruits, pepper, clove and cinnamon. Ensure you take a moment to savour this wine and its complex mix of fruits evolving from tight and linear at first to rich, dark and exotic.

    Free delivery on orders over £100 | Save 10% on 12 bottles | Save 5% on 6 bottles

  • Tried and Tested: Simple Steak & Skillogalee Shiraz

    Tried and tested - Simple Steak & Skillogalee ShirazAll week I was looking forward to a lovely Saturday night sat outside and cooking a lovely piece of steak on the BBQ… But… then it rained!

    So we decided to bring the BBQ indoors (not literally)! After being with Dave and Diana Palmer from Skillogalee in the shop on Saturday I picked up a bottle of their Basket Press Shiraz to have with my steak and it was utterly delicious!!

    I like to have my steak cooked rare. And the succulent, juicy, flavoursome texture of the meat was an absolutely perfect match with, with the intense dark berry fruit character of the shiraz. Even though this is a full bodied red wine, it is just perfect for a summer bbq! Try it for yourself!

    28 days aged fillet steak with buttered jersey royal new potatoes and dressed salad

    Simple recipe and ingredients really;

    Fillet steak - lightly seasoned

    New potatoes with a knob of melted butter

    Salad leaves; rocket, baby gem lettuce, tomatoes, pepper and grilled purple sprouting

    By Vicki Wheeler

  • Alan's Wine of the Week: Strandveld First Sighting Sauvignon Blanc

    First Sighting Sauvignon Blanc, 2013

    First-sighting-Sauvignon Blanc

    £11.95  £10.52

    The First Sighting Sauvignon is excitingly expressive with an array of cool climate Sauvignon characteristics; layers of gooseberry and bell pepper meet fresh, zingy lemon with a degree of richness and plenty of flinty minerality.

    Prices are valid from 03.06.15 to 30.06.15

    Free delivery on orders over £100 | Save 10% on 12 bottles | Save 5% on 6 bottles

  • Tried + Tested: Tomato pan fried chicken with Ken Forrester's Petit Pinotage

    Courgette fries, pan fried chicken thighs in a garlic, tomato and basil sauce with a Petit Pinotage wine match from Ken Forrester.

    On recommendation, I chose a tomato based dish to try out with this Petit Pinotage from Ken Forrester, and after sifting through of a fair few pasta based options I came across an interesting recipe from BBC Good Food.  I adapted the recipe here and there; swapping chicken breasts for thighs as I often find them less inclined to dry out when cooking for a longer period of time, and removing the olives from the dish in an effort to avoid any overpowering flavours taking over the wine.

    The result was quite impressive - and perfect for dinner at this time of year. The fresh, fruitiness of the wine works well for a warm summer's evening for those who like drinking red no matter what the season, with a sweetness that compliments the salty, savoury flavours of this dish.

    See the original recipe here

     Ken Forrester Petit Pinotage wine match

    Ingredients (serves 3)

    2 tbsp olive oil
    6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
    1 shallot, thinly sliced
    2 garlic cloves, shredded

    300g ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
    1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    300ml chicken stock
    generous handful basil leaves

     

     

     

    Method
    Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan, then salt and pepper the chicken and fry, flattest-side down, for 4-5 mins. Turn the chicken over, add the shallots and cook 4-5 mins more. Lift the chicken from the pan and set aside. Add the garlic to the pan, then continue cooking until the shallots are soft.

    Tip in the tomatoes with the balsamic vinegar, olives, stock, half the basil and seasoning, then simmer, stirring frequently, for 7-8 mins until pulpy. Return the chicken and any juices to the pan and gently simmer, covered, for 5 mins more, to cook the chicken through. Serve scattered with the rest of the basil.

    For the courgette fries

    Pre-heat the oven to 180C.  Half your courgette and cut in to chip-like fingers.  In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper and some flour, and in a separate bowl whisk up an egg.  One by one, dip the courgettes into the egg, followed by the seasoned flour mix and lay on a lightly oiled baking tray. Cook in the oven for around 15 minutes, or until browned at the edges and soft in the middle.

  • Hot off the press...

    Wines In The Press

    Chateau Ste Marguerite Symphonie Cru Classé 2014

    The best Provence rosé wines: "Super-pale – far more so than the standard cuvée of Ste Marguerite. Delicate but also persistent. Brilliant. Made from old-vine grenache and cinsault that dates back to 1936."

