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A four country Mediterranean cruise

What's not to love about this collection of the unusual, the historical and the traditional (but with a twist) - especially as prices start at £5.32

Waitrose is good at finding impressive wine on “the path less travelled” as these well-made, great value selections from its current promotion testify. If there is no store near you, I have found the online Waitrose Cellar service to work very well.

These specific promotions expire on 21July but my judgements on the wines themselves should hold good for at least three months from the date of the post.

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

An unsung hero comes good

Crisp with apricot depth
Crisp with apricot depth

Apart from its role in cava, the macabeo grape (aka viura) is not universally popular but, with painstaking vineyard activity, it can create really distinctive and attractive white wine.

Here, for instance, in the crisp and savoury 2011 Castillo La Paz Macabeo Verdejo (£5.32 instead of £7.99) it is blended with verdejo to deliver wine with apricot centred depth, orange based acidity and touches of vanilla and sweeter spices.

Vote “Yes” to this Greek masterpiece

Delicate yet zingy dry rosé
Delicate yet zingy dry rosé

In a more topical part of the Mediterranean, Greece has also been imaginative with an indigenous grape – making a terrific dry and delicate rosé from the rich and complex xinomavro.

The light and floral 2014 Twin Sails Xinomavro Greek Rosé (£5.99 instead of £7.99) has crisp red currant flavours with a backdrop of softer crab apple jelly influences but given a dramatic kiss of life with zingy Granny Smith apple acidity.

Great Everyday Italian Red

Blackberries and cinnamon
Blackberries and cinnamon

Puglia in the heel of Italy does a terrific job with primitivo (now confirmed by DNA as California’s zinfandel).

Bright yet medium bodied, 2014 Italia Primitivo (£5.59 instead of £7.49) gives us straightforward blackberry and raspberry fruit, balanced acidity, and a vaguely earthy backdrop that includes hints of vanilla and cinnamon too.

Chianti with a gentle touch

Chianti with a softer centre
Chianti with a softer centre

Moving up the country and up the density stakes too, seek out a pleasing and well priced chianti.

The chocolate, herbal and vanilla influenced 2013 Cerro del Masso Poggiotondo Chianti (£6.66 – down from £9.99) has all the cherry based texture and firm tannins you would expect but tempers them with raspberry acidity and relatively gentle alcohol (12.5%)


Fizz with history on its side

Toasty but lively too
Toasty but lively too

Finally to an excellent fizz from what claims to be home to the first sparkling wine – not just in France but in the world.

Thanks, I guess, to its high proportion of chardonnay, Cuvee Royale Cremant de Limoux Brut (£8.49 – instead of £11.49) has rich and structured acidity with toasty red apple flavours, a lively mousse yet bracing freshness too.




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