blackberriesIf 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.

raspberriesRed 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.

Mr NoirPG Wine Reviews

McGuigan Australian Classic Pinot Noir 2017
£5.35 Sainsbury's
Flavours of blackberry and apple.

Tesco French Cotes du Rhone Villages 2017
£6 Tesco
Softly fruity with flavours of blackberry, black cherry, milk chocolate and spice.

[yellow tail] Australian Jammy Red Roo
£7 Tesco
A good alternative to Ruby Port due to its sweetness. Tastes of red berries and barley sugar.

Costieres de Nimes 2016, France
£8 SPAR
Lots of fruit flavours: strawberry jam, spicy plum, blackcurrant and coffee cake. Oh hang it all, why not add blackberry to the list!

Pulpito Tempranillo 2016, Spain
£8 Tesco
A really nice fruity and velvety red wine.

Villa Longobardi Chianti 2016, Italy
£8.29 Co-op
A fruity red.

This article also appeared as Paula's Wines of the Week on MatureTimes.co.uk

woman drinking roseChilled rosés are light, but still flavourful, and are ideal for sipping on a hot day. That's why more rosé wines are sold during the summer than at any other time of the year.

Lidl's ZoLidl's summer release of 27 new premium wines for its Wine Tour range continues the supermarket's takeover of middle to upper ranking supermarket wine customers and sees a whopping 14 of these new releases having eastern European origins.

red wine stainsThe problem of stains has been vexing me this week – red wine stains to be exact. This rather clumsy oaf managed to knock over a nearly full glass of rather delicious Chianti on to the waiting once cream-coloured carpet below. I don't know whether I was more vexed at losing the ability to enjoy that particular glass of wine or why the home of a wine writer has cream-coloured carpets in the first place. Prompt action solved the stain situation and the need to decide on a replacement carpet.