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Fortune Favours the Brave

Heeding my advice to experiment with a few unusual wines, here are three you can test out without spending too much money - or risk wasting any of it on duff wine.

Having urged you to be more adventurous in 2016, I need to put my selections where my mouth is by providing a few suggestions – and where better to find them than amongst the Waitrose promotions that started on Wednesday.

Although the discounts shown here end on 16 February, the judgements on the wines themselves should hold good for at least another three months from this post.

Click on any of the bottles shown for an enlarged image to help you pinpoint the wine on a crowded shelf.

One of Italy’s forgotten heroes

La Piuma Orvieto
La Piuma Orvieto

Over-reliance on the distinctly ordinary trebbiano grape seriously tarnished Italy’s Orvieto’s reputation but get grechetto back in the mix – and join it, as here, with chardonnay – and good versions like this become well worth a punt.

The structured and fresh 2014 La Piuma Orvieto (£5.99 instead of £7.49) has rounded pear based richness coupled with a hint of sage, touches of peach ripeness and all energised by a nice prickle of acidity.

Moving on from Languedoc

 Domaine de l'Oranger
Domaine de l’Oranger

Everyone (including me) lauds Languedoc but really distinctive wines also await a little further west in the sunny and scenic region of Roussillon.

Grenache, carignan and syrah grapes come together nicely in the smooth, cinnamon and clove influenced 2014 Domaine de l’Oranger Roussillon (£6.39 instead of £7.99) with its compilation of bramble, red cherry and raspberry fruit and accompanying twists of tannin and crack of black pepper; some stores still have the 2013 vintage.

Never had Macedonian red – start here


For an unusual (but absolutely delightful) red, I finish with a hugely successful blend from Macedonia which includes a Zinfandel relative (Vranec), and will amply reward the daring.

Intense, dark and floral, 2013 Aemilia Shiraz Vranec Petit Verdot (£7.49 instead of £9.99), delivers smooth but substantial elderberry and blackcurrant fruit with modest tannin, firm acidity and suggestions of thyme, vanilla and lavender to embellish its long and tasty finish.


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7 Responses

  1. Hi Brian,
    Just discovered your enjoyable website.
    I am a big fan of Stobi wines from Macedonia especially their Vranec. The Petit Verdot is pretty good as well.
    Got an email about the Aemilia from Waitrose, will get a bottle next week to try.

    Dave (Ivorfan)

  2. Good to hear from you Dave and thank you for signing in. I agree about Stobi; their impressive muscat and tasty rosé both hit the spot perfectly.
    Will be featuring an unusual pinot grigio blend in mid-week so keep an eye out for that ………… Best ……… Brian

  3. Good point Jennifer; Waitrose do not have the same coverage as many other supermarkets.

    However, I have been impressed by the speed and reliability of their online operation, Waitrose Cellar, which offers a good way to access their wine………. Brian

  4. Excellent; do, please, add your thoughts here.

    The same applies to anyone else trying the wine – like it or loathe it, others will be pleased to hear what MidWeekers think …. Brian

  5. Drank the Aemilia the other night with roast beef, paired pretty well, heady aromas of dark berries, sweet vanilla a little chocolate, tasted almost creamy, blackcurrant dominant with subtle tannins and a peppery finish.
    For £7.49 a bargain probably just worth the full price of £10

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