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Good options in Sainsbury’s promotion

Catch up with what looks good in the Sainsbury’s promotion that starts this morning as well as our usual features - a Top Tip (trying something different), an alert about a promotion about to end and the usual Best of the Rest.

A new promotion starts at Sainsbury’s this morning and runs through, in most cases, until 17 September – although a few of the discounts do end a week earlier.

Dozens of items are included in the promotion ranging from £10 off Veuve Clicquot Vintage Réserve down to at least a dozen lines reduced to £6.

A stroll round the shelves is the best way to do justice to the available options but I have singled out four that I consider good choices for MidWeekers.

Also today, we have a Top Tip about trying something different, an alert about a promotion about to end at the Co-op as well as the customary Best of the Rest.

As usual, use the picture to guide you towards the wine in store as it can often be a struggle to find what you want armed with just its name.

More great value pinot noir

I loved the last vintage of this great value Vin de France pinot noir and this one is a pretty decent bottle too.

That Vin de France category relaxes the usual strict French geographic restrictions and allows winemakers to blend grapes from several different areas – although I fancy that the Loire is strongly represented in this one.

The variety’s key components surface clearly in 2018 Les Calcaires Pinot Noir (£6 – instead of £7 until 17 September – at Sainsbury’s and 12.5% abv) where juicy raspberry and plum fruit, nippy acidity and earthy, liquorice influenced texture all vie for the drinker’s attention.

Heading further south

A number of classic Rhone GSM blends are currently produced in Languedoc but here the winemaker has replaced the mourvedre component with the slightly less muscular carignan.

An impressive marriage it is too in 2018 Taste the Difference Languedoc Red (£6.25 – instead of £7 until 10 September – and 13.5%) with medium bodied yet rich cherry, plum and loganberry fruit joined by good acidity, suggestions of vanilla, chocolate and mint but pleasantly soft tannin.

Staying in France for a white

Head for Bordeaux next where (to the surprise of some) great sauvignon blanc is produced even though some of it is destined to provide the acidic balance that makes the region’s sweet wines so impressive.

More typically though 2018 Taste the Difference Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc (£6 – instead of £7 – and 12.5%) has crisp lime acidity underpinning its zesty grapefruit backbone with hints of tangerine, and grassy, green pepper elements .

Here’s the New World contribution

Chardonnay from South Australia became a “no-go” area when consumers wearied of the excessive use of oak that some versions there used to contain .

To see oak as it should be employed, sample the smooth but creamy depth of 2018 Taste the Difference Château Tanunda Chardonnay (£6 – instead of £7 and 13%) with its apple, melon and peach fruit, lively lemon acidity and the balanced spice and burnt caramel elements that well-judged oak can create.

Branded Options

Quite a lot of the discounts in this promotion apply to branded wines including some from the Dark Horse and acclaimed IHeart ranges. If those brands appeal to you, do have a look on the shelves.   

… And if the budget is currently a little looser

Here are wines on offer (admittedly at slightly higher prices) but reduced by around 10%-15% – and which I have enjoyed recently.

  • 2018 McGuigan Bin 9000 Semillon (down from £14 to £12) – classy, soft white wine with melon and apple fruit supported by smooth honey and lanolin texture.
  • 2016 Taste the Difference Château les Bouysses Cahors (down from £13 to £11) – intense malbec and merlot blend with cherry and loganberry fruit, limited tannin but nice suggestions of clove and chocolate.
  • Taste the Difference Blanc de Noirs Champagne Magnum (down from £38 to £34) – rounded apple and lemon fruit with biscuit depth and nippy acidity.


PG with acidity aplenty

“Flabby” is a word wine-insiders use to describe a paucity of acidity and it gets heaps of use when the same people are discussing pinot grigio.

However, as latitude or altitude rises so temperatures and ripeness reduce and less of that precious acidity is converted into sugar (so flabbiness ceases to apply).

That is true of 2018 Organic Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie (£5.99 at Aldi and 12%) which – being from a more northerly part of Italy – benefits from zippy lime acidity that enlivens its quince, pear and green apple fruit and neatly supplements the wine’s long sherbet and mace influenced finish.

