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A good mixture to tempt taste buds

If - despite official denials - the prosecco does run out, here is a great cava and some well made, inexpensive table wines too

The M&S promotions that started last week cover a broad range of price points and my selections from it include a couple of presentable £6 wines and a really cracking vintage cava too.

These specific promotions expire on 6 July 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.

Pinot grigio with a difference

Peaches and grapefruit
Peaches and grapefruit

To me, M&S does significantly better at the £7-£8 price level than on entry point wines but this Argentinean white suggests otherwise and illustrates – despite often justifiable claims to the contrary – that pinot grigio can deliver texture and acidity.

There is actually a rich, savoury depth that underpins 2014 Arbol de Vida Pinot Grigio: (two for £12 or £5 a bottle in Scotland) but successfully avoids dimming the wine’s ripe peach fruit and the fresh grapefruit acidity that enlivens it.

Sophisticated chardonnay

Butter, honey but sharp acidity too
Butter, honey but sharp acidity too

While we often focus on South African reds, the country also does chardonnay rather well – often striking exactly the right balance between all the various components.

Stellenbosch’s smooth but lively 2014 Honeycombe Journey’s End Chardonnay: (£8 instead of £14) is a good illustration right from its perfumed nose and sharp acidity,  through the suggestions of orange that embellish its orchard fruit texture, to the butter and honey on which it concludes.

What Sicily does well


Soft ripe and plummy
Soft ripe and plummy

Good value, reliable reds often emerge from Southern Italy but this one uses an international grape variety rather than the indigenous grape varieties that nowadays grace a thousand wine labels.

Soft and ripe, 2013 Sicilian Shiraz (two for £12 – instead of £7.50 each –  or £5.50 a bottle in Scotland) enhances its plum centred fruit with suggestions of acidity, cloves and white pepper before merging into food friendly rusticity and tannic bite at the end.

Head north for fruitiness and freshness

Zippy cherry and blackcurrant touches
Zippy cherry and blackcurrant touches

Sticking with Italy but heading a long way north, let’s enjoy the fruitiness and higher acidity – but lower tannin – of the barbera grape.

Piedmont’s smooth, zippy and perfumed 2013 Barbera D’Asti: (£7 instead of £9) delivers fresh cherry and blackcurrant fruit with hints of fennel and contrasting sweetness to build complexity into its spicy and lively acidity.

Hooray for an excellent cava

Green apple, lime and biscuits
Green apple, lime and biscuits

As I have said before, recent cava offerings often underwhelm me but here is a delightful vintage version at a great price.

Acid heads will enjoy the green apple freshness and lively citrus touches of 2010 Vintage Cava Brut: (£9 instead of £14) but, as the initial lime influences mellow into something more lemony, so more rounded vanilla and biscuit influences come to the fore.

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