Another round of Waitrose promotions is under way – and runs through to 14 May.
It contains no fewer than 150 discounted lines right across the price ranges but I have picked out four to receive star treatment – especially because of the value for money they represent.
A further dozen are also highlighted as deserving your attention.
In addition to that wealth of wine information, today’s post also contains a bumper Sunset Corner feature, the usual Best of the Rest selections and a Top Tip that may surprise.
Use the pictures next to the description of a wine to help you find it quickly on a crowded display.
Magic Bullet Selection
Until very recently Costières de Nîmes was included in the Languedoc wine region but, despite being hotter than other parts of its new home, it demonstrates beautifully its Rhone Valley credentials with this skilfully executed typical Rhone blend of grenache, syrah and mourvedre.
Medium textured, herbal with a whiff of camphor, 2016 L'Arène des Anges Costières de Nîmes (£5.99 – instead of £7.99 until 14 May – and 13.5% abv) has cherry and plum fruit with nippy acidity, firm tannin and touches of vanilla, clove and oregano.
As regular MidWeekers will know, the “Magic Bullet” choice (like its equivalent in the medical profession – effective solutions without side effects) is especially noteworthy because it tastes good without the disadvantage of costing a lot.
And another great value red
The Tempus Two operation was created almost 20 years ago by the McGuigan family as a means of drawing in good quality fruit from several Australian regions and making great value but consistently sound wine from it.
This red is certainly one of its success stories.
Enjoy the bold, juicy blackcurrant and raspberry fruit exhibited by 2017 Tempus Two Silver Series Cabernet Sauvignon (£5.99 – instead of £7.99 and 13%) and adroitly supported by gentle tannin, a long, nutty finish and suggestions of cocoa, baking spice and mint.
Switching to white
Yes, I know I preach about riesling a lot but anyone doubting the quality of modern German versions need look no further than this great value, dry option from the Pfalz – the country’s biggest, driest and sunniest wine region.
Note the lightness and freshness of 2017 Kendermanns Special Edition Riesling (£5.99 – instead of £7.49 and 12.5%) with its zesty apple fruit delightfully underpinned by lively lime and tangerine acidity yet still unmistakably riesling.
Step up a pound or so for another classic
I acknowledge that I have praised this white before but £8 is a great price for an object lesson from Gisborne in New Zealand in how the judicious use of oak smoothes and enhances chardonnay without dominating it.
Ripe melon fruit with evolving peach characteristics form the foundation of 2017 Paikea Chardonnay (£7.99 – instead of £9.99 and 13.5%) but this also has gentle acidity coupled with a nutty depth containing suggestions of vanilla and caramel.
Other good options
In addition to those star choices, here are a dozen others included in this promotion which I have recommended (or, at least, enjoyed) in the past.
- Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc – Down from £9.69 to £7.69
- The Ned Sauvignon Blanc – Down from £10.99 to £7.99
- Jackson Stich Sauvignon Blanc – Down from £12.99 to £8.49
- St Michael-Eppan Pinot Grigio – Down from £11.99 to £8.99
- Felsner Gruner Veltliner Moosburgerin – Down from £11.99 to £8.99
- Mme. Claude Parmentier Pinot Noir – Down from £8.69 to £6.49
- Crozes Hermitage Hauts de Pavieres – Down from £12.79 to £9.49
- Norton Winemaker's Reserve Malbec – Down from £12.99 to £9.69
- Waitrose In Partnership Chianti Classico Riserva – Down from £15.99 to £11.99
- Altos Las Hormigas Malbec Terroir – Down from £15.99 to £11.99
- Rustenberg John X Merriman – Down from £15.99 to £11.99
- L'Atzar Cava Reserva – Down from £10.99 to £7.99
BEST OF THE REST
Great example at a terrific price
Regular MidWeekers will know I often warn that viura grapes (the normal foundation of white Rioja) have Goldilocks tendencies (sometimes very good but…..).
