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6 sumptuous wines from award winning retailer

For a while now, Tesco has dominated the great value, own label wine scene but a new name is on that category’s 2016 International Wine Challenge winners list – see who they are, and what they offer!

After two years with the most winners in the International Wine Challenge Great Value awards, Tesco was beaten by M&S in the 2016 competition.

Much of the strength of the M&S range comes in the £8 – £10 range and, consequently, that is the focus for today’s recommendations – although I have included a red and white from their promotions that run through to 27 June.

However, bargain addicts can keep this list handy for the next time overall multi-buy discounts are available.

Click on any of the bottles shown for an enlarged image to help you pinpoint the wine on a crowded shelf.

An underestimated little brother

M&S Fete du Gris Sauvignon GrisSauvignon blanc’s pink skinned brother, sauvignon gris (for obvious reasons, aka sauvignon rosé) has more texture than its sibling but is less in your face; Chile and Bordeaux are where most of it is found but here is somewhere new.

Languedoc joins the party with the fresh and herbal 2014 Fête du Gris Sauvignon Gris (£7 instead of £9 until 27 June and 12% abv) with apple and greengage based depth, gentle acidity and long, savoury finish.

Familiar face; unfamiliar place

M&S Domaine de Villargeau Sauvignon Coteaux du GiennoisWe turn back now to our last wine’s more recognisable relative but from flint dominated vineyards in a little known Loire appellation – Coteaux du Giennois – just north of Sancerre.

I find 2014 Domaine de Villargeau Sauvignon Blanc Coteaux du Giennois (£10 and 12.5%) surprisingly soft with herby touches beneath its rounded red apple and peach fruit but still with classic sauvignon blanc aromatics.

Speaking of the familiar in unusual places

M&S The Originals Washington Riesling


Of course we all know about (and, sadly, now underappreciated) riesling from Germany but it does get recognition outside that homeland – South Australia is one example but so, too, is Washington state, as we see here.

Behind the fresh acidity and smooth red apple flavours of 2015 The Originals Columbia Valley Riesling (£10 and 12.5%), there is subtle sweetness but attractively embellished by traditional hints of lime.

And on to the reds

M&S Palataia Pinot Noir NewAmazingly, some 40% of German wine is now red with particular emphasis on pinot noir (spätburgunder) which, as in this example from the Pfalz region, can be excellent.

Enjoy then the lightness and limited tannin of 2015 Palataia Pinot Noir (£8.50 – instead of £10.50 until 27 June and 13.5%) with its bold raspberry fruit and lively acidity that is nicely counterbalanced by suggestions of cinnamon.

Back to America

M&S New York Red


If Washington is an unfamiliar wine region, New York state is even more so – but, with help from both cabernets and a French hybrid grape used quite widely thereabouts, baco noir, it can produce tasty and unusual reds like this.

Even if 2015 New York State Red (£8 and 12%) is a little heavy on residual sugar, it gives us bold, flavoursome, enjoyable, cherry and raspberry fruit with touches of chocolate, firm acidity and a well judged dab of tannin.

A rising fizzy star

M&S RioseccoBrasil has long been tipped as the up and coming place for sparkling wine and this appealing version – using the prosecco grape (glera) – suggests that forecasters have called it right.

Mellow and lively Riosecco Sparkling Glera (£9 and 11.5%) has fresh red apple fruit but supplements it with savoury saline hints on the finish.



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