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A Wine in a Hundred

The current Waitrose wine promotion, astonishingly, includes reductions on almost a hundred products and runs through until 20 March.

I have selected four items to feature which I feel represent sound quality and particularly good value for money; I hope you enjoy reading about them.

In addition, I am highlighting a further ten or so wines within the same promotion that have ticked boxes for me in the past.

Also included is a pair of Best Buys from other retailers – and another Top Tip.

As usual, click on any picture for an enlarged image to help you find the bottle in a crowded display.

Starting with something quite traditional

Recent developments with Marlborough sauvignon seem to be aimed at intensifying the texture and incorporating more tropical fruit components but this rather traditional version reminds us why we started to love wine from thereabouts in the first place.

While there is some depth (and tangerine touches) to 2017 Tiki Ridge Reserve Sauvignon Blanc (£6.99 – instead of £10.49 and 12.5% abv) it is light and fresh in style with gooseberry centred fruit and bold lime acidity – embellished by attractive suggestions of green pepper and mint.

Even more traditional but at a great price.

White burgundy has many fans – but price can be an issue – so it is well worth heading for the region’s more southerly outposts like Chalonnaise and Maconnais for more affordable options – albeit for wine that is often lighter and less intense.

For a good example of what those areas do well seek out 2016 Louis Jadot Chapelle aux Loups Macon-Villages (£8.99 – instead of £11.99 and 12.5%) with its fresh, floral, soft, white peach and conference pear fruit accompanied by grapefruit and green apple bite, citrus peel acidity and a vaguely chalky texture.

Turning to Reds

Only half as much merlot is produced in South Africa as cabernet sauvignon but merlot is especially good at delivering straight forward, modestly priced wine – even by the standards of a country noted for the great value it offers right across the piece.

Medium bodied with firm, but not intrusive, tannin 2017 First Cape Special Cuvee Merlot (£4.99 – instead of £7.79 and 14%) has appealing soft red plum, cherry and red currant fruit with hints of chocolate, aniseed and vanilla to provide balance and contrast.

Finally, a good, faithful stand-by.

With its multiplicity of grape varieties and wine labels Italian reds can be confusing but Montepulciano  is often a safe option – especially when it offers the uncomplicated and typical style this example delivers.

With its deep, dark cassis and cherry fruit, there is indeed a reassuring familiarity about 2016 La Piuma Montepulciano d'Abruzzo (£5.99 – instead of £7.99 and 13%) which is neatly reinforced by the warm liquorice, chocolate, herbal and cinnamon elements that support it all.

Other good options in this promotion

While this promotion is running, you may like to try these wines which I have enjoyed in the past and, even better, which also have discounted prices until 20 March.

  • The Ned Pinot Grigio (down to £7.59 – from £9.49)
  • Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc (down to £7.59 – from £9.69)
  • La Piuma Orvieto (down to £5.99 – from £7.99)
  • Tenuta Rapitalà Grillo (down to £6.99 – from £8.99)
  • Torres Vina Esmeralda (down to £6.89 – from £9.19)
  • Boschendal Chardonnay (down to £8.49 – from £10.49)
  • Errazuriz Series Cabernet Sauvignon (down to £6.99 – from £9.99)
  • Terre di Faiano Organic Primitivo (down to £7.49 – from £9.99)
  • Les Dauphins Vinsobres (down to £8.99 – from £11.99)
  • Taittinger Brut Réserve (down to £27 – from £36)
  • Lustau Pedro Ximenez Murillo Sherry 50cl (down to £1399 – from £16.99)

Best of the Rest

The great pinot noir hunt

Currency travails and low 2017 yields have made Burgundy barely affordable for most of us.

Happily, there are still a few keenly priced and presentable pinot noirs about – like this one from Romania.

While 2017 Dragon Hills Pinot Noir (£8.99 at www. and 12.5%) may be a tad short of depth, it does compensate with agreeable floral, juicy and soft raspberry, red cherry and pomegranate fruit neatly embellished with sharp acidity and suggestions of clove.

Excellent value sauvignon

Impressive wine under a fiver is pretty rare these days, so pay special attention to this non-vintage Vin de France sauvignon which also has an ancillary 15% colombard contribution,

Note in particular the texture that supports the apple, lime and grapefruit flavours on display in Vignobles Roussellet French Sauvignon Blanc (£4.49 at Aldi and 11.5%) and the lively sherbet accentuated acidity with accompanying touches of savoury spice that provide it with rare sophistication for the money.

Top Tip

Although a foil cutter is not an absolute essential for wine drinking, it does add extra professionalism to what you do.

Watching someone leave a ragged edge round the top of the bottle, fail to penetrate a stubborn capsule with a knife – and, finally, cut their finger – really makes this argument for me.

Foil cutters are a quick and neat way of avoiding looking just as gauche.

Plastic ones can start from £3 but I have found that many of them blunt very quickly and become as hard to use effectively as a knife.

My own favourite is a metal one made by Le Creuset. Admittedly, it can cost you up to £30 but its much longer life span more than compensates for the extra cost.

Remember, though, hold the cutter tightly and keep a grip on the foil as well as the bottle as some capsules are loose fitting and will turn with your cutter.




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Phil bowman

Not able to find the Sauvignon Blanc in Aldi , it either sold out fast or is not stocked in all stores , Shame sounded good …

Brian Elliott

OK Phil ….. I will check availability with Aldi


Hi Brian, Just been into Asda. Found several wines at 3 for 2 prices. I think that makes 33% off.
Some bargains there.

Brian Elliott

I will try to get more information on Asda offers Tony. Thanks for pointing this out

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