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Everyday Amazing Wines

Supermarkets seem to be encouraging shoppers to use (suitably regulated – obviously!) visits to physical stores rather than joining the scrabble for online delivery slots.

Perhaps, it’s time then to consider what some of those stores have lined up for summer.

This may be a short series however; only traditional early birds Aldi were able to get their Spring Tasting complete before the embargo on going almost anywhere descended.

Several of the less expensive wines seen there will appear in the Monday Top Tip slot during the next few months but here is my pick of what to drink from slightly further up the price ladder.

Some may stretch the “Everyday Amazing” strapline a bit on price but all in this selection fully justify their inclusion on the value for money they represent.

Appropriately for St George’s Day, it includes three English wines.

Cross border comparisons

Some attribute it to different yield regulations on the Portuguese side of the border but I often feel that alvarinho can be more textured than similarly priced albarino – and here is an example of that extra substance.

Smooth and substantial, 2019 Cerqueira Portuguese Alvarinho (£6.49 and 12% abv) has apple quince and pear fruit, good acidity and green herb depth that illustrates my point about texture.

Not a sweet version this time

Although the town of Tokaj gives its name to Hungary’s illustrious wine region, Mad (to its north west) is often considered the wine centre of the region.

Here it gives us a dry version of the grape variety (furmint) that is so often at the heart of those beautiful, sweet Tokaji wines.

 2016 Mad from Mad Hungarian Dry Tokaji (£6.99 and 11.5%) is centred around apple and greengage fruit with lively acidity, attractive texture and a few savoury touches that adds satisfying contrast.                    

What’s this; a white pinot noir? 

But when you think about champagne, it’s not that surprising that pinot noir can bring us still white wine too.

This example from near Bridport in Dorset was, for me, the “Best in Show” at the recent Aldi tasting – beautiful wine.

Zesty and herbal, 2018 Furleigh Estate White English Pinot Noir (£10.99 and 12% but initially only available online) has vibrant acidity to enliven its apple and pear fruit that is also supported by herbal substance with just a whisper of orange in the background.

An English rose or is rosé 

Pinot noir led rosé (from anywhere) is usually worth a look but this one from Devon is even more interesting than normal because it contains a percentage of dornfelder and the unusual pinot precoce (an early ripening mutation of pinot noir also known in Germany as Frühburgunder).

Balanced and soft, 2019 Specially Selected Lyme Bay English Rosé (£9.99 and 12%) graces its well-defined crab apple and raspberry fruit with just the right burst of tongue tingling acidity. 

Moving on to the reds

Bobal is not the best known grape in the world but it does well in certain parts of Spain and provides this appealing version from Valencia that is made from old vines and is given a little extra heartiness by a 10% monastrell (mourvedre) contribution.

Soft yet with mineral edges, 2016 Baron Amarillo Spanish 80-Year-Old Vine Red Blend (£6.99 and 13%) is centred around loganberry, cherry and plum fruit embellished with touches of vanilla and aniseed but freshened up by good acidity.

Next to California

Although Zin makes up three quarters of this blend the remainder is an unusual combination (of teroldego, merlot and the white grape vermentino) but the whole package actually works rather well and packs a major punch at 15% alcohol.  

Smooth and herbal, 2017 The Wrangler Californian Zinfandel (£6.99 and 15%) delivers black cherry and raspberry fruit, sharp acidity – but limited tannin – and a finish that includes allspice and a range of herbal components.     

Finally, to fizz

From the same vineyard as the rosé mentioned earlier, this sparkling wine is unorthodox because a mere 25% of the assemblage is from the three main champagne grapes.

The rest is largely either pinot blanc (as in Franciacorta and Cremant d’Alsace) or seyval blanc (which used to be common in English vineyards but is much less so now).

2017 Lyme Block Sparkling 2017 (£16.99 and 11% but initially only available online) has quince and green apple fruit with sharp lemon acidity which is neatly offset by a savoury twist that adds a real sense of balance.    

Back on Monday guys with the usual cocktail of offers about to begin and tips for what I think is currently drinking well, great value and relatively easily available


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Comments

2 Comments

Edward Walker

Thank you as ever Brian.
I went online with a view to having a few bottles and came away disappointed for what was available, that wasn’t a lot including your interesting opening bottle that I think they said was ”sold out”. And then one of my favourites the Carcassonne Carignan that is only available instore. So I’ll have to hang fire for now until I feel safe enough to shop in person. Would not mind having some kind of delivery even with the limited choice on offer, when I’ve done some research on what might fulfil expectations. Like the ”free delivery” service though!

Brian Elliott

I know it remains difficult to source a number of wines, Eddie, but several MidWeekers tell me that they do what you do and keep a list of what to try when things are easier. Let’s hope that’s not too far away but, meanwhile, keep safe.


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