Press enter to see results or esc to cancel.

Look what M&S has “Found”

I was just about to create another of my “Under the Radar” web posts when I realised that M&S had beaten me to it.

“Under the Radar” posts are designed to highlight sound versions of tasty wines that, too often, are ignored because the grape names are unfamiliar.

Not only do the wines they feature often represent great value for money but choosing them will boost your reputation as being “a bit savvy with wine”; and who doesn’t want that accolade?

Perhaps that was what M&S also had in mind when they introduced their “Found” range last month.

Like my “radar” selections, its aim appears to be encouraging folk – in the words of M&S – “to venture off the beaten track and discover new varieties, regions and styles”.

There are 12 “Found” wines from £7 up to £10 and they should serve to wrap the comfort zone of a formalised range from a trusted supplier around the concept of more adventurous wine drinking.

One of the key winemakers involved, Sue Daniels, described the project as “a call to venture further afield” in a way that “builds confidence in pouring a glass of something new”

Here are my favourites from the part of the range that I have been able to try.

As ever, images are provided where possible to help you identify the specific wine in a crowded display and hyperlinks take you to M&S's “Buy by the halfdozen” web pages.

Starting with the whites

Hailing from that corner of northern Italy hard up against the Slovenian border, Ribolla Gialla is a light grape usually brim full of acidity that here has been fashioned into attractive, nicely rounded wine that will delight those who enjoy slightly unorthodox Italian whites. 

Rounded with a lovely clean mouthfeel, 2020 Found Ribolla Gialla (£7 and 12% abv) has zippy yet soft red apple, tangerine and pink grapefruit flavours with firm acidity and contrasting savoury hints.      

And moving to Romania

I have commended this Romanian grape before (Asda have stocked a wine that uses it for some time) but now it is reaching a wider audience with this example – and with one containing a tad more residual sugar just arriving in Aldi.

Floral and ripe, 2020 Found Feteasca Regala (£7 and 11.5%) brings us rounded pear and white peach flavours with touches of sherbet but lots of vibrant grapefruit acidity.

My star white

As one who loves the startlingly different and pleasingly savoury whites of France’s Rhone Valley, I am overjoyed to see the grapes used there (which include white grenache) surfacing in South Africa where they work well either blended with chenin blanc or – as here – just on their own.

Bright with a whisper of honey, Western Cape’s 2020 Found Grenache Blanc (£8 and 14%) delivers melon, quince and conference pear flavours with zesty orange acidity and a creamy texture embodying mint, citrus pith elements and underlying savouriness.   

Changing colour now  

Mazuelo is the name for carinena (carignan) in Rioja – home to this version – where the variety usually plays a minor role by adding colour and acidity to (largely) tempranillo led blends, but here it makes a rare appearance as a varietal.

Rounded and dark, 2019 Found Mazuelo (£8.50 and 14.5%) provides concentrated blackberry and black cherry flavours supported by fresh acidity, eucalyptus and allspice touches and an evolving sweetness – but only limited tannin.  

My star red

This blend uses two grapes from different parts of Greece with the first one (often spelt with an “Xy” at the front) noted for its acidity and colour and the other – mandilaria – providing power and tannin, but the merger creates a synergy where the totality really does exceed the sum of the parts.

Balanced yet with an excellent depth of fruit, 2019 Found Xinomavro & Mandilaria (£9.50 and 13.5%) is centred around textured mulberry flavours supplemented by firm tannin but lively acidity accompanied by chocolate, vanilla and cinnamon touches that add appreciable complexity.

Among the others

Honourable mentions should also go to a couple more, starting with the “fruit salad sweetie” carbonated style of “drink anytime” rosé provided by 2020 Found Vinho Verde Rosé (£7 and 11%) as well as to the sparkling member of the range.

Found Blanquette de Limoux (£10 and 12%) is almost a polar opposite to prosecco with a pronounced mineral and savoury foundation (instead of the extra dash of sweetness much prosecco contains) to underpin its deep lemon and tangerine elements and lively lime acidity.

The rest of the range

Other Found wines that I have yet to try are listed below but do, please, report back on any that you sample 

  • 2020 Gros Manseng (£9)
  • 2020 Moschofilero & Roditis (£8.50)
  • 2019 Nerello Cappuccio (£7)
  • 2019 País (£9)
  • 2019 Cabernet Franc (£10)

Drop by again on Monday folks for the latest on supermarket promotions and to see my current top tips.


Subscribe for FREE!

Do you want every review I write, direct to your inbox, absolutely free?


Comments

7 Comments

Janet Harrison

Tried the Gros Manseng only last night! It is lovely, would be great with spicy food, lots of very ripe peach and great body.
I found the acidity in the Mazuelo a bit ferocious, but otherwise, a great range (as is their Classics range – not had a bad one yet!)

Brian Elliott

Thanks for bringing us up to date on that wine Janet and always a joy to hear your opinions. Gros Manseng is seriously underestimated. I can understand your concerns about the acidity on the mazuelo but felt that the high concentration of the fruit aspects brought everything back into balance. Be great to hear what anyone else who has tried it concludes. I am with you about the classics range – especially the Rioja (absolutely outstanding).

JerryW

Who needed to find vinho verde, or blanquette de limoux, or gros manseng, or cabernet franc? Surely, nobody who regularly peruses midweek wines.

On the other hand, I applaud any retailer who wants to encourage folk to go beyond basic sauvignon, chardonnay, cab sav and merlot. Buying wine in a pub, when we are allowed, is almost invariably a very depressing experience.. what would they do I wonder, when people ask for some Mazuelo?

Brian Elliott

A good opening question but, regrettably, there do seem to be a few people who have yet to find this site!
Your second paragraph put us both firmly on the same page. There are so many lovely (but undiscovered) grape varieties that it is shame to see so much self-limiting. Retailers breaking through those barriers are, as you say, to be supported. Pubs – now that is a different story – but, presumably, what their customers ask for (and about) shapes what they sell.

David Cronin

Always good to discover something different Jerry and like you I applaud retailers who try, I’d also like to think the ‘Midweek wine folk’ would love to hear about them. I once asked for a Carignan in a pub and the girl behind the bar looked at me and said she’d never heard of it, even though it was listed on their drinks menu.

Paul Davies

Both the Pais and Gris Manseng are really good wines.The Found range is very good.Well done Marks and Sparks.

Brian Elliott

Glad you enjoyed them – as you suggest, these are seriously underestimated wines. In echoing your compliment to M&S for this innovation, can I add praise too to those wine drinkers open minded enough to give the varieties featured a try. Their “courage” is rewarded with the opportunity to enjoy some lovely wines.


Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply to JerryW Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.