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6 Great value High Street Wines

Take a look at this handful of nicely structured yet good value wines – half of them on promotion - from two of the best known High Street names.

To give you a broader than usual picture of current promotions, today’s selections mix wines from M&S and Sainsbury’s; they have two things in common – all are (a) excellent value and (b) wines you will almost certainly enjoy.

The commendations are a mixture of on-going prices and time-limited discounts; if you click on any bottles you can get an enlarged image that will help you pinpoint the wine on a crowded shelf.  

Unexpectedly remarkable!

 Mesta Organic Airén
Mesta Organic Airén

Often the airen grape simply produces unremarkable (code for “dull”) Spanish whites but here the combination of vineyard, altitude and skilled winemaking has created something ……. well ……remarkable.

Light and fresh, 2014 Mesta Organic Old Vine Airén (£6 – instead of £8 until 1 March – at M&S) has a ripe apple and grapefruit base with firm acidity, limited alcohol (11.5%) and a touch of spice.

A neglected family member

Alsace Pinot Blanc
Alsace Pinot Blanc

Further north in Alsace, we find an unsung member of the pinot family (dwarfed by its grey and black cousins!) and one of the few grape varieties to work with egg dishes

Enjoy the apple and pear texture, savoury spice background but lively prickle of acidity that converge nicely in 2014 Calvet Alsace Pinot Blanc (£6 – instead of £8 until 23 February – at Sainsbury’s).

A familiar Italian red

Valpolicella Valpantena
Valpolicella Valpantena

The region around North Eastern Italy’s Lake Garda produces wines of discernibly different weights – ranging from imposing Amarone to much lighter “house wines” and some, like this, in between.

Although medium bodied, perfumed and fresh 2014 Valpolicella Valpantena (£8.00 at M&S) has appreciably more depth than many versions; it also derives substance from its firm touches of tannin and the savoury edge that adds complexity to its minty, cinnamon influenced cherry fruit.

Meanwhile back in Spain.

La Niña Roja
La Niña Roja

By law Gran Reservas must be at least five years old and have spent two or more years in oak; see the effect in this example which, despite the name similarity, is not Rioja – it is from Cariñena and is 60% cabernet sauvignon.

Perhaps reflecting its primary grape, the fruit in 2007 La Niña Roja Gran Reserva (£5.50 – instead of £7 until 23 March – at Sainsbury’s) is blackberry and blueberry but embellished with touches of eucalyptus, vanilla and rosemary, mellow acidity and a well judged tannic edge.

A port grape branches out

Touriga Nacional
Touriga Nacional

Meanwhile over in Portugal a classic port grape – touriga nacional – not only takes on a solo role but, here, is grown in the more southerly Tejo region rather than the Duoro Valley.

That transition has gone well for the robust and concentrated 2012 Tericus Touriga Nacional (£8 at M&S) yielding up red wine with smooth, ripe, blackberry and dark plum fruit, an accomplished tannin acidity balance and a backdrop combining mint, bergamot and graphite centred minerality.

…… And finally over the Atlantic


We know quite a lot about Argentina and the great value wines it produces – but did you know that the South American version of bonarda is almost as plentiful there as is malbec?

You get them both in 2015 Butcher’s Block Bonarda-Malbec  (£6.00 at M&S) which results in lightly textured, gently floral wine with strawberry and cherry fruit, soft tannins but underlying touches of clove and sage too.





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