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More Handy Own Label Discounts

Mirroring perhaps the Tesco offers featured here last week (which included a sizeable Finest* component), the current Sainsbury promotion also contains a number of their own premium range (Taste the Difference).

I have picked out four I fancy you will particularly enjoy and added a list of others well worth exploring.

This Sainsbury’s promotion runs through to 27 February.

The Best of the Rest has a Valentine influence along with an outstanding value Australian option – for red wine (rather than red blooded) lovers.

As ever, click on the picture provided for a larger image that will make finding the wine that little bit easier.

Down Memory Lane 

Remember that, in the days before oak domination became commonplace, we loved Australian Chardonnay for the smoothness, substance and bold ripeness it brought to the party.

Those characteristics are replicated in this tasty Barossa version but, astutely, it combines them with well executed modern touches.

Behind its caramel influenced, creamy textured pineapple and white peach fruit, 2017 Taste the Difference Chateau Tanunda Chardonnay (£6 – instead of £7 until 27 February and 13% abv) has neat apple and mint crispness supplemented by the type of nippy, lime peel acidity that scores highly with today’s white wine drinkers.

Modern Northern Hemisphere Whites

While that chardonnay introduces a whiff of nostalgia, the next wine – made for Sainsbury’s by the almost ubiquitous Jean Claude Mas – has a blend (grenache blanc, marsanne, vermentino and voignier) that its home region would have considered impossible even a few years back.

Note how the smooth and textured 2016 Taste the Difference Languedoc Blanc (£6.25 – instead of £7 and 13%) injects firm acidity (via apple, pink grapefruit and lemon components) into its quince, mandarin and honey backbone yet adds complexity through suggestions of white pepper, almond and the sweeter spices.

Switching to a Red

Cooling breezes (from both mountain and ocean) give Chile’s Aconcagua Valley a climate that can work brilliantly with pinot noir and, as this example shows, consequently offer the world really enjoyable but modestly priced versions.

Despite a lightness of texture and very gentle tannin, 2016 Santa Rita Reserva Pinot Noir (£7.50 – instead of £8.50 and 13.5%) has long, floral yet subtle cherry and loganberry fruit with firm acidity and appealing touches of cloves and chocolate.

Finally Back to Australia  

Even when Barossa Valley cabernet and merlot production is added together, it is still outnumbered by shiraz by a factor of over 3:1.

Nevertheless, that classic Bordeaux combo can still produce excellent wines – and this is one of them.

Rich, dark and big 2016 Taste the Difference Barossa Cabernet Merlot ((£9 – instead of £10 and 15%) has smooth black cherry, prune and blackcurrant fruit with herbal, nutmeg and cinnamon depth and a hint of cocoa.

Other excellent Taste the Difference wines in this promotion include:

  • Taste the Difference Pignoletto Spumante Brut (£7.50 instead of £9)
  • 2016 Taste the Difference Albariño  (£7.50 instead of £8.50)
  • 2015 Taste the Difference Claret (£6.25 instead of £7)
  • 2015 Taste the Difference Saint Chinian Syrah Grenache (£8 instead of £9 )
  • 2015 Taste the Difference Chateau les Bouysses Cahors (£10.75 instead of £12)
  • 2011 Taste the Difference Cepa Alegro Rioja Reserva (£7.50 instead of £8.50)

Best of the Rest

Oh No! You didn’t forget the card today!

Fear not if buying a Valentine card for this morning slipped your mind – help is at hand!

Pink champagne is ideal to set things right and this is a rather nice – and quite widely available – pinot noir led version which is still over 30% chardonnay.

There is terrific balance to Lanson Rosé Champagne Brut (£29 – instead of £37 but this offer ends today – at Tesco or £15.99 – instead of £19.99 until 20 February – for a half bottle at Waitrose). Its abv is 12.5%.

Behind the wine’s strawberry based backbone (think strawberry opal fruits) and pink grapefruit acidity you can detect rounded vanilla, cream soda and biscuit influences all wrapped up in attractive floral aromas.

Fantastic Value Red

Devaluation driven (and small harvest) price increases will shortly make offerings of this quality for under a fiver the hen’s teeth of the wine world. Snap it up while you can.

With more modest tannin than normal for a big, rich red 2016 Busby Estate Langhorne Creek Cabernet Sauvignon (£4.98 at Asda and 14.5%) delivers lovely soft, plum and bramble fruit supported by gentle acidity but rounded out with mint and baking spice centred depth.

Top Tip

Today’s Top Tip is less about wine than what you drink it from.

Many of those expensive top-end, highly specialised glasses are great but they are not absolutely essential to enjoy modestly priced wines.

Good wine glasses need only three things – and price is not one of them. Simply buy the best value glasses that meet those criteria.

The first is clarity. Avoid those (admittedly elegant) cut glass versions that obscure your view of their content. Much is revealed by a wine’s colour and brightness – so make sure you can see it clearly.

Secondly, size is important. Opt for something that will be around a third full when you pour in, say, a 175ml pub measure. Too small and there is no room for aromas to circulate; too large and you pour more than is prudent.

Finally – and most importantly – comes shape. Eschew flutes -even for champagne. Choose instead tulip shaped glasses that are about half as big again at their widest point as they are at the top.

Make sure though that they are wide enough to get your nose in – even one the size of mine!

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Dave Cronin

Hi Brian
Our wine group have been impressed with the Santa Rita Pinot (very Burgundian in flavour), the SR Secret Reserve Carmenere is a another winner, only seen it at ‘Wine Rack’ chain though
Always on the lookout for an inexpensive Cabernet so will try out the Langhorne and report back.
Might slip the Barossa Cab/Merlot in the trolley as well

Brian Elliott

Dave …….. Good to hear from you and I hope you are fit again. That look-alike Burgundy style you mention struck me too, but with a much more modest price tag

Dave Cronin

Hi Brian
Tried the Langhorne Creek Cabernet, not the most sophisticated or complex Cabernet but hey, it’s only £4.98.
Full of deep concentrated mouth watering blackberries,maybe some plums, chocolate, vanilla and a hint of mint. Not really getting the cedar/woody flavour as much as I would like but it’s bold with a little more tannins than I was expecting.
This is quite a hefty wine but in a way it has a little softness about it. The heat from the alcohol was very noticeable at 14.5% but didn’t detract from what is a quaffable bottle.

No problems in drinking this Aussie again especially at this price.

Brian Elliott

Glad you felt it was good value fare. As you say, it is not the most complex example but really good everyday drinking – especially at under a fiver.

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