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This week’s top tips and current promotions

My first Top Tips of 2021 include an irresistible Pinot Noir and a Loire Valley Muscadet. And for those of you firmly opting out of Dry January, below is a round-up of new year wine promotions at four of the big supermarkets.

2019 Irresistible Casablanca Valley Pinot Noir (£7 – instead of £8 until 2 February – at the Co-op)

Chile has a good range of dependable but inexpensive wines including some excellent value Pinot Noir produced in cooler coastal regions like Casablanca.

This lovely example contains textured raspberry, cherry and plum fruit embellished with firm tannin, lively acidity and hints of cocoa and cinnamon.

2019 Calvet Muscadet (£5.95 at Sainsbury’s)

It's good to see Muscadet (white wine from the sea end of France’s Loire Valley) back on form after several patchy years earlier this century.

This one is a particularly good illustration, exhibiting soft yet subtle pear and green apple flavours with fresh, sherbet style lime acidity and just a hint of peach.

Current promotions

  • Tesco: their special offers apply to a number of branded and own-brand wines and are expected to run until 25 January.
  • Sainsbury’s: the current promotion ends tomorrow but a new set of offers seem likely to start on 20 January.
  • Asda: a 2 for £9 deal on some of the usual suspects is running alongside their wider RollBack discounts.
  • Morrisons: is offering discounts across their range as well as a 2 for £10 offer which is expected to run until 26 January. *My Top Tip from this promotion is The Best Nerello Mascalese which drops from £7.75 to £6 until the expiry date shown.*

Drop in again on Thursday when I look at what to drink for Burns Night (on 25 January), including recommendations for wines that work with other spicy food too.

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Richard Wyndham

Happy new year, Brian!
I used to find co-op recommendations frustrating, as the shops in Suffolk rarely stock the wines. However a search for co-op wines will lead to a site where you can find stockists of a given wine. In the case of the Chilean Pinot Noir, the nearest stockist is a Colchester store 16 miles away. Very useful.
Quality of Muscadet seems very good these days. I found the Aldi sur lie example at £5.99 brilliant value.
Always look forward to your recommendations.

David Cronin

Think the search function on the Co op website is excellent, my local hasn’t got a great selection so I find myself using it quite a bit to find certain wines.
By the way, the Chilean Pinot is excellent.

Brian Elliott

Thanks for the endorsement about the Co-op pinot. While it will never rival superstar Burgundies, it it terrific value for the price and a great illustration of what the variety does well.

Brian Elliott

Hi Again Richard – good to hear from you as always. I will pass on those comemnts to the Co-op as theya re keen to make this online information fscility work. As you say, it is great to see a Muscadet revival – a combination, I suspect, of climate change and more winemakers going out to see what happens elsewhere.

Eddie Walker

Hi Brian
Good to hear about the Chilean Pinot that Dave endorses too, and the fact there is yet another decent Muscadet with this Calvet offering at Sainsbury’s, that will on a 25% off buy-6 offer, if we ever get another one soon, come in at £4.50 … that seems to me astonishing. As Mr Wyndham says the Aldi Muscadet sur Lie is brilliant value… I love it. And nice that these wines that I have a particular fondness for are so readily available for not a lot of money.
Best now … Eddie.

Brian Elliott

Yes, Prices generally are on the rise so a little respite like these well priced Muscadets are welcome indeed. I am pressing supermarkets even harder for details of 25% off when they are about to begin so I can include references to them with the Top Tips

Ron Gourlay

Hello Brian
Thought I would chip in with my two pence worth regarding the Coop Casablanca Valley Pinot Noir. I remember drinking this wine 3/4 years ago and it was an excellent bottle of red then so thanks for the reminder. We opened a bottle tonight and were not disappointed, full of fruit with a nice balance of tannin and acidity, extremely drinkable and moreish. Our local Coop only had 2 bottles of the 2019 vintage the rest being 2020. Do you have any thoughts on this vintage? I also enjoyed your recommendation of Aldi’s Estevez Chilean Pinot Noir, a great buy at the price.
Regards Ron

Brian Elliott

Yes always pleased to hear thoughts on wines recommended – and glad that 2019 vintage Co-op pinot and the Aldi version hit the spot for you. Modestly priced pinot noir is really elusive. I have not tried the 2020 vintage from the Co-op yet and have had only one report from a subscriber so will be pleased to hear your verdict.

Eddie Walker

Hi again Brian
Have now had both of these and can report … wow! … that Muscadet for the money especially is a tremendous find. Just stuck another bottle on my Sainsbury’s order this week. And the Pinot Noir too was deliciously up-front fruity with our early haggis supper yesterday evening! Not quite the best food pairing I would suggest, just wanted to try it, so just a small glass saving the rest in the fridge for today/tomorrow. My Co op just 350m away had it at £7. There was more on the shelf but can I ask Brian, would you choose the £9.99 NZ-PN at Aldi as the better of these two offerings??
Best as ever … Eddie.

Brian Elliott

Hi Eddie – good to hear from you as ever and glad that both of those wines worked for you. Pinot noir is very much down to personal taste but I like the extra density that Chile is currently achieving and so that would probobly just edge it towards the Co-op version. Thare is not much in it though …… Best … Brian

Ben Smith

I had a bottle of the 2020 Co-op Pinot last week and it was excellent – bright fruit, all round good character. I was surprised that the ’20s were here already but very tasty!

Brian Elliott

Ah, Good! I was waiting for a comment on that new vintage versions as I have yet to try it. Thanks for being a pioneer and I am glad to hear that it continues to excite; reds sometimes take a few months to get into their stride.

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