With its ‘Classics’ range M&S set out to produce wines which are the epitome of a grape, blend or region. It includes repackaged wines from existing suppliers as well as new wines that buyers had to go out and hunt down. Sue Daniels set out “to find and redefine those lovely well-known regions and iconic grape varieties, some of which have perhaps fallen off the radar a bit, and bring them back and offer good authenticity.” I like this idea very much; at wine tastings – especially blind ones – I don’t really want quirky surprises. This wine is unmistakably Claret. There’s an idea that you shouldn’t spend under £10 to get a decent Bordeaux wine – well this is rather a bargain at £7. Daniels said that the search for the right liquid in each bottle first involved a reappraisal of the region/grape variety. “We did big benchmark tastings and asked, ‘What is a typical claret?… This was the wine it probably took us longest to do…because we had in our heads an idea of what it was going to taste like’”. This Merlot-led blend was created with prominent winemaker Charles Sichel.
Tasting notes: Claret is a traditional British name referring to the red wines from Bordeaux, which have been shipped to England since the twelfth century. Its appearance is deep purple in colour. Ribena (yes), plum & vegetal notes on the nose. Medium length. Medium body. Some intensity on the palate, with a hint of spice and graphite (yep – ever chewed a pencil? That taste) Balanced acidity. Short finish.
Region of Origin – Bordeaux
Wine Colour – red
Price – £7
Where do I get it from? Marks & Spencer
Current Vintage – 2019
Grape – Merlot blend, cabernet franc
Country – France
Verdict – Good wine for a bargain price
Food Pairings: This would work well with rich red meat dishes and cheese.