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Getting Confident and Competent with Wine the Easy Way

Two wines to edge you towards being the friend that “knows a bit about wine” but is never nerdy

Getting a good deal on tasty wine is always gratifying – and this site is geared up to help you do it.

However, there is an even higher level of wine related satisfaction – getting confident with it.

I am not talking about becoming nerdy – Heaven forfend!

What I mean is being accepted as someone who “knows what’s what”.

Being, for example, the person (like my acquaintance Alex) who is usually handed the wine list when groups of friends go out.   

And, there’s two pieces of news about that – both good.

First, getting there is not especially difficult, including the aspect being explored today – discovering more about less familar wines

Secondly, the whole process is rather enjoyable.

I have huge respect for Masters of Wine – the route is hard and the effort it needs is enormous.

But today’s content is not about becoming one of that illustrious band of just under 500 experts world-wide.

It is, however, a couple of steps towards becoming practical, sure-footed and competent around wine – just like Alex.

So, let’s start by honouring that promise to make the journey enjoyable and to find out a bit more about a couple of less well known wines.

In the usual way, hyperlinks and pictures are used where possible to help you locate the bottle in question.

First let me introduce the red grape.

Pais is a grape traditionally associated with Chile and was probably brought to South America by Spanish conquistadors.

Indeed, its alternative name in the Americas (Mission) is probably connected to missions created by early Spanish colonists.

Not deeply pigmented, its wines are pale in colour but light, easy drinking options with soft fruit characteristics.

While acidity is high, tannins are quite low – so its wines can work chilled.

Once Chile’s dominant grape variety, it was superseded by international varieties but recently saw a resurgence as interest in heritage wines grew.

And here is an excellent example

2022 Irresistible Pais (£8 in 650 Co-op stores and 13.5% abv):

Bright with an almost purple colour, this example is from Chile’s Itata Valley.

It features smoky raspberry, cherry and bramble flavours accompanied by lively orange peel acidity, but minimal tannin.

Joining the party are suggestions of anise, milk chocolate and nutmeg, all wrapped in a lingering, smooth, medium bodied texture.

Now for a white companion.

Tesco recently introduced its Remastered Range which aims to give a “bold twist to tradition with a new perspective to European wines”.

Fiano was selected as a suitable wine for this treatment.

It is a white grape variety grown in Italy for centuries and often associated with the Campania region.

Its grape’s thick skins and impressive acidity retention make it particularly suitable for high temperature areas.

However, low yields and weather sensitivity made it commercially unattractive.

Consequently, it became almost a rarity until the revival of traditional vines came into vogue.

Thus, the world narrowly avoided losing an aromatic and complex, dry white wine embellished with orchard fruit elements.  

Let’s look at that remastered offering.

2022 Remastered Fiano (£7.50 – instead of £9.50 until 6 November for Tesco Clubcard holders): 

Floral with a long finish, this delivers light bodied, red apple, greengage and ripe pear flavours.

Here, these are coupled with crisp grapefruit acidity and hints of orange.

More Multi-buy News from Eddie

“No sooner did we have all the big High Street grocery retailers giving us 25% off buy 6 bottles back in September, but they are starting again.

Remember, though, that – as mentioned last week – Asda still has one and that continues to run until Wednesday 25th October.

Now, both Sainsbury’s and Tesco are up and running again too!

Sainsbury’s 25% deal continues until October 31st and Tesco’s until October 30th.

Currently, as I write, the prices we can expect may well be include a double-dip feature but do remember in-store pricing can change overnight.

Notable bottles at Sainsbury’s that Brian has recently flagged-up here on MidWeekWines include the Sturmwolken Riesling that should be £6 and the Zana Romanian Pinot Noir, £6.18.

At Tesco the double-dips are obvious when investigating availability at their informative on-line groceries site.

However, do remember when shopping, it’s all dependent on the customer also swiping their Tesco Clubcard!!

This Spanish offering featured a couple of weeks ago, will be £5.62.

Grandeza Aged Red Wine 75Cl – Tesco Groceries

While the Dino Trebbiano Pinot Grigio starts at £6 so will be £4.50.

Dino Trebbiano Pinot Grigio 75Cl – Tesco Groceries

Excellent reason to go and get stocked up with these previous MidWeek Wines recommendations.” 

Thank you again Eddie

Tune in again on Monday when value at budget price points is, once more, the theme of my latest Top Tips post.

