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Convenient in location, price and reliability

A game of two halves today - a couple of attractive reliable wines at around a fiver with two really classy stars a little higher up the price point. All that and a top wine serving tip along with the usual Best of the Rest review - so what are you waiting for?

Need another bottle to keep your party or barbecue going? Then here are couple of suggestions for reliable fare, currently at great prices down at most local Co-ops.

I go on to recommend a couple of quality reds that you may like to pick up while you are there.

In addition to suggestions from the Co-op, I have my regular Best of the Rest feature and a tip about serving wine.

As usual, click on any of the bottles shown for an enlarged image to help you pinpoint the wine on a crowded shelf.

 South America does pinot grigio too

Everyone who inseparably links pinot grigio with Italy should seek out this impressive but inexpensive Co-op version from the hot, dry region of San Juan in Argentina; remember too that it is this year’s wine – yes 2017!

Along with the customary hints of peach (and, here, honey too) 2017 Las Moras Pinot Grigio (£4.99 – instead of £6.99 until 5 September and 12% abv) offers spice and coconut centred texture and welcome, firm grapefruit acidity.

Exactly how everyday shiraz should be

To complement that white, try this red from an area where three Australian States converge (hence, the “Borders” name) which provides exactly what you expect of classic, everyday shiraz.

Soft, floral and imbued with suggestions of cinnamon and milk chocolate 2016 McGuigan Borders Shiraz (£5.29 instead of £7.29 until 5 September and 13.5%) is structured around damson, red currant and cassis fruit but with a light texture, gentle acidity and only the most delicate of tannins.

Now get a bit more serious

But the Co-op range is about much more than entry point wines. Their shrewd band of buyers has also assembled an impressive list of mid-priced wines such as this red from a long-standing supplier – Rioja’s Bodegas Muriel.

You can count on smoothness, complexity and touches of cedar and spice with a Gran Reserva but there is also juiciness and lively acidity behind the aromatic blackberry and blackcurrant fruit in 2008 Marques de Valido Rioja Gran Reserva (£12.99 and 13.5% – note, though, that the associated Reserva is currently on offer at £6.99 – down £2).

… and a claret to match

As part of a piece I was writing on blending skills in Bordeaux, I sampled a range of inexpensive clarets but it was this example from the Left Bank region of Listrac – and using petit verdot with the cabernet sauvignon and merlot – that really enthused me.

There is an absolutely splendid balance between the mulberry, vanilla and eucalyptus flavours that call the shots in 2011 Château Fonréaud (£13.99 and 13%) and the earthy graphite centred minerality that gives the wine structure and poise.

Best of the Rest

Great value Gavi

Currently there are several good examples of Gavi on the market which all really accentuate the somewhat austere, citrus delicacy of the cortese grape – but few of them do so at this price!

Typically light in texture 2016 Gavi (£5.49 at Lidl and 12%) has ripe edges to its clean pear, red apple and greengage fruit but complements them well with suggestions of parsley, white pepper and spearmint.

Remember that 25% off at Sainsbury’s

For a red, take advantage of Sainsbury’s Bank Holiday “25% off when you buy six – mixed or unmixed – bottles” promotion to pick up this lovely example from Southern Italy at a ridiculous price. Sorry Scotland, I know that neither the promotion nor the Bank Holiday apply to you!

While less textured than some primitivo, there is  appealing cherry, red plum and loganberry fruit to 2016 Taste the Difference Primitivo Salento (£6, instead of £7.50 until 29 August, at Sainsbury’s and and 14% abv – but the price drops to £4.50 when the 25% off deal applies) which all work well with the wine’s vanilla and cinnamon spices, hint of sweetness, fresh acidity and soft tannin.

Top Tips: Feeling the heat

Although it may seem nerdy – pretentious even – the serving temperature of most wine does make a difference. Overheat reds and their flavours become tainted and cooked; over chill whites and you lose one of their greatest charms – aromatics.

Key celsius temperatures to keep in mind, I suggest, are 6 (fizz and sweeties), 10 (white wine) and 15 (reds) – plus or minus 20%. The fuller and more tannic a red (big shiraz for instance) the more heat tolerant it is, being reasonably comfortable up to, say, 18°C while Beaujolais works best at close to 12°C.

Aromatic whites (e.g sauvignon blanc) can be perfect at 8°C while fuller chardonnays with an abv of 13.5% and beyond seem to work best up to 11°C or even 12°C.

Individual tastes do vary though so use this guidance as a start point and discover what suits your personal palate.

Keep an eye on your Inbox. I may have some interesting news about bubbly offers for you shortly

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3 Responses

  1. Hi Brian
    Always impressed with wines from the Co op, tasted and thought the Las Moras PG was pretty decent full of tropical fruits and as you say a slight sweetness to it.
    Haven’t tasted the Marques de Valido yet but if the supplier (Muriel) is anything to go buy it should be good.
    The Chàteau Fonréaud Cabernet Merlot is one I will look out for.
    Salud !

  2. Rioja GR £13 a bit stiff for a mid-weeker?
    Anyway spoke to my local Co-Op, they say they wouldn’t stock a wine thst expensive!?

  3. You are right Derrik that this is a bit above our core price point but quite a few MidWeekers do ask for the occasional more expensive bottle – especially for a Bank Holiday week-end. Most larger Co-op stores do have a reasonable range of such wines.

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