    Victoria Moore

    The Telegraph

  • Dinner with the King of Chenin, Ken Forrester

    Ken Forrester was in ebullient mood;  slightly exhausted, but enthused, energised and excited about the vintage that was happening around us, as we met at his small, but perfectly formed winery, and captivatingly beautiful house on the outskirts of Stellenbosch, back in mid March.

    I was on a week’s visit to the glorious, and spectacular wine regions of South Africa, towards the end of harvest time, when the temperature was still kicking in at about 35 degrees, and the area had hit a high of 42 degrees Celsius, just 2 days before I touched down. I’ve met Ken many times in the UK; I’ve tasted and know his wines extremely well.  But I’d never visited him on his home turf – and that always makes a difference to a wine writer - you see the location; you smell the earth; you taste the wine in the barrels; you sense the passion behind the wines; and the strands of the story, the wines and the people all then weave together.

    So, on an azure-skied, steamily hot Friday afternoon, I arrived at Ken Forrester Wines. The location is spectacular, with the majestic Heldeberg mountain in sharp delineation against the clarity and luminosity of the skies.  Locals were sitting on the terrace outside the winery shop, enjoying a glass of Chenin, and stocking up on wines for the weekend. Ken’s winery is housed in a stunningly-restored, yet  traditional Dutch colonial building, with dazzlingly white-washed walls, and breathtaking views.  The family home is nearby, classical, historic ,and beautifully appointed, thanks to the painstaking skills of Ken’s wife Teresa – above all, it’s a wonderful, welcoming environment with any number of Ken’s 8 dogs milling around for attention at any given time.

    Ken was just helping his team to bring in the last of the grapes, at the end of what he was later to describe to me as a ‘spectacular vintage’. He’d been up since 4am, working with the Forrester team who were harvesting the grapes, and controlling the fermentation of the new wines. ‘Everything is hand-picked’ he told me ‘ It requires a monstrous effort, but it ensures that we get the best selection of fruit for our wines – no one hand picks bad fruit.’ There was a real sense of family and teamwork.

    We wandered through the winery, where scents of new oak, sandalwood and the heady, yeasty aromas of fermenting grape juice, soaked the air. The barrels were bubbling and babbling – literally; I put my ear close to one of them and could hear the gentle, but regular, mesmeric cadence of little bubbles bursting at the top of the barrels as the grape juice and yeasts started to mingle and create their magic – a sing–song of oddly calming, almost melodic noise. Ken calls it ‘the Symphony of Fermentation’ – an apt description.

    One of the most fascinating and rewarding things about life in wine, is the never-ending passion and pride that you experience in talking to people from all over the world, who have made wine their business. But it’s not just a business, it’s a life; these wines are their children.

    Ken Forrester has been in this business since 1993, when he bought a then derelict farmhouse; factually, he’s been in this business far longer, since he used to work in hospitality and restaurants in Johannesburg . So he’s had more than a few years of making wine.  But the 2015 is special; very special. The excitement was almost palpable in his voice: ‘The white wine vintage especially is simply insane’ Ken told me. ‘It’s very, very unique, and I’ve never seen anything like it; I’m told it’s a bit like the 1974. We may see white wines that will rewrite the history books for the South African wine industry’.  We tasted some of the new vintage whites, currently bubbling away - fat, yeasty, cloudy, but, gloriously rich, concentrated flavours which will form components of the iconic Forrester FMC and Reserve Chenin wines at a later stage.

    There’s a great deal of philosophy in the wine industry, as to the impact of climate variations, and weather patterns in any given vintage, and a lot of blame when things don’t turn out as expected. I’ve always loved Ken’s pragmatic and realistic approach to wine-making, and his respect for the greater god, which is Nature. His strategy is to go with what he is given, to accept varying conditions and to make the best of the cards that he is dealt. ‘You can’t forecast what’s going to happen at any point’ he tells me ‘ you can’t guard the vines, or individual vineyards all day, every day, against what the challenges of the weather may throw at them.’ In true cricketing terminology, he came up with a classic quote ‘nature can throw the balls down, and I’ll bat them, be they a Yorker or a full Toss’. Entrepreneurial spirit indeed!

