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“Pick up on the way Home” stardust.

Research suggests that 90% of us are now “top-up shoppers”  who no longer rely exclusively on that mega weekly shop.

Convenience stores are the main beneficiary – and one of the growth areas in the retail world.

So, this post's focus is on promotions at just such a retailer – but one with an ideal wine list for “drop in on the way past” impulse purchases.

Look closely then at the Co-operative’s promotion that starts this morning and runs through until 22 May.

Favourite features also form part of today's post with Best of the Rest selections and a Top Tip on a brilliant upcoming Tasting event – with a special discount!

As usual, you just need to click on the bottle shot for an enlarged image to help you find the wine in store – so do take your phone with you when you shop.

Here is the perfect impulse buy white

Sicily – a mere 100 miles from the coast of Africa – is not the obvious source of pinot grigio with the type of zingy acidity that we associate with cooler climes; but this one will surprise.

Success is achieved by blending PG with grecanico, which is Sicily’s name for the late ripening garganega that – further north – produces Soave.

Enjoy then the light, fresh 2017 Inycon Pinot Grigio Grecanico (£5.29 – instead of £7.29 until 22 May and 12.5% abv) with its zippy lemon acidity, sherbet influenced greengage and ripe pear fruit but unexpected honeysuckle delicacy.

It’s that man again

I spoke last week about Brent Marris (and a wine he makes for Sainsbury’s) but here he is in a much more familiar guise with a signature sauvignon – and one again from Marlborough’s Waihopai Valley.

Floral, fresh and packed full of nippy lime acidity, 2017 The Ned Sauvignon Blanc (£6.99 – instead of £8.99 and 13%) also brings you suggestions of ginger and savoury herbs that underpin its gooseberry and green apple fruit and peach based ripeness.

And so to an impulse red

 Our minds get tramlined into linking Mendoza with just malbec but, in fact, several thousand hectares in Argentina are devoted to tempranillo; here (at a great price) is one of the results.

With limited tannin, firm acidity and a medium body weight 2017 Hereford Tempranillo (£4.99 – instead of £6.99 and 12%) is great mid-week wine – delivering long cherry and red plum fruit,  hints of cedar and chocolate but a neat herbal depth too.

South American “Full Montes”

Across the Andes we find Chile’s Colchagua Valley which is prized merlot country but, as we can see here, the region can also make a good fist of that variety’s classic Bordeaux partner – cabernet sauvignon.

However, merlot look-alike characteristics are apparent in the softness, smoothness and gentle tannin of 2015 Montes Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (£6.99 – instead of £8.99 and 14%) but its long, mint and baking spice elements soon confirm those cabernet credentials – as does its clove influenced blackcurrant and plum fruit.

Finally back to Spain

Roble is a term indicating that a Spanish red has spent some time in oak – but often not very much – so its appearance on the label here tells us to expect brightness and youthfulness but possibly less texture and substance than we normally associate with Ribera.

Nevertheless, 2016 Viña Arnáiz Ribera del Duero (£7.99 – instead of £8.99 and 13.5%) does offer delightful cherry and plum fruit with a background of roses, vanilla and pepper while its spicy softness provides pointers towards its young age and the merlot (with a dash of cabernet) that the wine also contains.

Best of the Rest

Half measures earn full marks

Possibly with one eye on healthier lifestyles, Aldi have introduced three half bottle offerings that provide, as they claim, “two generous glassfuls”. There are two reds (pinot noir and malbec) but both, in my view, were outperformed by this Romanian white.

The well judged acidity in 2017 Pinot Grigio (£2.99 for a half bottle at Aldi and 12%)  gave it an immediate thumbs up and that assessment is confirmed by ripe, peach based fruit and a supporting apple peel texture.

An inexpensive introduction to Bordeaux

One or two well priced, sound but basic clarets are currently on the market and help provide a good introduction to the style red Bordeaux typically brings to the party.

This merlot-led blend, involving only a limited use of oak, is one and is made for Sainsbury’s by a co-operative in Blaye (a slightly unfashionable but great value area at the sea end of the “right bank”).

Notice, first, the typically leafy aromas of 2015 Taste the Difference Claret (£7 at Sainsbury’s and 12.5%) which follows through with minty bramble and black cherry fruit, good acidity, suggestions of cinnamon and a classic graphite influenced finish.

