Everyone is, of course, keen to hear about wines going on promotion but equally interesting is how retailers are tweeking their ranges – and why.
So I went along to the state-of-the-art Co-op building in Manchester to sample some inexpensive “New for 2017” wines and hear their buyers’ comments about them.
Click on any of the bottles shown for an enlarged image to help you pinpoint the specific wines – which are now on the shelves of many Co-op stores.
A favourite brought up to date
Growers there, however, have worked hard to move on and have significantly improved the constituents of their blends – and the acidity levels attained – while reducing carbonation and sweetness.
All that works brilliantly with the gentle, floral components of 2016 Ecsudo Real Vinho Verde (£5.99 and 9.5%abv) with lively orange based fruit and a sweet edge that is derived from ripeness rather than residual sugar.
And a wine re-invention elsewhere
Whites from Italy provide another major success story about wine based re-engineering but here is a relatively new chapter.
Excellent fare is already being produced from once moribund vareties like fiano or falanghina, but how about this version of a grape recently dismissed as “mainly used for Marsala” – grillo?
After a slightly sweet opening 2016 Vanita Grillo (£6.99 and 13%) supplements its refreshing tangerine centred acidity with a savoury – almost saline – depth and suggestions of mint and cinnamon.
South Africa’s take on Rhone whites
Marsanne and roussanne are the obvious start point but – with help from controlled yields and low temperature fermentation – white grenache is catching up fast and this South African example helps to show us why.
With a weighty mouth-feel, 2016 KWV Grenache Blanc (£7.99 and 14%) supplements its tropical fruit influences (peach and mandarin perhaps) with gentle grapefruit acidity and that classic nutty, savoury backdrop.
A forgotten hero gets its day in the sun
Here we look at a variety regaining traction in that country as the true potential of its older vines shows through – cinsaut (without an “l” as the penultimate letter, which seems largely a French spelling).
Along with predictable earthy aromas, 2016 KWV Cinsaut (£7.99 and 13.5%) brings us lightish raspberry and cranberry fruit with discernible acidity but very carefully controlled tannin.
Everyday Bordeaux in action
Step forward then the loganberry and cherry centred 2015 Chateau d’Auzanet (£7.99 and 13.5%) with its limited tannin, minty lightness and dainty prickle of acidity but – admittedly – quite short finish.
All in all,then, an attractive selection of Co-op wines with interesting insights into what is expected to excite attention this year – and five good reasons to get down to your local store sometime soon.
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