Well, here is a well priced version that is rather tasty – 2018 Vina del Cura Rioja Blanco (£5.25 at Tesco and 12.5%) which has a light texture, attractive quince and green apple fruit and, above all, vibrant, clean lime based acidity.
Unfamiliar perhaps but worth getting better acquainted
While not as well known as negroamaro or primitivo, the nero di troia variety is an important grape in Southern Italy (where it used to be called uva di troia) adding depth and colour to many blends.
It goes it alone, though, in 2016 Nero di Troia (£5.99 at Aldi and 13.5%) and makes a great fist of producing soft, medium bodied red wine with classic red fruit components neatly supported by good acidity, gentle tannin and touches of clove.
Our Sunset Corner focus this week is on Morrisons where a four week promotion period comes to an end on Wednesday (30 April). Here are a few of its contents
All these wines are “subject to availability” and prices may change – the “instore price” is the final word.
Minimum pricing laws mean that what you pay may differ slightly in Scotland.
These details are for information and, unlike commendations elsewhere on this site, are not necessarily endorsements for the products.
- Morrisons The Best Nero D' Avola is down to £5.50 – from the usual £6
- Root 1 Carmenere is down to £5.50 – from the usual £8
- Italia Primitivo is down to £6 – from the usual £7.25
- Workshop Mastercraft Shiraz is down to £9 – from the usual £11
- Cono Sur 20 Barrels Pinot Noir is down to £13 – from the usual £16.50
- Grahams Crusted Port is down to £16 – from the usual £19
- Root 1 Sauvignon Blanc is down to £5.50 – from the usual £8
- Ian Botham All – Rounder Chardonnay is down to £6 – from the usual £7.75
- Morrisons The Best Douro White is down to £6 – from the usual £8
- Morrisons The Best Fairtrade Chardonnay is down to £6 – from the usual £7
- Morrisons Best Western Australian Chardonnay is down to £6.50 – from the usual £8
- Morrisons The Best Riesling is down to £6.50 – from the usual £8.25
- Mud House Sauvignon Blanc Rosé is down to £7 – from the usual £8.75
- Morrisons The Best Albarino is down to £7 – from the usual £8
- Morrisons Best New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is down to £7.25 – from the usual £8
- Workshop Mastercraft Sauvignon Blanc is down to £8 – from the usual £10
Tip: If you enjoy a little extra sweetness in your reds, here are a couple of off-dry versions for you to consider – along with a rather surprising newcomer.
Several MidWeekers tell me how fond they are of the breed of off-dry reds with higher residual sugar levels than you would normally expect.
Put in context, though, the degree of sweetness involved is not enormous and broadly falls within the range for, say, “Extra Dry Prosecco”.
The trail blazer was the Gallo operation’s Apothic Red from California but this has been followed by Spain’s plum and cassis centred The Duke.
Asda have Apothic at £7.50 instead of £9 from tomorrow while Morrisons currently sell The Duke (which traditionally has slightly less sugar) at £8 – but it is frequently on offer.
The genre often creates wine that is dense in texture and the blend of grape varieties used tends to accentuate that.
I mention it now because Apothic has a new – and interestingly conceived – partner: 2016 Apothic Inferno (£11 – instead of £13 until 30 April – at Sainsbury’s).
This is a limited release that has been matured in traditional oak barrels but then given a couple of months in barrels previously used for whiskey (sic).
The result is a rich, concentrated wine with blackberry and mulberry fruit, soft tannin, reasonable acidity and touches of chocolate.
Equally though, its high alcohol (16% abv) does give it a hot finish and the whiskey barrels impart clear (and unfamiliar in wine) suggestions of cereal and barley sugar.
Although almost certainly not fare for purists, I can see how the original Apothic would work for “without food” drinking but, personally, I have never found the match with chocolate that producers of this style claim.
Nevertheless, this new one could come into play at the end of a meal especially for folk who prefer a whisky digestif to port.
Full marks to Gallo though for this imaginative piece of winemaking as it is only by continually challenging convention that innovation and evolution can work.
That generalisation is surely valid even if it makes traditionalists a bit sniffy!
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