Raspberries and Malbec
18 months ago I decided to plant some raspberries in the garden. I think it was a good move, although I didn't realize quite how prolific the 15 canes (three different varieties) would prove to be - we're now facing a raspberry invasion problem.
But of all the things you can grow in your garden, raspberries have to be one of the most useful. They're delicious, you eat all of them, and to buy them would cost a lot of money. Plus they are really easy to grow. Other things I'm growing this year: tomatoes, a salad crop, spring onions, coriander, basil, thyme, tarragon, courgettes. I'd love to grow more. There's something very healthy about growing stuff.
This year it looks like we have a bumper raspberry crop, and I quite enjoy spending a few minutes grazing, selecting the most delicious-looking berries and devouring them. What's interesting is that they all taste a bit different. There are some that are under-ripe, and taste a bit sharp; there are some that are a little over-ripe, and taste a bit soft, sweet and characterless. The key is picking them at optimum ripeness, where there's some sweetness, but also some acidity to keep them fresh and complex.
I guess it's very similar to wine: you should pick the grapes at optimum ripeness, where there's some fruit sweetness, but also good acidity. Easier said than done. The modern tendency is to pick late to get the sweet, lush fruit and then add acid. People have rather differing views on what 'balance' looks like in practice.
Tonight's wine: Catena Alamos Malbec 2006 Mendoza. There's lots of sweet, pure fruit here, with notes of raspberry jam backed up with a bit of spice. It's pure and focused, with really good balance. Yes, it's a modern, commercial style, but it avoids over-ripeness and doesn't taste at all forced. This is one of the wines in the forthcoming Bibendum sale, which starts early july, when it will be reduced from its normal price of £7.55 to £4.55/bottle, at which price it's great value. 86/100