With details of Asda’s promotions difficult to secure, I don’t often feature their wines but here are four from the company's main list that I consider well worth seeking out.
In addition, I have included a couple of wines from other retailers that also tick a lot of boxes.
Click on any of the bottles shown for an enlarged image to help you pinpoint the wine on a crowded shelf.
Excellent sauvignon for the price
Even in sauvignon hot spots like New Zealand, inexpensive versions can be overly reliant on acidity and one dimensional in their flavour range – so full marks for this well priced example with a beautifully complex fruit base and zingy vibrancy too.
Classically perfumed and gooseberry centred, 2016 Kiwi Cove Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (£7.48 at Asda and 13.5% abv) also provides tangerine depth, lemon grass freshness, minty touches but – above all – a grassy, lime and grapefruit zippiness that is outstanding at this price.
Moving to reds but not straying far
Shifting to reds but not leaving Marlborough, let’s revel in the strikingly forceful fruitiness of a pinot noir that demonstrates why the region is prized for its lighter more aromatic styles than, for example, more herbal and slightly sweeter versions from Central Otago.
Predictably then there are bright and bold suggestions of roses, raspberries and red plum in 2014 Extra Special New Zealand Pinot Noir (£9.48 and 13.5%) to complement its firm acidity (but gentle tannin) and the smooth, all-spice influenced savoury depth it delivers. On the top price edge for this site but well worth the money!
Coming back to Europe
Nearer to home, cabernet sauvignon from Languedoc will usually be riper and more fruit centred than claret but this keenly priced version from down there still offers some nice Bordeaux “taste-alike” features.
Traditional Bordeaux elements in 2015 Extra Special Cabernet Sauvignon (£5.50 and 13.5%) include leafy aromas, bramble and eucalyptus flavours and a discernible twist of tannin but it has its own identity too as the suggestions of vanilla, chocolate, herbs and baking spices testify.
Here though is my top pick
Smooth and full with gentle tannin, 2012 Wine Atlas Cigales Tempranillo (£6.28 and 14%) also has soft but rich cherry and bramble fruit supported by a menthol, clove, pepper and cocoa background. Lovely wine indeed.
Best of the Rest
Rhone with a South African twist
South Africa has a rapidly rising reputation with Rhone blends – and the confidence to try a bit of experimentation- so this one replaces the usual perfumed blackberry centred syrah (shiraz) with the muscular tannat.
With rounded and smooth black cherry and plum flavours 2015 Grazing Hog Grenache Mourvedre Tannat (£5.99 – instead of £7.99 until 16 May – at Waitrose and 14.5%) also contains hints of mocha, liquorice and black pepper with firm acidity but surprisingly gentle tannin.
Modern chardonnay but a bit traditional too
With big, alcoholic, flabby and ripe chardonnay now “so twentieth century”, producers have worked hard to create unoaked versions that nevertheless avoid throwing good chardonnay parts of the baby out with the bathwater.
Here is an example that achieves that rather well – 2016 Mount Rozier ‘Wild Peacock’ Chardonnay (£7 at Sainsbury’s and 13.5%) offers a floral, creamy, smooth backbone with hints of toffee and peach based fruit yet combines it with fresh grapefruit acidity too.
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