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7 Steps Beyond Finest

Tesco’s Finest* range usually brings us reliable, well made wine but, this time, I have walked past that shelf to give my thoughts on some of the other bottles currently on promotion.

A new three weekly cycle of Tesco promotions began last week and – as usual – offers some great value Finest* wines but, this time, I am confining myself to good options from outside that particular range.

Although the discounts shown end on 27 October, the judgements about the wines themselves should hold good until at least Christmas.

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

Great value, classy white Rhone

Les Dauphins White Rhone
Les Dauphins White Rhone


Regular Midweekers will know that I have a high regard for Rhone whites and the food-friendly savoury depth that they bring to the party.


Enjoy then the vaguely peachy, White Grenache dominated 2013 Les Dauphins Cotes du Rhone Reserve Blanc (£5.75 – instead of £7.75) with minty, spicy touches to complement its rounded grapefruit acidity.

A cross-border take on a current hotshot

Tesco Alvarinho Pouco ComumWhile North Western Spain’s albarino is very much a wine of the moment, excellent (and often more textured) versions are also produced over the border in Northern Portugal.


The fresh and smooth 2013 Pouco Comum Alvarinho (£6.99 instead of £8.99 – but stocks are falling fast) is one of them with its hints of pear and honey that are nicely integrated with citrus acidity and a savoury spice edge.

Softly spoken Oz chardonnay

William Hardy Chardonnay
William Hardy Chardonnay

Forget all those preconceptions about shouty, oak-fuelled Australian chardonnay, this is elegant and balanced fare from a cooler part of South Australia.


Creamy yet bright and soft, 2014 William Hardy Signature Chardonnay (£6.66 instead of £9.99) harmoniously combines its muted oak and vanilla components with soft, tropical fruit flavours and subtle tangerine based acidity.

Something to crow about

The label on the shelf may differ
The label on the shelf may differ


My six pound choice among the reds is from the Chianti heartlands (“Classico”) – as the black rooster label tells you – and has many characteristics that are indeed classic.


Traditionalists will enjoy the long and solidly textured 2011 Piccini Chianti Classico (£6 instead of £8.99) with its nutty, black cherry fruit, chewy tannins and acidic balance even if it never quite attains the depth of expensive versions.

Here is my star buy

Marques Casa Concha Syrah
Marques Casa Concha Syrah

For me, the top marks in this collection go to a beautifully rich red from the Concha Y Toro stable that shows just how well Chile does with syrah.


2011 Marques De Casa Concha Syrah (£8 instead of £12) brings you dense blackberry and textured elderberry fruit, measured touches of acidity and tannin with black pepper and graphite influenced texture to add smoothness and depth.

What’s this – off-dry red?

Apothic Red
Apothic Red

Yes – the trend started with this version from California’s Gallo team which sells well in the US and – with residual sugar level on a par with much prosecco – is not actually seriously sweet.


Purists may still shudder but 2012 Apothic Red (£7 instead of £10) does offer big mulberry fruit with blackcurrant acidity but only modest tannin, and enough sweetness to be detectable but not cloying.

To finish in style

Taittinger Brut Reserve
Taittinger Brut Reserve

One 2015 “first footer” to our house openly admitted “I would have arrived earlier if I had known we were drinking Taittinger!” and the current £10 discount will help you see why.

From the opening busyness of its bubbles, Taittinger Brut Reserve Champagne (£26.99 instead of £36.99) brings you structure and a stylish convergence of citrus, floral and brioche influences

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