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Catch up with the Latest Wine Promotions

See how France’s classification system helps Sainsbury’s bring you affordable chardonnay in a difficult year plus the usual details of wine deals in other supermarkets.

It’s time to get up to speed on what is happening in the world of supermarket wine promotions – but today’s post does so in monochrome!

My Sunrise and Sunset colouring to pinpoint new and expiring promotions has not – what shall I say – attracted universal support, so today’s post omits it altogether.

Feel free to join any “to tint or not to tint” debate.

As for content, the usual summary of promotions is joined by the recently introduced Optimising Opportunities segment which, today, links a revised classification system with improved value for money.

Once again, where possible hyperlinks and pictures help you target the right bottle on a display or website.    

Optimising Opportunities

Wine classification is not the most riveting read but bear with me gentle reader; broad sunlit uplands await you on the other side.

For years, sales of France’s basic Vin de Table category wines were in decline.

So, ten or so years ago, a revised French classification system replaced it.

The lowest level became Vin de France to sit below the system’s middle category (IGP) and the (top) AOP category.

Unlike the other two, Vin de France is not constrained by fixed geographic limits and is largely free of the strict specifications that apply further up the hierarchy.  

Sceptics saw this liberalisation as, principally, a benefit for the large-scale producers of branded wines.

However, other (positive) benefits have emerged too.

Combining grapes from different regions can certainly help create more consistent and complex wine.

But, because prices can be lower in less fashionable areas, it can also maximise value for money.

Best of all, though, it can save the day when weather conditions seriously reduce quantities and quality in specific areas – as happened with the late frosts and wet spring of 2021.

So, let’s see this in practice

Sainsbury’s latest promotion contains a chardonnay by an acclaimed Burgundy producer but sold with a Vin de France classification.

I assume that the plan is to use the freedoms that category permits to allow a Burgundian style chardonnay to be created at an accessible price in a tricky year.

And, the plan works!

Better still, it is featured here because the wine is currently on offer – allowing you to decide for yourself whether the strategy floats your boat without spending too much money.

Fragrant and suitably textured, 2020 Bouchard Aine & Fils Chardonnay (£7 – instead of £8 until 5 April – at Sainsbury’s and 12.5%) certainly appeals to me.

It delivers white peach and cooked apple flavours with zippy acidity, hints of honey and toffee, vanilla based butteriness and lees-based depth.

Do try it and see what you think.

Returning to the Round Up of Promotions.

Buy 6 deals

Sainsbury’s have a “Buy 6, save 25%” deal that started yesterday and runs to 27 March. As usual check the website for limitations as it will not apply throughout the UK or in smaller stores – and may finish a day early if you are buying online.

Other new promotions

Two new sets of offers to report (in the usual chart below) this week although parts of the Sainsbury’s promotion have been covered already.

The Waitrose promotion is its usual extensive self but, in the past, I have been impressed by the pinot noir mentioned in the chart.

Romania’s Sorcova Pinot Noir seems to open with classic rose centred aromas that lead enticingly into cherry, plum and red currant flavours and traces of clove.   

Ongoing Promotions

The Morrisons and Co-op deals mentioned last week are still in place.

With floral aromas yet a vague flintiness, The Best Gruner Veltliner from Morrisons impressed me last summer with its apple and grapefruit flavours supported by good lime acidity, floral aromas and slightly spicy texture.

It is currently reduced by £1 to £7.50 if you fancy giving it a try.

Expiring promotions

A few old friends from M&S and from Tesco will expire before the next one of these posts and that includes the £1 reduction (to £6) on Tesco’s Finest Passerina.

In the past, it has won many friends here and with Decanter through its zingy, aromatic, ripe melon flavours enlivened by sharp tangerine and sherbet acidity

We’ll be back on Monday folks with our customary pair of Top Tips – and then, again on Thursday with a look at the Wine Tour promotion that is just about to begin at Lidl.

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7 Responses

  1. Hello Brian. That Bouchard looks to be a very good bet right now if it’s down a £1 And then 25% off buy 6 that would make it £5.25!! That’s a steal for white Burgundy punching above its price point. Thank you as ever …

  2. Has anyone tried the Rigal vin Orange? £10 seemed a lot for an unusual 11% Vin de France, but at £7 I might give it a whirl..

  3. And do make sure anyone who has tried it adds their thoughts here. This is such a niche area that the views of as many wine drinkers as possible is very valuable.

  4. Since I know you enjoyed that Chilean chardonnay at Sainsbury’s Eddie, I rather fancy that this will tick boxes for you as well.

  5. OK – I bought some of this wine to give you my thoughts. As you almost certainly know, orange wine differs from orthodox white wine because the grape skins are not separated at the outset but left in place during the fermentation process, giving the wine more depth and more complex flavours. This is quite a light example in style and richness as well as in colour (being golden rather than orange). It is made with South West France’s gros manseng grape, which has robust grape skins that can be a problem in the winery – so leaving them in place has advantages anyway.
    The result here has mint and herbal aromas and a subtle yeastiness in support of its clean apricot and pithy grapefruit flavours and vague honey influences. It is a good example of the style in my view but, let me stress, this not for everyone. Some liken orange wine to certain sherries and, if that is not a style you like, this may not be for you. With those caveats, I do think it is a gentle introduction to the concept and the curious should find it well worth exploring.

  6. Hi Brian, thanks you for the worth exploring recommendation of the Ara Single Vineyard Pinot Gris from Waitrose. A bit sweeter than I would usually pick however delightful crisp honey notes and it’s almost amber in colour. Real surprise and a bargain at £7.99 – have already bought some more bottles which will be delightful on a summer evening (dreaming of warmth after snow today….) Thanks for your work! Best Matthew

  7. Matthew ….. Many thanks for reporting back. I always welcome thoughts from subscribers.
    I am pleased that you enjoyed that wine especially as it seems to be something you would not have chosen otherwise – fortune can indeed favour the brave! It is made by a good producers and my daughter who lives in New Zealand, tells me that pinot gris is the drink of choice in smart Auckland wine bars rather than sauvignon blanc.

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