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Beautiful Bubbles Adorn our Thursday Update

A glorious collection to tempt taste buds, including English fizz, an Aussie red and two delegates from Tuscany.

As usual, today’s post provides an update on supermarket promotions and pinpoints one particular wine for what, in the past, I have called Optimising Opportunities.

In essence, this encourages you to try the wine while it is on promotion to see whether to add it to your regular wine “shopping list”.

Elsewhere in the post, our latest “Friday Nights Special” is an Aussie red from a possibly unfamiliar grape that does well in the new world.

And the standard “Sunday Best” segment adds a celebratory bonus to an enjoyable taste of traditional Tuscany – from a new (to us) producer.

With the UK’s variable weather patterns, concentrating exclusively on lighter wines seems unwise (even in June) hence today’s glance towards more substantial reds.

In the time-honoured fashion, pictures and, where possible, hyperlinks are provided to help you close in on the bottle in question.

Friday Night Special

Once popular for basic red wine in France, durif grapes are now largely found in the new world.

That is especially true of America (often under the petite sirah (sic) name) and, as here, of New South Wales.

Enjoy then the power and depth of 2020 A Growers Touch Durif (from £8.99 at www. wickhamwine.co.uk and 14% abv) with its intense damson and mulberry flavours.

That foundation is neatly embellished by chocolate aromas, balanced acidity and controlled tannin with concluding suggestions of nutmeg and mocha.

Sunday Best

While this may not be the ideal season for substantial wines, this newcomer to the UK is well worth acquiring for – literally – a rainy day.

It is 100% sangiovese and comes from an estate at Volterra, a little off the main Tuscan wine routes, but run by a go-ahead Swedish family. 

Smooth and quite traditional in style, 2019 Mastio Monte Rosola (£13 at Orlandos Fine Foods and 14%) delivers powerful black cherry and mulberry flavours.

Support is provided, however, by good acidity and mild tannin along with touches of mocha, graphite, thyme and baking spice.

Sunday Best Bonus

In a direct contrast to its cricket team, there was good news last week about my “county of origin” – Sussex.

Sussex sparkling wine has been granted PDO status (Protected Designation of Origin) – a UK replacement for the designation structure used in the EU

This affords extra protection to sparkling wines from the county and is recognition of the uniqueness of the those being produced there.

To celebrate, here is a bonus Sunday Best item featuring wine from Rathfinny – those talented winemakers in Alfriston in the heart of the Downlands.

Smooth but with energetic bubbles, 2018 Rathfinny Blanc de Noirs Brut (£38.95 at Lea & Sandeman and 12%) is led by sophisticated, textured apple and strawberry flavours.

These are given verve by pithy tangerine and grapefruit acidity yet expertly balanced by brioche hints as a centrepiece to a largely savoury background.


To head the list, this is the final call for the current Sainsbury’s promotion (with its reductions on up to 50 Taste the Difference wines) which ends on 28 June.

However, a “25% off when you buy 6” promotion started in Sainsbury’s yesterday and lasts until 26 June – here is the link to their website – and, again, this applies to wine that is already discounted, but do read the small print for overall exceptions.

The main newcomer is the Morrisons promotion that started yesterday and runs until 19 July.

It has around 100 “money off” deals along with a range of multi-buys in those parts of the UK where they are permitted.

Those multi-buys are divided between “Two for £11” and “Buy two, get a third free” mechanics.

Among the continuing promotions Asda still has a range of “Rollback” and “Dropped and Locked” price reductions that include options as varied as two Apothic reds and Louis Jadot’s Beaujolais Villages. I am hearing though that a “20% off when you buy three” promotion is expected to start there some time this week.

Fuller details appear on the relevant web page but I do not know when these deals will end.

The sizeable Waitrose promotion will remain in force until 12 July and you should follow this link to the retailer’s web page to see full details of what is on offer.

As this webpage reveals Tesco also has a sizeable number of price reductions for Clubcard holders; most of them run through until 4 July

Star Buy from Promotions

Here is an example of Tuscany’s traditional Governo winemaking method that creates “ready sooner” red wines that are less dense.  

In essence, the technique adds partly dried grapes to new wines, which are then allowed to re-ferment over winter.

2020 Melini Chianti Governo (£7.50 – instead of £9 until 4 July – with a Tesco Clubcard) has cherry and pomegranate flavours supported by subtle acidity within a surprisingly light, bright texture that also contains spicy savouriness.

See you again on Monday with my usual Top Tips recommendations that are available at great prices right now.

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4 Responses

  1. Hi Brian
    Must endorse the MonteRosola Mastio, I tasted this a few weeks ago and I really enjoyed it, as you say very traditional almost old school and14% abv it is heady, earthy with lots of sour tangy cherries, plums, leather, tobacco. They also do a very stylish unoaked Vermentino aged on Lees for 4- 6 months, which was very enjoyable for £12.50.
    Staying with Tuscany the Governo is worth a go, very different to a traditional Chianti.

  2. Glad we are of one mind on those Tuscan options Dave. Yes it was the “old school style done really well” that appealed to me about the Mastio. I intend to have a look at the white you mention, over the next few weeks ….Brian

  3. Hi Brian. Yes, when the 25% off is on it’s a good time to experiment with something as yet untried. And Sainsbury’s are pretty good at offering some money-off bottles already on the shelf so we can have a double dip. I went for the Jurancon Sec in my selection yesterday as well as the Fronton rosé and both have turned out to be excellent for the cost. But might I point out a red I’ve not had before, the Terre di Faiano nero di troia at £9 full price, that is as good an under-a-tenner bottle as I have had in quite a while, and came to me at around £6.75. OK, as you rightly suggest a hot summer’s day may not be the perfect environment for big reds … it’s 14% abv, but I put it with linguine prawns in a strong herb, cream and tomato sauce and I had to fight off my good woman to get my share. Her liking for it as she did is a great yardstick for me to go by because she is way more difficult to satisfy than I am when it comes to stronger characteristics in Italian reds, especially. So when she gives it the thumbs-up I have no problem urging anyone to give it a go. Salute …


  4. Great idea Eddie – highlighting the Nero di Troia variety which, despite its power and substance, tends to be relegated to “blending partner” status with better known Puglia options such as Primitivo and Negroamaro. Commercial considerations such as its low yields may be a factor there too, though.

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