    The 2015 vintage is likely to be exceptional, largely due to vintage conditions. It threw a lot of winemakers’ planning out of the window with its capriciousness. Nature dictated a cold, wet winter, but with an unusually warm spell in August (their midwinter) followed by an Indian-like spring with early flowering. The odd pattern continued, with many grape varieties ready 2 weeks early, and the fruit intensity is viewed as phenomenal. ‘ We almost ran out of tanks as the grapes were maturing at different rates, but coming in so early’ Ken told me ‘ It’s all about Nature – she’s too smart for us to second guess her, we just need to be able to react to her decisions’. Wise words.

    Ken Forrester is a true pioneer of Chenin blanc in South Africa – he happens to make other spectacularly good wines as well, but, when he purchased the derelict farm, in 1993, it was Chenin grapes that he found planted. At the time, Chenin blanc was known for its easy-drinking style, and was viewed as a cheaper, lower quality alternative to the more classic grape varieties. How times have changed… enlisting the support of friend and fellow winemaker Martin Meinert, he set about putting Chenin blanc firmly on the wine map. 19 years later, his wines are world famous and stand with pride on the world pedestal.

    Back to our tasting… the Ken Forrester Petit Chenin 2014 was crisply delicious, with a bright, citrusy edge. As Ken said ‘if you don’t want a lesson in wine and want a great little wine, this is it’.  Moving on to the Ken Forrester Old Vines Chenin, we tasted the recently released 2014 vintage, which has a lovely elegance, and apricot-infused style, with a crisp bite. ‘This one just worked’ Ken told me, ‘it was a dream vintage’.

    We moved on to the iconic Ken Forrester FMC 2012, the current vintage on the shelves, full of exotic, buxom pink grapefruit and lime marmalade fruit.

    Then he opened a bottle of the Ken Forrester FMC 2013, nervy, stylish, still restrained, still a baby, but demonstrating depth and poise. The 2013 wasn’t the easiest of vintages, and is more European in style. It’s elegant, it has depth. That’s what Ken’s wines are about.  In one of his incisive, analogically-perfect quotes, and one of my favourites, he stated ‘ the biggest wines aren’t the best; any clown can make big wines. We need to makes wine that can play rugby and ballet dance’. Love it.

    We tasted the other wines in the ‘Petit’ range – Ken Forrester Petit Rose 2014 is simple and fun; it’s pretty and lively and frivolous with gentle strawberry fruit; perfect on the terrace pre dinner.  One of the lessons of the day for me, was the match of Ken Forrester Petit Pinotage, with tomatoes. This Pinotage is soft, fruity, ripe, with a light edge and bags of spicy, blackberry and plum fruit. Ken extolled the virtues of it match with tomatoes and raced off to pick some glossy, fat, ruby red baby tomatoes from his garden, and made me taste them together. How right he was? I now pair this wine with pretty much any dish, with a tomato-infused sauce, especially Indian based ones.

    Ken Forrester also happens to own a top notch restaurant, 96 Winery Road, which is just down the road from the winery. We wandered over there, together with his wife Teresa, and a couple of friends, to continue the vinous journey through his wines. The restaurant was packed; nestled amongst vineyards and in the shadow of the mountains, it’s a truly scenic spot, with top chefs producing delicious morsels using local and seasonal ingredients.

    We began with a platter of signature starters – perfectly crisp, but achingly tender calamari; meltingly soft and fragrant Lourensford trout; and a pasture egg and maple bacon salad, the egg yolks at the perfect ‘runny’ stage, wobbling delightfully onto crisp leaves and sweetly crisp bacon.  The two FMCs we had tasted stood to the task magnificently, as did a voluptuous yet restrained Roussanne 2013, that Ken brought out.

    96 Winery Road is famous for its steaks, with a great range of locally sourced meat – they also happen to make a mean prime beef gourmet burger.  With the succulence and depth of flavor of the steaks, it was time for the reds. First up was one of my favourites, The Renegade 2011, a dusky , voluptuous beauty, full of wild cherry, plum, licorice and spice flavours; a Rhone style blend of Shiraz and Grenache, it has a seductive softness.

