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Blackberry: It's a wine thing

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.

Blackberry phoneBecause 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.

demijohnStrain 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 Tips

£5.99 and under

There are a few fruity, slurpable wines among the forgettable masses.

Banrock Station Australian Shiraz Mataro 3-litre box, equivalent £4.25 a bottle (3-litres, 4 bottles, £16.99)

Tesco (down from £18.99 until August 16)

Blackberry aromas this time, with flavours of cherry and plum. Jammy.

Spar Italian Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

£5.69

Blackberry, Marmite and cinnamon aromas with flavours of sweet blackberry and coffee.

Costs a bit more, but tastes great

Sometimes a bottle of wine tastes so fab it's still a bargain whatever it costs.

Yali Chilean Merlot Rosé

£6.24 Majestic (£4.99 when buying 2+ bottles)

Wonderfully fruity aroma – strawberry, raspberry and melon – plus light red fruit flavours mixed with creamy apple. More of a light red than a rosé.

Errazuriz Chilean Merlot Reserva

£6.79 Tesco (down from £8.79 until September 6)

Bargain of the Week. The aroma just climbs out of the glass and whacks you one – blackberry leaf, cassis, coffee, liquorice and damp wood – and then cor blimey what a taste: blackcurrant, damson jam, cocoa and mint. This wine is worth all of the six and bit golden splonders.

Casillero del Diablo Chilean Merlot Reserva

£7.33 Asda

Blackberry, milk chocolate and liqueur cherry flavours.

Redwood Creek Californian Cabernet Sauvignon

£7.79 Morrisons

Sweet blackberry and apple sponge pudding flavours, plus a hint of Marmite.

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