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High Status and Low Prices Can Co-exist

Deservedly, prime results from a prestigious wine region or from top-level producers often attract high price labels.

The premium wines from the Robert Oatley stable in Australia certainly do just that.

So, too, do the stars of France’s Rhone Valley.

However, despite their high status both can still provide impressive wines for the affordable end of the market.

To prove the point, relish today’s “specials” – a soft grenache based Rhone red and a skilfully crafted Aussie sauvignon.

I hope you enjoy them both.

In the usual way, hyperlinks and pictures are used where possible to help you locate the bottle in question.

Great value from a top producer

2021 Craigmoor Sauvignon Blanc (£6.99 – down from £8.99 until 14 February – at Waitrose):

When a great promotion, an accomplished producer and a popular grape variety come together, it’s time to take to the shopping trollies.

Having been successfully involved in the wine trade for 50+ years, Robert Oatley is almost wine royalty and the Craigmoor label is one of his current brands.

Although his team uses several wine regions’ output to create this wine, it neatly captures the Australian style of more subdued sauvignon than typical NZ versions.  

Restrained yet typically grassy, it exhibits green apple, lemon and tomato leaf flavours given vibrancy by lively acidity.

Pleasing contrast is provide though by attractive traces trace of honey and passion fruit.

Humble category but terrific wine

2021 Cȏtes du Rhȏne (£6 at the Co-op): 

Although at the lowest level of the Rhȏne Valley red wine hierarchy, carefully chosen Cȏtes du Rhȏnes can represent superb value for money.

This brilliantly priced, grenache led (74%) illustration offers exactly that.

Medium bodied but with constrained tannin, it has soft plum, cherry and blackcurrant flavours and a thrust of acidic freshness.

Here, those elements are combined with hints of black pepper, caramel, orange peel, ginger and clove.

See you again on Thursday when I take a look at new arrivals from the Porta 6 brand.

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Hi Brian

The Co-op Côte is a very quaffable drop, especially for the reasonable price. Another in their range which is generally good value.

Brian Elliott

It certainly outperforms more expensive options and, as you say Carl, is part of an impressive range. Be interesting to see whether that changes given the announcement yesterday that their head wine man, Simon Cairns, is leaving the business.

Keith Evans

Nice recommendation of the Craigmoor SB today Brian. I agree it’s a welcome change from the in-your-face style of NZ sauvignons although I predictably tend to go to the Loire for something a little more subdued. Mind you the Champteloup Touraine Sauvignon Blanc in Waitrose we had recently seems to be going in the other direction. Anyway, bought and consumed the Craigmoor within 8 hrs of reading your recommendation; a decent accompaniment to seared tuna steaks and salad.

Brian Elliott

Hi Keith…. I think that is a record – 8 hours from publication to consumption – and glad it all worked well. I fancy there is a hierarchy of sorts developing with sauvignon acidity. At the intense end, obviously, is Marlborough followed (roughly in order) by South Africa, Chile and the Loire. However, as you suggest, there are outliers in all regions and where does Bordeaux fit anyway?

Keith Evans

And not forgetting the Côtes De Gascogne imitators such as the Plaimont Côtes De Gascogne Colombard Sauvignon Blanc in Sainsburys (ôtes-de-gascogne-colombard-sauvignon-blanc-75cl) that was recently reduced to £6.50 and Waitrose Côtes de Gascogne Les Collines de Luzanet Sauvignon Blanc ( recently on offer at £5.99 which are great VFM when reduced

Brian Elliott

True enough. France has a much broader choice of sauvignons that many folk imagine.

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