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A range with the strength of Atlas

From £4.97 upwards, there is much to cheer in this Asda selection combining, as it does, their Extra Special premium wines with the new Wine Atlas range.

Asda has recently launched a new Wine Atlas range to bring together a number of inexpensive (and, sometimes, little known) wines. So do give this initiative a warm welcome because it is a pleasant contrast to the flood of branded wines on which some supermarkets now seem to rely.

These promotional prices shown here will inevitably be time limited and Asda is very flexible about starting and finishing offers – so check prices carefully before you get to the check out. Nevertheless, 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.

A very successful revival

Lemon acidity with herbal depth
Lemon acidity with herbal depth

Despite almost dying out as a table wine variety (and being used solely in marsala), Italy’s grillo grape is well capable of producing presentable and well priced white wine – as you will see.

Here, for instance, the crisp and fruity 2014 Wine Atlas Grillo (£4.97) gives us wine with savoury herbal depth and quince based substance that deftly offsets its lemon acidity and red apple opening aromas.

Less assertive than Marlborough

Grassy but zingy tangerines too
Grassy but zingy tangerines too

Anyone tiring of bold and assertive Marlborough sauvignon should turn instead to measured and understated versions from the Loire – starting, perhaps, right here.

There is all the classic sharp, sherbet acidity you would expect from sauvignon in 2014 Extra Special Pouilly Fumé (£8.97) but the zingyness is more tangerine than lemon and it is skilfully supported by grassy, green pepper touches and orange influenced depth.


Argentina’s signature (adopted) grape

Vanilla, mocha and raspberry
Vanilla, mocha and raspberry

Despite having its origins in France’s Cahors area, malbec is now firmly associated with Argentina; its adopted home uses it well – producing terrific red wine often at fantastic prices.

For example, the soft and smooth 2014 Extra Special Malbec, Mendoza (£5) gives you ripe and nicely integrated raspberry flavours with limited tannin but a neat graphite edge that leads enticingly into a vanilla, mocha and slightly oaky finish.

Sheer brilliance for Rioja fans

 Cassis and cloves
Cassis and cloves

While any Rioja gran reserva must have at least two years in oak and even longer in bottle, few of them have vintages as old as this – but you would never guess its age from the flavours.

Mellow and perfumed, 2004 El Meson Rioja Gran Reserva (£9 and worth every penny) still has youthful acidity behind its intense, vibrant cassis and blackberry fruit with attractive clove, nutmeg and vanilla spices to add complexity.



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