    Then the flagship red appeared; Ken may be known as the King of Chenin, but he seems to have mastered the art of a pretty outstanding red as well. Ken Forrester The Gypsy 2011 is majestic, deep, concentrated, and full of latent, brooding power and beguiling wiles. The name reflects the inherent, hedonistic ‘wildness’ of the wine, based once again on Ken’s love of Rhone grape varieties. Here Grenache dominates, rich, fruity and concentrated, supported by the darkly sensuous Syrah, and the intense and brooding Mourvedre.  It’s a symphony of power, richness and regalness. This one’s still a baby – leave it, if you can for a few years, and it will reward you with a sumptuously rich gift of seductive glory; however  if you can’t, it’s incredibly friendly in its youth, with its exuberant fruit, and welcoming ripeness. We also tasted the 2010, which was coming into its teenage years, and showing the precocious talent of developing youth, with its opulent violet, fresh truffle and  scented black fruit layers of depth. Wines over which to linger…

    Which we did. We ended  on yet another high of highs, the sublime Forrester T Noble Late Harvest Chenin blanc 2011, a glistening, honey and candied orange- infused delight, with layer upon layer of unctuous, lusciously sweet, yet balanced flavours, with a delightfully fresh twist of lemon zestiness. Perfect with a perfectly set and spikily zesty lemon tart, and the sweetest, and fluffily light   lemon macaroons.

    I wish I were back there. If you visit South Africa, they also have a wonderful guest house. If you’re not,  try the wines, enjoy the different styles, and admire the skill of this charismatic and entertaining pioneer , who had a vision and has created something quite spectacular.

    By Angela Mount

  • Tried & Tested

    Prawn, broad bean and buttered asparagus risotto with Ken Forrester Reserve Chenin Blanc

     

    Last Saturday I decided to cook a yummy summery dish, and after scouring through lots of recipes, I finally decided on a prawn, broad bean and buttered asparagus risotto with Parmesan and home grown salad leaves – now for me, the wine match was easy and with this slightly rich and flavoursome dish, it had to be the Old Vine Reserve Chenin Blanc from Ken Forrester.

    The prawns and buttered asparagus really hit the spot alongside the fresh crisp acidity. And the creaminess of the risotto was beautifully complimented by the delicious richness and texture of the Chenin blanc.

     

    Ken Forrester Reserve Chenin Blanc StellenboschRecipe (serves 4)

    2 small shallots, peeled and finely chopped
    250g risotto rice
    1 glass dry white wine
    1 and a half of vegetable stock, kept hot
    asparagus, steamed until just tender, kept warm with knob of butter
    100g blanched broad beans
    200g cooked peeled prawns
    sea salt and freshly ground pepper

     

    Tried & Tested Risotto with Ken Forrester Reserve Chenin Blanc

    Method

    Fry the shallots in butter together until the shallots are cooked and soft but not browned. Add all the rice in one go and stir it around with the other ingredients to toast the grains thoroughly without browning.

    After about 5 minutes of toasting, add the wine, and stir it in for about 2 minutes. Then add the first 3 ladles of hot stock and stir it through.

    Continue to add the stock and stir it in each time the spoon opens up a clear wake behind it during the cooking process.

    After about 15 minutes, which is five minutes from the end of the cooking time, add the broad beans and prawns and continue to cook the risotto. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste. Once dished up, lay asparagus over risotto and grate parmesan over to your liking.

    Recipe adapted from BBC Food - Original here

    Ken Forrester Reserve Chenin Blanc Stellenbosch 2014 

    Regular Price: £11.25

    Special Price £9.90

    Prices are valid from 03.06.15 to 30.06.15

    Free delivery on orders over £100 | Save 10% on 12 bottles | Save 5% on 6 bottles

  • Alan's Wine of the Week: Thelema Stellenbosch Mountain Red 2012

    Thelema Stellenbosch Mountain Red 2012

    Thelema Stellenbosch Mountain Red 2012

    £10.95  £9.64

    Spicy aroma's of black pepper and mulberry mingle with the plum flavours in this soft and approachable wine.

    Prices are valid from 03.06.15 to 30.06.15

    Free delivery on orders over £100 | Save 10% on 12 bottles | Save 5% on 6 bottles

  • Top 10 (drinkable) gifts for Father's Day

    With Father's Day just around the corner, the team at Great Western Wine have been discussing which liquid gifts we will be giving this year (and what we'd like to be receiving)!