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12 Responses

  1. Hi Brian,
    Getting confident and competent with wine is made much easier if people who occasionally visit midweekwines website become subscribers.Stating the obvious- but still good advice.
    Becoming a member of the Wine Society is also to be recommended.You then have free access to many interesting articles on wine, including online tastings and workshops as well as good priced wines and free delivery.
    Some information on the very good Coop Pais in your post.The Coop held a competition to choose the label; there were three options and the one in your photo was by far the most popular!
    Lastly “Pais” can mean nation or much more likely -Country.
    Vino del Pais also means “ local wine”.

    1. Thank you, Paul – especially for the suggestion about subscribing. Recommending the site to friends is always welcome – as I know you have done – and it is appreciated. TWS is another good call particularly with their free delivery scheme.

  2. Hoping to find information about abv for the Fiano, & finding nothing on Tesco website, other than the supplier being Accolade Wines, I tried visiting theirs. They don’t mention Fiano, or Tesco, but I was interested to see what they describe as their “core branded portfolio– including Hardys, Mudhouse, Jam Shed, Banrock Station, Echo Falls and Kumala”.

  3. Hi Brian, Good to hear about the Tesco 25% offer. Like, I suspect, many MidWeekers, I have an informal list of supermarket wines awaiting the appropriate 25% offer! Included in my Tesco list is: their Finest 1531 Blanquette de Limoux 2021 – lovely friendly and stylish fizz @ £10 (£7.50) their Finest English Sparkling Brut NV – really impressed with this, £21 (£15.75). Must now find something to celebrate!

    1. I am confident that you will find an excuse (sorry reason). Pleased to hear your view of the Blanquette as my son has also lauded it. It may be me, but I felt that the last vintages were a little below par. Sounds as though it is back to form now though.

  4. Hi all. Has anyone recently seen the pais in the wild? I’m not seeing it online. The description is everything I’m looking for right now. Unless there is another supermarket alternative?

  5. Hi Brian …subscribers …

    Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose and Asda have all had extended name-checks here recently with their 25% off buy 6 bottles to the exclusion of Morrisons. The latter tend to do things a slightly different way but I don’t believe they should be entirely neglected.

    They do in fact have some very worthwhile offers available that revolve around getting a 3 bottle deal for a reduced, set price, in this case of £21.

    The Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc has raised its head here before today I think with subscribers, with a usual shelf price of £11. So getting 3 bottles at £7 each is quite a saving and way better than just 25% off.

    As with your very interesting Pais Brian, I’m always a fan of something less obvious and Morrisons have an unusual and unique offering in that nobody else seems to carry that I know of, a Calvet red IGP, Cite de Carcassonne.

    I have it down as mainly that ubiquitous southern French mixer component Carrignan, but it may be some kind of cuvée. Aldi did a single Carrignan Carcassonne some time back for around £4.49. It was a ”stunner” if being stunned by a rustic French Ocitaine single varety grabs us. It did me. Couldn’t get enough of the evocation of camping days on a budget 40 years ago and drinking en vrac bought for almost nothing at E Leclerc.

    So here a few years on with something similar, but way more refined than jug wine, for those who like both experimentation and traditional French country reds, this fits the bill admirably and steak haché et frites never tasted better than with it. It’s usually £8 but 3 bottles we can have for £21.

  6. Welcome aboard Anthony. The Co-op structure can make it more difficult to source some of their wines but do keep looking in their physical stores if you can – this one is well worth the effort. Both Waitrose and Majestic do have versions, but they are from a different part of Chile and, to me, the Irresistible version does out-point them.

  7. Thanks Eddie – really helpful stuff as ever. I fancy you have really stirred memories among MidWeekers of a certain age with talk of “budget camping days”, buying wine in Leclerc and “steak haché et frites”. Nostalgia indeed!

  8. Hi Brian,
    My local Co-op did not have Pais but did have a Carmenere in their “irresistible” range. At £7.50 it is excellent and once some space comes free I will buy some more. The rack is full due to your alerting me of the Sainsbury’s 25% off deal where I bought more Zona Pinot Noir and Sturmwolken Reisling.
    (Carmenere was my red of choice from Concha y Toro until it got dropped a few years back when they simplified their range)

    1. Pity about the Pais, Paul, as – to me – that example does outperform comparable versions currently available. The carmenere does offer a silver lining however (and I did recommend that one in a post back in July). The more vegetal green pepper elements, when coupled with the chocolate flavours the variety also offers, does make it a distinctive grape.

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