Another Tesco promotion starts this morning and provides shoppers with money off dozens of wines (mostly branded options) through until 9 July.
The average reduction is around 15% but they range from 50p off Tesco Finest St Mont (down to £5.50) to a £7 discount on Heidsieck Dry Monopole NV Champagne (dropping to £20).
I have picked out a handful of options from the promotion that I think many of you will enjoy – especially at these reduced prices.
Because I too can struggle to find wines on a crowded display when you only have a name to guide you, an image of selected wines usually appears next to each commendation.
New Vintage of a well established favourite
It may just be a “taste bud malfunction” on my part but I fancy that the 2017 vintage of picpoul is not quite as impressive as previous years – but devotees of the style will still find plenty to love in this example.
Certainly there is a wealth of that typical grapefruit pith depth to 2017 Finest Picpoul De Pinet (£6 – instead of £7.05 and 13% abv) which is neatly supplemented by apple and greengage fruit with fresh lemon acidity and a slightly spicy depth.
Vanilla – but not, apparently, oak derived
Despite a hint of two of vanilla, there is, apparently, no oak used for this South Australian white which – undeniably – is a million miles from the supercharged chardonnay of yesteryear and has that lively gentleness synonymous with unoaked versions.
Smooth and light, 2017 Most Wanted Chardonnay (£5.50 – instead of £6.50 and 13%) has soft, ripe melon and pear fruit, sharp lemon acidity and a creamy texture with attractive nutty hints.
Now over to the reds
Increasingly – and partly because it tends to be more approachable when young – the variety’s influence is growing and, here, one of the region’s best known producers brings us a 100% garnacha.
Note in particular how the fruit is more raspberry and red plum centred (compared to tempranillo’s cherry) in 2016 Campo Viejo Rioja Garnacha (£7 – instead of £8 and 13.5%) and is skilfully bound into a lighter texture with fresh acidity and suggestions of clove and vanilla.
A tale of two malbecs
Dark, soft but concentrated 2017 Cuchillo Malbec (£6 – instead of £8 and 12%) has floral, ripe, prune and loganberry fruit, nippy acidity and limited tannin accompanied by suggestions of baking spice and background minerality.
But for a heartier version
In 2015 Geyser Peak Malbec (£6 – instead of £7 – and 13%) the dominant flavours are a slightly jammy – but very bold – bramble, blueberry and cassis cocktail supported by modest acidity, hints of cinnamon, smooth and savoury depth but only limited tannin.
BEST OF THE REST
Cut through the confusion for an attractive white
Comté Tolosan represents a sizeable portion of South Western France’s patchwork of wine areas of varying status – and confusing complexity. Suffice it to know, however, that this example is an 80:20 blend of colombard and ugni blanc and gives you terrific value for money.
Enjoy, then the gentle, floral red apple and peach constituents of 2017 Cuvée Pêcheur Comté Tolosan (£5.49 at Waitrose and 11.5%) with its good acidity, spicy depth but contrasting sweet touches too.
Conscience and taste buds in alignment
Despite a relatively light texture Arniston Bay Fairtrade Shiraz Merlot (£4.89 – instead of £6.95 until 3 July – in the Co-op and 12.5%) packs in a significant cluster of flavours that centre around blackcurrant and plum fruit but also include savoury edges and a vaguely nutty background.
Tip: How to get the best from ice buckets coupled with Joe Wadsack’s advice on how to cool ice buckets down quickly.
It wasn’t just the sight of celebrities being doused with their content a few years back that caused my lack of enthusiasm for ice buckets.
My reservations pre-date that neat (but, happily, superseded) charity fund raising craze.
First of all, it is hard to pass around a bottle from the bucket without dripping water over everything and everyone in its flight path.
Then, ice cubes only cool where they touch. Cylindrical bottles and six flat-sided ice blocks only have a limited number of meeting points.
Nevertheless, ice buckets do add a touch of atmosphere and can help keep wines that need very low temperatures really cold.
Ensure though that there is plenty of water in the bucket. The ice cools the water and, with its ability to touch all submerged bottle surfaces, the water cools the bottle (and the wine within it).
Wine personality Joe Wadsack has a great trick for cooling things down quickly in this neat little video from a few years ago back.
Its content will delight fans of sherry (which does need to be cold) and chemistry teachers alike.
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