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Friday, 14 December 2012

Two Co-op Reds For Christmas

When The Co-op sent round their Christmas offers list, I thought it would be interesting to compare two of their Cabs - one an estimable classed growth from Bordeaux, the other a much more recent upstart from Western Australia.

Ferngrove Frankland River 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Western Australia (£11.99 reduced to £8.99 until Jan 1)

Ferngrove was established less than 15 years ago and I've been very impressed with their wines previously - technically well-made with good, but not overly-dominant fruit, they mix New World ripeness with European complexity and food-friendliness.

This 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon is purple in the glass with black fruit, violets and a mix of toasty spice with liquorice and leather.

On the palate, there is more ripe dark fruit, toastiness and peppery spice, cut through with good acidity and underpinned with aromas of pencil shavings and cigar box.

It feels soft and smooth, yet full and mouthfilling with perfectly ripe tannins and a persistent firmness on the finish.

It is a lovely wine, both technically and stylistically; well-made and accomplished, it is all too easy to enjoy.

Priced at under a tenner, it is, I think, very good value.

Match with steak or rare roast beef.

Ch Belgrave 5eme Cru Classe 2007 Haut-Médoc (£24.99 reduced to £19.99 until Jan 1)

Jancis Robinson describes Chateau Belgrave as "a modest fifth growth in the Haut-Médoc hinterland around St-Laurent inland from Pauillac, now managed by the enterprising Bordeaux negociant Dourthe, which really has produced the goods".

2007 was in general a bit of a wash-out for much of France, so to find any good wines from that year is no mean feat.

Purple in the glass, on the nose there are aromas of cedarwood, black cherries, and sweet vanilla spice. The palate is soft, with perfectly ripe, smooth and mouthfilling tannins, ripe minty blackcurrant and good acidity.

Elegant, sophisticated, and accomplished, it feels very well made indeed - with a good, firm structure - and is drinking really nicely now; a really lovely, harmonious and classical wine to match with traditional roast beef.

The full article by Jancis (a review of the 2005) can be found here.

Conclusions

It is perhaps a little unfair, if highly instructive, to put these two wines up against each other; both are very good and enjoyable, food-friendly wines. Both are drinking nicely now and worth the price for the quality they offer.

The Bordeaux is the better wine of the two - let's not be in any doubt - but not by a huge margin and at £9, the Aussie wine is distinctly more wallet-friendly.

If it were me, I'd have the Ferngove on Christmas Eve and save the Bordeaux for the main event on Christmas Day itself.

Both wines provided for review.
Other related articles
Two Co-op Wines For Christmas
Two Ferngrove Wines at Cambridge Mill Road Winter Fair
Co-op Veuve Monnier Champagne

Links
Ferngrove - website, twitter
Chateau Belgrave - website
The Co-op - website, twitter

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