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Convenient yet Prize Winning

Not looking at promotions today, guys, but at Silver International Wine Challenge winners from one retailer - and all around £8 each - plus old friends like Best of the Rest, Top Tip and Sunset Corner.

In philosophy (and despite its size) the Co-op fits snugly into the Convenience Store sector but can still match the “big four” in providing quality wines.

So, today, I am putting the spotlight on its own label wines that have been successful in the recent International Wine Challenge competition.

All are excellent examples and thoroughly deserve the accolades they have received.

Other favourite features are here too with Best of the Rest selections, Sunset Corner alerts about offers about to end and a Top Tip on an impressive celebrity wine

Where they are available, use the pictures next to the description of a wine to help you find it quickly on a crowded display.

Top of the bill for me

The engaging thing about Gavi is the delicacy that the cortese grape combines with its natural zesty vibrancy but the depth and texture that the Broglia family have created here is rare at this price point – and, no doubt, why it won silver at the IWC.

I was delighted by the aromatic edge of sweetness that emerges in 2018 Co-op Irresistible Gavi del Commune di Gavi (£8.50 at the Co-op and 13.5% abv) to underpin the wine’s floral, ripe apple and peach fruit, firm lime acidity and long, smooth finish.  

Another impressive white

Grapes traditionally used for white Rhȏne wines have a certain savoury distinctiveness that is especially good for food matching – and is also a firm favourite with my personal set of taste buds.

See those savoury characteristics in action in Languedoc’s take on a classic Rhȏne grape in another IWC Silver winner – 2018 Co-op Irresistible Marsanne (£8 at the Co-op and 13%) – and one that exhibits creamy pear, quince and melon imbued texture supplemented by firm grapefruit acidity with background caramel and nutmeg flavours.

Now for a red

Good to see the long-standing links between the UK Co-op and the Fairtrade operation in Argentina’s Famatina Valley being recognised with the IWC “World’s Best Fairtrade Wine” award for this malbec.

Dark, dense and beautifully smooth, 2017 Fairtrade Irresistible Malbec (£7.50 and 13%) has intense cherry, raspberry and prune fruit with modest acidity, soft tannin and suggestions of baking spice and liquorice.

And finally to a rosé

My final wine is not actually an award winner (yet) but certainly deserves to be and I have included it because it is currently on promotion – which makes it outstanding value for money.

Although we tend to gravitate to Provence for light food-friendly rosé, Languedoc and the Rhȏne Valley also have some excellent versions – like this one from Costieres de Nimes.

Pale and delicate, 2018 Coeur de Cardeline Rosé (currently £7.00 – normally £9 – and 12.5%) has ripe apple, pear and red cherry fruit underpinned by suggestions of aniseed and gentle mandarin acidity.   


Savoury depth here

Rather like coffee and Brazil, there’s an awful lot of malbec in Argentina but few at this price point have appreciable savoury depth to complement that customary soft fruit backbone.

Full marks then to 2017 Rios de los Andes Malbec (£6.50 at SPAR and 12.5%) for the liquorice touches it uses to counterbalance the wine’s ripe cherry and loganberry fruit, soft tannin, good acidity and accompanying suggestions of clove and cocoa.

Elsewhere in Mendoza

Unlike malbec, sauvignon production in Argentina is limited but this well-priced option from Mendoza is not only tasty but also actually has sufficient deep-seated flavours to benefit from (rather than just survive) being well chilled.

Tongue tingling and light in texture, 2018 Trapiche Sauvignon Blanc (£5.50 – instead of £6.50 until 13 August – at the Co-op and 12.5%) supports its grapefruit and apple foundation with grassy lime acidity and a hint of ginger.


The latest promotion at Waitrose comes to an end next week (13 August) so here are details of wines it contains that I think are worth pursuing.

There are many more wines in the promotion so do drop in for a quick browse of the shelves.

  • Cuvée des Vignerons, Beaujolais drops from £7.79 to £6.19 until 13 August 2019
  • 2018 Malbec de Balthazar Pays d’Oc drops from £8.69 to £6.49 until 13 August 2019
  • 2017 Beaumarchais Côtes du Rhône Villages drops from £9.99 to £7.49 to until 13 August 2019
  • 2017 Borgodei Trulli Salice Salentino drops from  £8.99 to £6.99 until 13 August 2019
  • 2018 Domaine Louis Moreau Chablis drops from £17.99 to £13.49 until 13 August 2019
  • Taittinger Brut Reserve drops from £38 to £25 until 13 August 2019

There is also a promotion at Asda coming to an end next week (on 14 August) with dozens of discounts, and prices that start around £4.50.

I picked out a few highlights a week or so back but do have a look in store to see which other bottles take your fancy.


Tip: Look out for this celebrity wine that really does live up to the hype.

Let’s be frank, celebrity wine can be of mixed quality.

Some is pretty obviously seeking whatever is the opposite of “guilt by association” for bottles of indifferent wine.

An honourable exception though is the Graham Norton Sauvignon Blanc which I have recommended before and was, indeed, winner of the “Girls Night In” section of last year’s People’s Choice Wine Awards.

It is available at several supermarkets and, sometimes, is even on promotion.

Not only has Graham Norton proved to be a shrewd businessman but, we now discover, he also has a good palate – and uses it for hands-on involvement in the selection of the blend.

This short video shows his participation on the selection of the components for the 2019 version that, presumably, will be available later in the year. 

It is relaxing viewing that helps to explain why the wine secures so many accolades and gives a little insight into the process of blending good wines.

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2 Responses

  1. Another great blog as usual Brian.
    My dad bought several of the wines you recommended recently when we were in Scampton for Hannah’s birthday and they went down a treat! I don’t usually drink red but I had a glass of one of your recommendations and it was lovely. I will ask Hannah what it was! Thanks again 🙂

  2. Good to hear from you Nina and very pleased to know that those recommendations worked for you. It is interesting to see how skilled winemaking is blurring the lines for those who instinctively opt for red or, instead, for white. Reds are becoming more fruit centred and with less tannin while whites have improved dramatically in recent years.

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