And for a brief glimpse Down Under

If you are interested in how the 2018 Australian harvest is looking, click through to a short video with the redoubtable Peter Barry on his journey from vineyard to winery.

This works best on a desktop rather than a phone but, in any event, do use the pan around facility to see the grapes in the back of the truck.

Top Tip

Wine Tasting events are a terrific way to expand your wine knowledge or experience, without spending a fortune.

Three Wine Men, Wine Gang and the Festivals of Wine events at several locations around the country are all good illustrations – and are usually great (and emphatically unstuffy) fun too.

Formats are becoming increasingly imaginative and there is great new one in London next month which focuses exclusively on pinot noir and chardonnay.

It is organised by the impressive Stone, Vine and Sun wine merchants and features over 60 examples of one or other of those varieties from seven countries. Tickets are a mere £20 (with master classes costing an extra £10) and details appear on the retailers website.

Best of all guys, the organisers have agreed a special entry price of £12.50 for users of the MidWeek Wines website – details at the end of this item.

Stone, Sun and Vine founder, Simon Taylor, says “We suddenly realised we sell shedloads of wine from these two grapes and it was time to have a big tasting … [that celebrates the skill] …. of the many brilliant winemakers we work with”.

Discounts will be available on wines sold at the event and judging by two examples I enjoyed recently should be well worth pursuing.

I was hugely impressed by the combination of richness, oak influenced texture but bold lime peel acidity of 2013 Domaine des Dieux Chardonnay (£15.50 at Stone, Vine and Sun).

It is from the increasingly lauded Aarde Ridge on the southern tip of South Africa and delivers orange, red apple and ripe melon fruit with suggestions of nutty toffee too.

For the pinot I opted for Burgundy (predictably) and was rewarded with the gloriously dense but perfumed (with a gentle tannin wrap around) qualities of 2015 Jean Guiton, Beaune, Premier Cru, Les Sizies (£31.50 at Stone, Vine and Sun).

It also offers good acidity plus hints of clove, liquorice and chocolate that mingle agreeably with its cherry red plum and loganberry fruit.

Those two and much more await wine enthusiasts visiting this cleverly conceived Saturday event.

Now those discount details. Just quote CPFMW18 when booking through the Stone, Sun and Vine website to claim your price reduction.

 


 


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Comments

6 Comments

Nigel

No time to comment. I’m dashing to the Co-op.

Brian Elliott

Obviously a man of action, Nigel but walk – don’t dash – home. Broken bottles make such a mess and can make grown men cry!

Dave Cronin

Hi Brian
Just to let everyone out there know that I’m a big fan of the wine tasting events mentioned in the ‘Top Tip’ section. I generally go to as many as I can, always great wines and a lot of the time the actual winemakers or wine experts are there to eagerly answer all your questions, no matter how trivial you may think they are.
None of the stuffiness just a relaxing way to sample wine and normally reasonably priced considering how many wines you can actually taste. More and more of these events are now around and if you want to know more about wine in general what better way to do it than tasting the stuff. Masterclasses are usually pretty good as well, although be warned it does take up some of your tasting time from the main event.
The ‘Stone, Vine and Sun’ wine merchants event, if you particularly like Chardonnay & Pinot Noir sounds like fun and for only £12.50 I’ve already booked my place.

On the wines from the Co op I have tried a few bottles from Inycon, The Ned and Montes, always been impressed by them and I’ve heard good things about the Hereford Tempranillo as well so will get myself down to our local and pick up a bottle (£4.99 sounds like a steal)

Salud and drink well
Dave

Brian Elliott

Great to hear from you, Dave, and thanks for your thoughts on tasting events. As you say they are anything but intimidating and – judging by the two bottles I sampled – this one can offer fabulous fare.

Marc Williams

Thanks Brian! Wine tasting events was how I got into wine back when I was a student at university. Like you say great way to indulge in lots of wine at fraction of the cost! £12.50 is a bargain! We’ll see if I can make it and will let my London friends know. Cheers

Ps that Ribera Del Duero sounds interesting will give it a whirl 🙂

Brian Elliott

Thanks Marc. The beauty of these tastings is that you can often talk direct to the guys who made the wine but, better still, you can sample a series of wines you would be reluctant to buy for fear of wasting your money.


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