Wine region / Country
Merula 2009 (2 bottles)
Aljibes Cabernet Franc 2012 (2 bottles)
Marqués de Griñón Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (2 bottles)
Normal retail price: £81.24
Club Discount Price: £68.86
You save: £12.38 (15.23%)
In Bordeaux as many as 6 red grape varieties are accepted, including Malbec, Carmenère and Petit Verdot, but the other three are more extensively grown: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Sauvignon reigns supreme in the left half of the region, while Merlot prevails in the right; Cabernet Franc, with some honourable exceptions, adds an extra touch of elegance to the blends. Oddly enough, it's quite unusual to find single varietal wines in Bordeaux, and it's much more common for its reds to be made from two, three or even four different grapes.
However, the huge influence enjoyed by the region globally has taken Bordeaux's three star grapes off to travel all over the world and to be produced in many countries as single varietals. With the aim of going more deeply into the fundamental nature of each of these magical grapes, we're offering you three marvellous wines which will enable you to deconstruct the essence of Bordeaux: the Merula 2009, a high altitude Merlot, juicy, rounded and individual; the Marqués de Griñón Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, one of Spain's most historic and highly regarded Cabernet Sauvignons and the Aljibes Cabernet Franc 2012, an aromatic and silky single varietal.
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Young red Crianza. DG Viticultors Penedès, Spain Merlot
Bottle: £7.80 club members / £9.21 non-members
This wondrous wine comes from the Llengua Llarga parcel, on the Mas Sapera estate, 600 metres high. There, the Merlot variety offers very low yields and grows in a cool environment, accumulating aromas and gaining in balance. The parcel is usually harvested during the last fortnight of October, after maturation has occurred slowly until the attainment of succulent grapes with concentrated flavours and smooth skins. Knowing the meticulous care taken by the producers, Pere and Toni, and having visited the estate that gives rise to these Merlot grapes, one can understand perfectly well how such delicacy comes about, but if Pontons is too far away and you can't get to visit the DG Viticultors vineyards, then enjoy a glass of this charming Merlot instead.
The pomegranate and blackberry aromas intermingle with subtle oak and spice nuances in a wine that's a paradigm of elegance and balance. It's a powerful aroma, toasty, hinting at chocolate, fruit in liqueur, liquorice and incense. On the palate it's juicy, delicately spicy and has very rounded tannins. It gently caresses the inside of the mouth, and moves through elegantly taking us to a fresh, long and very pleasant finish.
Meat rice dishes / cured cheeses
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Red Crianza. Bodegas los Aljibes Castilla, Spain Cabernet Franc
Bottle: £8.14 club members / £9.61 non-members
Bodega Los Aljibes is housed in a building that's in the typical La Mancha style, surrounded by 178 hectares of vineyards, at a height of almost a thousand metres. In fact, this is a determining factor in the style of its wines; the strong contrast in day and night temperatures due to the altitude enables a slow maturation which enhances the aromatic element and freshness of the wines. The land is poor in organic matter, with high levels of limestone which confer an extra degree of elegance on the wine.
Even at first sight there's evidence of less extraction than in other Cabernet Francs, as it appears an intense colour but of medium density. On the nose, delicate liqueur notes are revealed with floral and spicy aromas. The palate is restrained as regards the tannic element, as the varietal dictates; fresh, juicy and balsamic, with sweet tannins. Toasty nuances emerge, smoky touches and aromas of olive paste, cooled down by mineral notes and hints of recently cut grass. Rounded, complex yet very easy to figure out, a first-rate gateway to the world of the Cabernet Franc.
Goat's cheese / roast lamb / paté / oven-cooked meats / oven-baked fish
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Red Crianza. Marqués de Griñón Dominio de Valdepusa, Spain Cabernet Sauvignon
Bottle: £18.49 club members / £21.80 non-members
Marqués de Griñón Cabernet Sauvignon is a refined, majestic wine. It has character in abundance and in every sense. The tears are very dense and the colour intense and opaque. The nose conquers right from the start, emitting a multitude of messages hard enough to decipher. It's all perfectly blended in a complex yet harmonious delivery. Hints of toasted malt, dark Porter beer, cocoa, and even After Eights. Coffee liqueur, pencil lead, very ripe black fruit and a surprising whiff of anchovies which seemingly comes from plants surrounding the estate. Broad and long, profound and enveloping. It's weighty but it flows, it's impressive and appears to be endless. Without a shadow of a doubt, one of Spain's finest Cabernet Sauvignons.
Game dishes / wild mushroom risotto / ossobuco
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