    Order by June 17th for delivery before Father's Day - Sunday 21st June

    Ferrari Maximum Chill Gift

    Ferrari Maximum Chill GiftA wonderfully stylish bottle of Italy's answer to Champagne.

    "Ferrari Maximum - an elegant metodo classico sparkler from northern Italy...No connection with the car firm – apart from the name – but it looks the part and tastes a great deal nicer than most champagne." Fiona Beckett, The Guardian.

    1 x 75cl bottle presented in a very smart metal Ferrari branded chiller tin.

    Was £30  Now £25

     

    Ken Forrester FMC Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch

    Ken Forrester FMC Chenin Blanc, 2012

    Complex, full palate showing vanilla and honey flavours and a forever finish. Will age beautifully for many years. This is a premium Chenin but has more similarities to good Burgundy than to other Chenin varietals - the small proportion of botrytis Chenin is evident on the nose and really lifts the aroma.

    Sommelier Award winner 2015

    Was £24.50 Now £21.56

     

    Meinert Synchronicity, Devon Valley 2009

    Meinert Synchronicity Devon Valley

    Deep, densely coloured, brick red with purple tints. Classical wild berry, cedar and cigar aromas are well supported by sweeter, plumy, mulberry whiffs. A big, rich wine that nevertheless already has a silky, velvety mouth feel and despite its power retains a fine and elegant core.

    18/20 

    Nancy Gilchrist - MWDecanter Magazine

    Was £21 Now £18.48

     

    Rioja Reserva, Marqués de Riscal

    Rioja Reserva, Marqués de Riscal 2010

    Aged for 25 months in American oak casks, this is showing some classy evolution, with a smooth, complete nose of spicy, vital fruit. There are no rough edges to the restrained palate either, with dried currants and other dark fruit to the core, underscored by gently spicy tones.

    100 Great Wines Under £100

    Decanter Magazine

    £14.95

    Chateau Bovila Malbec, CahorsChateau Bovila Malbec, Cahors 2012

    Deep ruby colour with aromas of currants and candied peel. Powerful, but well integrated, tannins, fresh minerality and lively Assam and redcurrant notes. Clean and modern.

    Save 10% on any 12 bottles

    £11.75

     

    Cannonball Chardonnay, Sonoma County

    Cannonball Chardonnay, Sonoma County 2012

    Sophisticated nose of lemon curd, peaches, and a hint of pie crust. On the palate, zippy stone fruit and tropical notes, pineapple and soft vanilla bean on the finish.

    Pair with roast chicken, fresh seafood, and light pasta dishes. Also perfect as an aperitif!

    £16.95

     

    Nonino Grappa il ProseccoNonino Grappa il Prosecco

    Soft and floral with notes of almond and green apple which soften to a light aroma of vanilla and chocolate.

    Free UK delivery on orders over £100

    £42.50

     

    Yealands Estate, Black Label Pinot Noir, 2013

    Yealands Estate Pinot NoirA bright, ruby hued wine with aromas of black cherry, violets and savoury spice on the nose. A fleshy palate with notes of plum and spice, silky tannins and a firm finish.

    "An adorable pinot, amazingly soft and rounded, with a creamy, milk-chocolate layer under fresh, ripe raspberries, a toasty-oak touch to the finish. One for duck."

    Susy Atkins, The Telegraph

    £14.95

    Domaine de la Janasse, Châteauneuf du Pape TraditionDomaine de la Janasse, Châteauneuf du Pape Tradition

    Deep red-ruby. Fruit-driven aromas of cassis, redcurrant mingle with smoke, spice and animal fur. Soft, lush and ripe, with enticing fruit and good balance. Easy going, generous and balanced for early drinking appeal. Drink now until 2020.

    £36.50

     

     

    VSOP Castarede ArmagnacVSOP Castarede Armagnac

    Mellow due to a minimum of ten years ageing in oak, more than most XO. This has an amber core with a bronze rim; shows mellow walnut, warm spices, cocoa and prunes on the nose. Delicious freshness and texture on the palate. Presented in a gift box.

    £35

    By Olivia Moore

  • Talking about tannin....

    What is tannin? What does it do to a wine? Is it good or bad? These are questions that are frequently asked. Another question is why tannins sometime enhance a wine and make it taste better, and at other times make it taste dried out and bitter.

