Wednesday Wines – Episode 5

Episode 5 – 29th April 2020

2019 L’exuberance du Clos Cantenac Rosé, Bordeaux, France (£19.95, Private Cellar tel. 01353 721 999 & 

If you are looking for a top-flight rosé to drink alongside the ultra-fine Château d’Esclans cuvées, Rock Angel, Les Clans and Garrus, there is one candidate, from a very different part of the country, which I believe is sensational and it is made from the most unlikely rosé grape imaginable – Merlot.   Coming from the tiny Saint-Emilion Grand Cru estate Clos Cantenac, L’exuberance is a technically fascinating wine that tastes as goods as its name.  Weighing in at only 12.5% alcohol and with 30% barrel fermented in new, second and third fill oak and then aged for five months before release, this is a highly sophisticated creation.  With a lighter framework than most Provençal rosés and a faint smokiness which comes from its brief sojourn in oak, this is both an elegant aperitif wine and also a gastronomic treat.  Working wonders with crustacea and mildly spicy dishes, this is a delicate wine with steely intent and swathed in couture carpentry.  It already looks ravishing but I venture that by mid to late-summer it will be fully into its stride.  Treat yourself with this eye-catching beauty and take a break from the well-trodden rosé path with this mesmerising Merlot.

2017 Château Roc de Levraut, Bordeaux, France (£9.85, reduced to £8.75, Haynes Hanson & Clark tel. 020 7584 7927 &

There is one merchant in the UK whose innate understanding of inexpensive red Bordeaux (as well as the dear stuff!) is simply amazing.  HH&C sent me ten wines the other day to taste, all new arrivals, all from petits châteaux and ranging from my featured wine at under nine quid each by the case, to 2016 Château Haut-Vigneau, Pessac-Léognan at exactly ten pounds more.  Every single wine was spot on.  Covering Castillon, Côtes de Bordeaux, Médoc, Canon-Fronsac, Saint-Emilion and Saint-Estèphe and across the following vintages, 2014, 2015, 2016 and my featured 2017, these wines are all perfect examples of their kind.  All drinking well now, some of these wines will develop further but Roc de Levraut is the youngest in this Discovery collection and it is packed with energy and fruit right now, so I wouldn’t delay.  Buy enough for a year of ‘house claret’ duties and you will be delighted with how this wine gives you everything you need from an open, clean, refreshing, red-fruited and honest red Bordeaux.