We probably didn’t need the latest BRC-NielsenIQ price index to tell us that prices in grocery stores are rising sharply.
Wine is no exception – but, as many wines are sourced in dollars or euros, currency problems will probably make that category suffer even more.
Sadly, as average bottle prices rise, the quality of what remains on the budget level bottom shelves declines.
Increasingly, recommendations are indispensable.
These days randomly chosen wine bought on low price alone is almost guaranteed to disappoint.
While wine can never be a “necessity”, a decent bottle of something new (at a modest price) does lift moods appreciably in tricky times.
My Monday posts pinpoint single figure bottles that meet that need because they do, indeed, punch above their price point.
These Thursday ones perform the same task at slightly higher prices where value, reliability and sound quality remain important requirements.
I hope that today’s recommendations will tick all those boxes for you.
As is normal here, pictures and hyperlinks are provided where possible to guide you straight to the right wine on shelf or web page.
Although New Zealand sauvignon blanc retains a massive following, never underestimate those delightful but usually more restrained versions from the grape’s original homeland (France).
This one, from the Middle Loire, is less “shouty” than Marlborough equivalents but also less minerally (and pricey) than many Sancerres.
Textured, with a herbal bouquet, it delivers gooseberry, apple and peach flavours supported by firm grapefruit acidity, other citrus elements and attractive hints of lavender.
2016 Senorio de la Eralta Rioja Gran Reserva (from £13.95 at Wickham Wine and 13.5%)
Gran Reserva is at the top level of the Rioja wine hierarchy that starts with “Generic” versions before reaching, first, Crianza and, then, Reserva.
As this website about that ladder shows , Gran Reservas will have been matured for 60 months in total with at least two of those years in oak and at least two more in bottle.
Unusually, though, this example leads with savoury (rather than fruit) elements that only slowly give way to the wine’s evolving blackberry and prune flavours and the bold acidity that supports them.
Those savoury components include herb, cedar and slate influences that combine with clove and chocolate touches within a smooth and slightly earthy texture.
Great value wine at this price.
The Co-op and Waitrose offers I mentioned last week are continuing.
They are joined by fresh set of deals for Tesco Clubcard holders that are scheduled to run until 17 October.
Unusually, though, these are divided into two parts with about 100 branded wines discounted from 27 September joined by 80 from the Finest range from yesterday.
However, the long running Morrisons promotions seem to have come to an end or are about to do so and the current Sainsbury’s deals will do the same early next week.
Star Buy from Promotions
2019 La Grange St Martin Cȏtes du Rhȏne (£7 – instead of £8 until 18 October – at the Co-op and 14.5%).
Rich and especially velvety, the wine is centred on blackberry and black cherry flavours.
Those components are supported by modest tannin and gentle acidity with suggestions of chocolate and cinnamon to provide an underlying sense of sweetness.
Sound quality Rhȏne at a great price.
Talent Scout Report
Talent Scout Keith encountered a red wine he had not met before and here is what he reports:
“I was on holiday in Puglia in the south of Italy recently and came across a superb red wine that really impressed.
My wife and I were eating out and she had clearly had enough of my usual choice between primitivo and negroamaro.
In desperation my eyes alighted on bottles on the wine list made from 100% susumaniello – which, to be fair, was a newcomer to me.
That turned out to be an excellent alternative to primitivo or negroamaro, both of which are saturating the U.K. market.
Essentially blackberry and cherry, tobacco, chocolate and spices and perfect for accompanying straightforward Italian pastas and cold cuts.”
That ringing endorsement inspired me to track some down and, from the example I tried, Keith has called it right.
Light in texture but with an inviting floral nose, 2020 Susumaniello Imprint A Mano (£16.99 at Valvona & Crolla and 14%) features vivid cherry, red currant and raspberry flavours.
Those fruit elements are coupled with bold orange peel acidity (but limited tannin) and hints of milk chocolate, clove and star anise.
As well as the excellent V&C wine merchants in Scotland, I believe that the Latitude Wine & Liquor Merchant in Leeds also stock it.
Plenty of vacancies folks for other Talent Scouts, so feel free to email me – brian@MidWeekWines.co.uk – with suggestions. Be as brief as you like.
Meanwhile, do call in again on Monday when the spotlight falls – as ever – on Top Tips that offer especially good value at a store near you.
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