The three-weekly Tesco promotions cycle is with us again and this one runs until 3 April but, since I put the spotlight on entry level wines last time, today’s post also has inclusions from slightly further up the price ladder.
Given Tesco’s well-publicised thrust towards branded goods, it's no surprise again to see big company names well represented here.
As I try to do most weeks, however, there are also a couple of good value wines from other retailers.
Click on any of the bottles shown for an enlarged image to help you find the wine quickly.
Pinot grigio from the southern hemisphere
A mere five bob (younger readers should ask their dads!) reduction is worth having but, more important, is to see how this combination of a top Australian producer, classic Italian grape variety and a warmish climate all work.
Happily the delicately textured 2016 McGuigan Classic Pinot Grigio (£5 – instead of £5.25 – and 12.5% abv) very effectively fuses gentle grapefruit acidity with floral, rounded mango fruit and – unexpectedly – a savoury ginger edge.
Good chardonnay from that hemisphere too
South Africa’s 2015 vintage was just right for chardonnay and this version is given impressive richness by barrel fermentation and by maturation on the lees without dulling its underpinning fruit backbone.
Expect to find, therefore, rounded suggestions of vanilla and sweeter spices in 2015 Bellingham Chardonnay (£8 – instead of £10 – and 13.5%) but nicely integrated within nutty, apple and peach fruit – well supported by citrus acidity.
Rioja at a great price
There are classic cherry, clove and menthol components to 2010 Castillo De San Lorenzo Rioja Reserva (£6 – instead of £7 – and 12.5%) but that is attractively supplemented by a herbal and prune richness with extra touches of mocha and pepper.
Top malbec from one of its best areas
With its dark, dense blueberry depth, it is well worth paying the premium required for 2014 Trivento Golden Reserve Malbec (£13 – instead of £15 – and 14.5%) and accessing the graphite edged loganberry and blackberry fruit it delivers – and elegantly embellishes with hints of tobacco, vanilla and cinnamon.
Cava in top form
There are small energetic bubbles to Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut NV (£7 – instead of £10 – and 11.5%) that nicely support its zesty lemon acidity, clean apple fruit and contrasting toasty backdrop.
Best of the Rest
Astonishing value for money
As the Ebro river leave Rioja and heads towards the Mediterranean, garnacha grapes (grenache) become especially important and excellent versions emerge from Campo de Borja and, for this fantastic value red, Carinena.
Snap up the soft yet dark 2015 Extra Special Old Vine Garnacha (currently down to £4.25 at Asda – yes £4.25 I am assured – and 14%) while you can, and revel in its intense plum, raspberry and blackberry fruit , lively acidity (but little tannin) and attendant hints of chocolate, clove and mint.
An old favourite is back on song
About five years ago a combination of gifted winemaking, climate change and an excellent vintage precipitated a muscadet revival that started to reproduce (and, happily, sustain) the quality and style that originally made the wine so popular.
See what I mean with the smooth and lively 2015 Muscadet Jean Sablenay (£5.99 at Majestic and 12%) that offers apple and quince depth but captivatingly wraps it all in gentle but discernible acidity.
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