The convenience store sector continues to flourish – delighting “buy local” advocates and impulse purchasers alike.
Despite its massive size (compared to rest of the sector), the Co-op probably falls into that category but its wine list can hold its own in quality terms with anything the so-called Big Four offer.
Today’s posts identifies my top picks from the current Co-op promotion which, incidentally, runs through to 4 September.
Other favourite features are here too with Best of the Rest Selections and a Top Tip to give the low down on some of those wine myths.
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.
Languedoc tops the whites
For me, the pick of the whites is a viognier under the Les Jamelles label – a branding project skilfully overseen by the gifted Catherine Delaunay, who was originally from Burgundy, then made wine in California and is now almost part of the furniture in Languedoc.
Echoing a point made in the Top Tip video, avoid over chilling this wine. Doing so gives its otherwise impressive savoury edge unwelcome harshness.
Get it right though and 2017 Les Jamelles Viognier (£6.35 – down from £7.35 until 4 September and 13% abv) rewards you with smooth, floral and viscous peach and red apple fruit with tangerine freshness, a hint of caramel and that white pepper savoury element the previous paragraph mentions.
But it's Spain for the red
Rich and with background influences of roses, 2015 Corte Mayor Rioja Crianza (£6.99 – down from £8 – and 13.5%) centres on silky black cherry and raspberry fruit with good acidity, firm tannin and concluding suggestions of cloves and dried herbs.
Elsewhere in this Promotion.
“2017 Peter Yealands Sauvignon Blanc ……… combines really grassy freshness with herbal tinged white peach and tangerine fruit and firm grapefruit charged acidity”.
Remember, I also had kind words last week about a sauvignon that the Yealands estate makes for Sainsbury’s.
Switching to a red
The other wine returning for this promotion is a sister for the Viognier praised a few paragraphs back but this time taming, and giving finesse to, the mighty mourvedre – backbone to a thousand blends from the Southern Rhone westward.
“Enjoy in particular” I said “the textured smoothness of 2015 Les Jamelles Reserve Mourvedre ………… [that] wraps itself around the wine’s ripe damson and mulberry fruit and attendant hints of vanilla, mocha and olives but [soft] tannin”.
The Sauvignon is £6.50 until 4 September and then £9 while the Mourvedre is currently £6.99 but goes up to £8 on the same date.
BEST OF THE REST
Zingy Hungarian White
This guy was squeezed out from our review of the current Lidl promotion so is definitely a “WIGIG” wine but it is from Hungary’s most westerly and, probably coolest, wine region – Sopron – and uses a grape known over the nearby border in Austria as (you’ve guessed it) gruner veltliner.
No one can fail to be bowled over by the starburst of zingy lime based acidity that is the centre-piece of 2017 Winelife ‘Zo' Zoldveltelini (£5.99 at Lidl while stocks last and 12.5%) but the pear and apple fruit, savoury twist, suggestions of melon and overall freshness all impress too.
Malbec from an unexpected location
We get so tramlined into the France v. Argentina malbec debate that we often forget that other places produce it too. This Californian version is lighter and less complex than equivalents from Argentina but is still an attractive everyday red at a good price.
Light and smooth, 2017 The 405 Californian Malbec (£5.99 at Majestic – but dearer as a single bottle purchase outside Scotland – and 12.5%) has floral cherry and red plum fruit with gentle acidity, little tannin but suggestions of chocolate and cinnamon.
Probably more than most things, wine has so many “conventional wisdoms” that words alone cannot adequately explain.
Here then is a video that (once you skip the initial ad) takes a few minutes out to explore – and, in some cases, explode – a few well established wine “rules”.
Often using really helpful graphics, it considers decanting, flavour descriptors, temperatures, glasses to use and whether it must always be white wine with fish.
Since the academics and sommelier it uses are all American, do brace yourselves though for the breathless enthusiasm our transatlantic cousins do so well.
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