If you ask someone if they’ve got the latest blackberry they’re more likely to spout on about communication technology rather than the new thornless hybrid suitable for freezing, jams and winemaking. But fruit-lovers needn’t fear, the common or garden bramble is still common and it can still be found in many gardens (intentionally or not). And if the thought of its tart and tannic flavours make you salivate then why not try a blackberry-tasting Merlot of Shiraz as well.
Because fermented grape juice, more often than not, doesn’t actually taste like grapes. The chemical reactions that convert the sugar into alcohol also turn the simple sugar flavours into more complex tastes of red fruit, flower, chocolate and cake spice.
Red wine made from Merlot, Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon grapes tastes of blackberry, sometimes with a sweet edge. But if the grapes have been grown in a hot climate then the wine can take on a minty freshness that calms the high alcohol hotness that’s often the end result of fermented very ripe, high sugar-content grapes.
But if you like your blackberry flavours a little lighter in style then try a rosé wine made with Merlot grapes – dense flavours are replaced with delicate fruitiness and a hint of apple.
And should you want even more blackberriness then turn 4lbs of those first of the season pickings into a gallon of country wine. Pour a kettle full of boiling water onto the crushed fruit and 2½lb of sugar and then sprinkle on a sachet of wine yeast when things have cooled down.
Strain a week later into that symbol of the 1970s, a homebrew demijohn (still to be found in homebrew shops for six quid or at a charity shop for a pound) and leave for a month.
The result will be a bright red wine with a woody aroma that tastes of, what else, blackberry.
PG Wine Reviews
Sainsbury’s Winemakers’ Selection Tuscan Red 2011
£5 Sainsbury’s (down from £7 until September 16)
Light-bodied red that tastes of apple and blackberry with a touch of spice. Needs food.
Foncalieu Gourmandises French Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
£7.19 Waitrose (down from £8.99 until September 9)
Light blackberry, raspberry and deep chocolate flavours. Balanced with a sweet ending.
Chateau Barthez French Haut-Medoc 2009
A great wine from the newly installed posh range at Lidl. Initially tastes of woody bramble with a strong ale flavour in the background which smooths out into Turkish Delight with light cherry and coffee. Match to steak and chips or a beef sarnie.
Ursa Maior Spanish Reserva Rioja 2008
Light bramble flavours with an underlying darkness.
Dehesa de Quixana Spanish El Ingenioso 2013
£11.99 Virgin Wines
Fruity red with a bit of depth: sweet damson, cocoa and blackberry flavours.
Tweet me a wine question @huxelrebe
© Paula Goddard 2014 www.paulagoddard.com