Amid all the new or special initiatives featured here of late, the dependable Co-op continues with its cycle of well crafted, three-weekly promotions.
Here are my picks from the one that started last week – and runs through to 21 November.
In addition, there is the usual Best of the Rest along with another of my Top Tips.
As usual, you just need to click on the bottle shot for an enlarged image to help you find the wine in store – so do take your phone with you when you shop.
Chile sauvignon can indeed be irresistible
It’s not just Marlborough and the Loire that do sauvignon well and this really skilfully made white shows that the Leyda Valley – next to Chile’s Pacific Ocean seaboard – produces decent versions too.
Enjoy then the soft and mellow Co-op Irresistible Leyda Valley Sauvignon Blanc (£7.49 and 12% abv) with its pear, peach and red apple fruit, grapefruit based acidity and saline, nettle influenced backdrop.
Later: Sorry, folks; I appear to have been caught up in an excess of irresistibility. There is an Irresistible Sauvignon Blanc (that is on offer at £4.99 –instead of £5.99 until 21 November) but that is a Fairtrade South African version (and is the one pictured) – not the especially tasty Chilean one as I wrongly said on the original post. Apologies for any confusion and disappointment all that has caused.
But then so can this viognier
Aromatic and textured 2017 Indomita Gran Reserva Viognier (£7.99 and 13.5%) has beautiful peach fruit, lime centred acidity and that vaguely liquorice edge with which well made viognier suddenly surprises the wine lover.
A fair deal for customers too
2016 Namaqua Reserve Selection Shiraz Cabernet Fairtrade (£5.29 –instead of £7.29 and 13%) delivers nicely integrated, acidity charged cherry and raspberry fruit and firm tannin with suggestions of aniseed, vanilla and milk chocolate.
Classy, classic claret – once decanted
Do that, though, and the joys of 2015 Comtesse St Hilaire Montagne Saint Emilion (£8.49 –instead of £9.49 and 13.5%) quickly come out to meet you. They centre around soft, rounded bramble and loganberry fruit with gentle tannin and suggestions of baking spice and graphite bathed in those leafy aromas at which Bordeaux excels.
A GSM constituent goes it alone
Leaving the offers though, I cannot move on without lavishing praise on a terrific red from Southern France which, unusually, is a mourvedre varietal – whereas the grape normally appears as an (often, junior) blending partner.
See how 2015 Les Jamelles Reserve Mourvedre (£7.69 and 13.5%) provides rich mulberry and black cherry fruit with chocolate, herbal and cinnamon elements but with less tannin and a softer texture than you would expect from a (normally) powerhouse grape.
Best of the Rest
Here's another unusual stand alone grape
Like that mourvedre, this is another standalone version of something frequently used as part of a blend. The sauvignon like properties of cococciola make it an ideal source of extra acidity in other Italian whites – but this example shows us that there is much more to this particular grape.
Notice, especially, how the quince centred texture in 2016 Wine Atlas Cococciola (£5.48 at Asda and 12.5%) adds depth to the wine without compromising the energetic and vigorous lemon and green apple fruit it also contains.
An undervalued corner of the Rhone
I enjoyed the herbal and aromatic background to the medium bodied 2016 L'Arene des Anges Costieres de Nimes (£5.99 – instead of £7.99 until 28 November – at Waitrose and 13.5%). Equally attractive is the wine's cherry and plum fruit, limited tannin and firm bursts of acidity.
As I have said before, drinking wine regularly is one of the real joys of life but it does need to be done sensibly.
Here are three water based suggestions to help preserve that important balance.
First, try to avoid high alcohol spirit based aperitifs – instead consider a glass of sparkling water. Such fare may be passé these days but those bubbles do add a touch of luxury to pre-dinner drinking without increasing your alcohol intake.
Secondly, alternate glasses of water and wine – not only will that reduce dehydration but you will also reach your capacity for liquids sooner.
I saw a great suggestion on the internet recently. Place your water glass nearer your plate than your wine. Thus, when you instinctively reach for a drink, it is water that you take.
Finally, never slake a thirst with alcohol – water is wiser and healthier and alcohol doesn’t work in the role anyway.
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