Back in February, MidWeeker John added a comment suggesting an occasional focus on just one supermarket rather than on two or three in each post.
He thought it would “offer different wines at different price bands and make life easier for some of us! More focus, less need to roam, and a bit of a change”.
Given the interest my Discounter Discoveries from Aldi and Lidl stimulate, that seemed well worth pursuing.
So, today, I translate the idea into practice with a focus on Morrisons.
It is timely because one of their wine gurus over the last ten years, Mark Jarman, has just retired.
He often said that Morrisons buying in smaller quantities than some rivals, often allowed them to snap up some great but modestly sized parcels of wine.
And that has certainly worked well – as did his persistence with South African pinotage which culminated in several awards for Morrisons versions of that hard to tame variety.
So, here are a collection of wines that Mark and his colleagues have assembled that should populate a wine aisle somewhere near you.
Since this is summertime, this group concentrates – with one exception – on wine for warmer days.
Better still, there is a “25% off when you buy 6” promotion in force this week in England and Wales with its usual conditions.
But will that, I wonder, be followed by one of Morrisons regular “buy 3 save 25% deals” on The Best wines?
In the usual way, hyperlinks and pictures are used where possible to help you locate the bottle in question.
Starting with an absolute bargain
2021 Soave (£4.99 at Morrisons and 11% abv):
At its top level, Soave – from the sun-kissed hills of Veneto – is a harmonious, complex and minerally example of garganega grapes at their best.
While not quite that spectacular, this is an inexpensive illustration of the tongue tingling freshness and texture the variety can produce even at the basic level.
Uncomplicated with fresh aromas, it delivers textured melon, tangerine and grapefruit flavours neatly combined with good lemon acidity and a herbal background.
That born again star again
2020 Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie (£9.25 at Morrisons – but currently down to £7.50 in Scotland – and 12%):
The muscadet revival continues apace with another excellent version from that unique part of the Loire Valley wine region at the sea end of the river.
It is “sur lie” which means that the wine was aged on its lees (sediment of expired yeast cells) after fermentation to enhance its depth and complexity.
Smooth and delightfully bright, it is built around cooked apple, pear and white plum flavours.
Accompanying components include sharp grapefruit acidity and a pithy depth containing traces of rosemary.
This gets top marks from me
2021 Best Pinot Gris (£9.50 at Morrisons and 12%)
Even though New Zealand and parts of Italy provide delightful examples of pinot gris, I often think that it is Alsace that offers the most distinctive versions of the variety.
It is the extra richness and weightiness that Alsace winemakers create that does it for me – as is typified by this example from the excellent Turckheim co-operative.
Dense and quite viscous, this has soft greengage, peach and crunchy apple flavours supported by inviting aromas with honeyed hints and ripe pear influences too.
Now down to Portugal
2022 Cuba Azul Alvarinho (£9 – instead of £10 until 11 July – at Morrisons and 12.5%):
The minor change in spelling of the grape’s name tells us that this is not a Spanish version but one from just over the border in Portugal.
Slightly different winemaking regulations apply there (the maximum permitted yield is lower) and it is suggested that many of the resulting wines are that bit weightier.
Soft with an underlying mineral mellowness, this example brings us leafily fresh apple, white plum and peach flavours.
All that is impressively embellished by zesty orange acidity and some welcome texture.
A great example of a Beaujolais Cru.
2021 Best Fleurie (£11 – but currently down to £9 in Scotland – at Morrisons and 13%):
Of all the Cru in Beaujolais, Fleurie is probably the easiest for Anglo-Saxon tongues to pronounce, but it does have more important claims to fame.
Its flavours are considered especially nuanced, delicate and finessed and the wine itself is usually ready to drink more quickly that some of its peers.
Aromatic but dark in colour, this version offers us expressive plum, bramble and black cherry flavours.
Those characteristics are joined by lively acidity plus suggestions of chocolate and a savoury (slightly earthy) twist.
A well-priced star form Portugal
2022 Cidade Branca (£7 at Morrisons and 14%):
Hot and dry but with some Atlantic influences, Portugal’s Alentejo region (this wine’s homeland) has a rich mixture of soil types.
Here, there is also a rich mixture of grapes with alicante bouschet providing intensity, touriga nacional adding elegance and aragónez (aka tempranillo) weighing in with lively fruitiness.
Supported by energetic acidity yet a hint of cola based sweetness, this result has a backbone of aromatic blackcurrant, cherry and plum flavours.
Those are coupled with lively acidity while clove elements add a suspicion of spiciness.
Best of the Rest
Here are other Morrisons wines that I fancy many of you will enjoy:
- 2021 Best Gruner Veltliner (£7.50 until 11 July): Brilliantly fresh but flinty Austrian white wine with quince apple and pear flavours that is the star of this small section.
- 2021 Crocodile Diamanté Rosé (£10): Apple and raspberry based rosé with a savoury texture that makes it ideal food wine.
- 2019 Best Marques De Los Rios Garnacha (£7.50 until 11 July): Navarra red wine with rounded cherry and plum flavours coupled with herbal and cinnamon influences.
- 2022 The Best Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon (£8– but currently down to £6.50 in Scotland -): Minty medium bodied cabernet from Chile with blackcurrant, liquorice and damson components.
A Fathers’ Day Treat
Chevalier VS Cognac (£17.99 at Aldi):
Switching away from Morrisons for a moment – and in case you need a bottle to buy (or to drop hints about) for Sunday – hear this news of a cognac sold at Aldi.
An award winner at the International Spirits Competition, it is terrific value for its £18 price label.
Very smooth with a deep pine colour, it features balanced ginger, allspice, fudge and apricot flavours wrapped in sultana, vanilla and other spice aromas.
The restrained use of oak not only adds smoothness but provides complexity too and adds just a whisper of honeyed sweetness.
Tune in again on Monday when other examples of great value wine are, once more, the theme of my latest Top Tips post.
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