An old friend remains consistently good

I have long been an admirer of the inexpensive varietal wines that Languedoc’s Catherine and Laurent Delaunay make under the Les Jamelles brand; here is a good chance to find out why.

Soft, medium bodied with gentle tannin, 2017 Le Jamelles Syrah (£7.25 at the Co-op and 13.5%) has attractive cherry, mulberry and plum fruit kept fresh with good acidity and neatly embellished with smatterings of cinnamon, eucalyptus and chocolate.   


The current Co-op promotion ends on 3 September so here are some of the deals available in their stores. As before, offers are only available while stocks last, so the price quoted in any specific store is the final word.

Also bear in mind that the wines are listed here for information and, unlike wines mentioned elsewhere on this site, are not necessarily endorsements for the product.

  • Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc – Down to £7.50 from £9.50
  • Stonehaven Sauvignon Blanc   – Down to £6 from £8                                  
  • Anciano Gran Clasico 8 Year Old   – Down to £7 from £9
  • Adeletto Prosecco   – Down to £7 from £8.50
  • Don David Blend of Terroirs Malbec Fairtrade   – Down to £8 from £9
  • Scarlet Pimpernel Merlot Malbec   – Down to £6 from £7
  • Tour d’Autan Corbière   – Down to £6.25 from £7.25
  • Château L’Esparrou Languedoc   – Down to £9 from £10
  • Viña Arnáiz Ribera del Duero   – Down to £8 from £9
  • Cune Rioja Rosado   – Down to £7.50 from £8.50
  • Off The Press Shiraz Tempranillo  – Down to £9 from £10


Tip: Many drinkers are too conservative in what they buy so be prepared to try something different one way or another – especially if it is recommended by someone you trust.

Sometimes edges of sweetness work well

Reds like Apothic with higher than normal levels of sweetness can seriously divide opinion.

Although this guy seems to have less residual sugar than Apothic, it is mellower and sweeter than most reds and has been enjoyed by several MidWeekers.

It would be a great counterpoint to smoky, barbecued steaks as the “cooking outside” season draws to a close.

Try it in that context to experience the richness and ripeness of the plum, blackberry and black cherry fruit in California’s 2015 Carnivor Zinfandel (£10 at Tesco and 14.5%) and the aniseed and nutmeg background – but limited acidity and tannin – it contains.   

A familiar producer in an unfamiliar area

Les Terrasses du Larzac, a relatively recent appellation (2005), is situated in a higher and cooler part of Languedoc; the primary focus there is on GSM blends although limited volumes of two other varieties are permitted.

Few UK drinkers will have sampled wine from there but now the brilliant Jean-Claude Mas has produced an excellent example which Sainsbury’s began stocking earlier this month.

Do give a try to the smooth, textured 2017 Les Neuf Pierres Roulees Terrasses du Larzac (£13 at Sainsbury’s and 14.5%) with its rich plum, loganberry and cherry fruit, good acidity (from the appreciable day/night temperature variation), controlled tannin, mineral backdrop and suggestions of mocha, herbs and liquorice.

A supplier you may not know

With reports claiming that 82% of Britons shop online, it perhaps time to take a closer look at buying wine that way.

Although they also have shops in Banbury and Leamington, Slurp is one of the operators that offers an excellent online service with rapid deliveries and a good range (900 wines) that is constantly being updated – often with quirky but tasty acquisitions.  

Let’s look at something from their list.

It took the wine world a surprisingly long time to discover albarino but basic versions of its seafood-friendly, slightly saline, citrus centred white wine are immensely popular.

More sophisticated examples are less common here but, when they surface, can delight with extra layers of flavour – and here is one that is currently on promotion at Slurp.

In addition to some customary lime acidity and pithy grapefruit texture, 2017 Vionta Albarino Rias Baixas (£9.95 – instead of £13.95 – at www.slurp.co.uk and 13%) delivers delightful sweet apple, ripe peach and tangerine flavours coupled with a clean zestiness that keeps everything fresh.

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