    There are complicated, scientific answers to the above, but I’ll leave those to the scientists. I want to try to explain, in simple terms, what this word, that you see so often on tasting notes, really means.

    What is tannin?  Tannin is a polyphenol (an organic chemical compound) found in plants, wood, wood bark, seeds,  leaves and fruit skins. About 50% of the dry weight of a leaf is tannin.

    You also find tannin in tea, dark chocolate, walnuts, pomegranates, acai berries.

    What does tannin taste like? In wine, tannin can give a wine texture and depth. It can also make a wine taste astringent, dried out or bitter. A good way to find out what tannin tastes like is to drink a few sips of a cup of very strong, black tea. It will make your mouth pucker; you’ll feel a bitter, astringent feeling on your tongue, the sides of your mouth, the back of your throat.

    Grape skins

    How do you get tannin in wine? Tannin occurs mainly in red wines and white wines that have been aged in oak.  The tannins come from grape skins, grape pips,  grape stems,and the oak barrels that many wines are either fermented, or aged in.

    Red wines naturally have more tannins, as the grape juice is left on the skins and pips after crushing, and fermented together, so the tannins get into the juice and become of key component of the resulting wine.

    When white grapes are crushed, the juice is run off quite quickly, so there is less of a tannin element. However, when white wine is fermented in barrel, and both whites and reds aged in barrels, tannin will also seep into the wine from the pores in the oak. The same effect happens in cheaper wines, when oak staves or oak chips are added to a tank of wine to give it an oaky, richer effect.

    The most bitter tannins come from the grape seeds ( pips), which is why winemakers are very careful to try to remove these before fermentation.

    Pips and oak

    It doesn't sound very nice, what does tannin do to a wine? Tannin can be both good and bad for a wine.  Tannin is the substance that gives red wine its deep structure, and texture, so it’s important in many wines, and adds a key layer of complexity and depth. Tannin can also help with the longevity of a wine.

    But if it’s not handled well, it can make a wine taste bitter, astringent and very dried out. If grapes are crushed too hard, or grape seeds aren’t removed properly, there will be bitterness in the wine.

    Why do some red wines have more tannins than others? The good tannins in grapes are found in the grape skins; whilst you want to avoid getting grape pip, or grape stem tannins into the juice, it’s the tannins from the grape skins that are more gentle, more complex, and add the character and depth to a wine.  The amount of tannin that a red wine has will depend on the grape from which it is made, when it is picked, and how the winemaker chooses to use it.

    To simplify, small, thick-skinned grapes, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, have naturally more tannin than larger, thin-skinned grapes; sunshine and heat ripen grapes and therefore soften tannins, so if a grape is picked when it’s unripe, the tannins in the grape skins will be that much harsher. That’s why the quality and style of a vintage can vary, based on the weather pattern, and the ripeness of the grapes.

    Grapes such as Pinot Noir have thin skins, which give out less colour and also less tannin.

    Finally, it’s all down to the skill of the winemakers, and how much colour and tannin they want out of the grapes. The riper the grapes, the more integrated and smooth the tannins will be. Pick grapes too early, and crush them too hard, and the resulting wine will be sappy and harsh. Pick them when fully ripe, and balance the colour with the tannin extract, and the wine will benefit .

    Which wines are high in tannin?  Wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz can be very high in tannin. Young Bordeaux, Californian reds, and also South African reds  have lots of concentration of colour and tannins. Shiraz tends to ripen more easily, so the grippy tannins tend to be more from Cabernet Sauvignon, in Cabernet/Shiraz blends. The Italian grape Nebbiolo, famed for its world class Barolos also produces high tannin wines.

    Do tannins in wine soften?  In most cases, yes. If the tannins are green due to unripe grapes, or over-crushing, then they won’t, and the wine will never quite rid itself of that green, sappy edge.  Get it right and the tannins will gently mellow, and slowly settle and melt into the character of the wine, adding depth, interest, longevity and complexity.

    As with everything, it’s all about balance. Get it wrong, and the green, stalky tannins will never go away, and yield to the softer fruit in the wine; but when handled gently and correctly, then tannin is one of the most key components in the beauty and heavenliness of top quality red wine. It adds depth, texture, complexity and that little touch of magic.

    By Angela Mount

     

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