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Good value joins customer satisfaction

Recommendations for you that feature a retailer with promotions on 100+ wines from this morning along, gentle reader, with advice for the BBQ season and my usual glance at The Best of the Rest from other retailers.

Waitrose may well have topped a recent Which? survey on customer satisfaction but not everyone links it with deals, offers and entry priced wines.

However, their latest promotion – which begins this morning and runs until 11 July – discounts prices on over a hundred wines in various forms with prices starting at £4.99. Here are some of its highlights.

As usual, click on any picture for an enlarged image to help you find the bottle in a crowded display.

Successful pinot grigio from unexpected places.

Securing really distinctive pinot grigio often means going “off-piste” as demonstrated by this impressive Romanian example which does all the right things – early morning harvesting, free run juices and time spent on fine lees.

The result is the soft yet crisp 2016 Martisor Pinot Grigio (£5.99 instead of £7.99 and 12% abv) with apple, grapefruit and tangerine acidity but counterbalancing peach centred tropical fruit elements too.

Downstream location but upmarket quality

Often the Middle Loire provides sauvignon with a better price:quality equation than the upstream giants in Sancerre and Pouilly and this version from Touraine lends credence to that contention.

I really enjoyed the way that 2016 Les Six Terroirs Sauvignon Blanc (£7.49 instead of £9.99 and 13%) offers gooseberry centred mellowness yet still delivers the classic floral aromas, crisp grassiness and green apple acidity.

And yet another unexpected location 

Lombardy is not exactly the go-to region for rosé but, with 15% pinot noir in the mix, this example very successfully hits that middle ground between confected sweetness and overly earthy dryness.

With delicate crab apple and strawberry fruit, 2016 La Cerisa Pinot Grigio Rosé (£5.99 instead of £7.99 and 12%) combines gentle acidity, food-friendly dryness and a well judged edge of sweetness. Great value at this price!

Barbecue Debate.

Different views abound about wines for the upcoming barbecue season so I have drawn on recent guidelines published by Decanter magazine to suggest reds going on promotion today that Decanter might pair with barbecue classics. Feel free to chip in with your own favourite grape varieties for BBQ’s.

For Steak and Burgers

With Decanter tipping syrah for barbecued steaks and burgers, here is a keenly priced example from the Northern Rhone.

With only modest tannin (that complements rather than trespasses upon the plum and cherry fruit) 2014 Caves de Tain Crozes Hermitage (£8.99 instead of £11.99 and 12.5%) also has firm acidity, cinnamon spiciness and a mineral edge that seems fitting for the granite based geology of the area.

For Sausages

Since the guidance suggests sausages work well with tempranillo, here is a version from  just south of Madrid – with an obvious meat connection!

Whatever the name, enjoy the well defined cherry fruit in 2015 Beefsteak Club Old Vines Tempranillo (£6.36 instead of £8.49 and 13.5%) and the attractive herbal influences but chewy tannins that accompany it.

For Pork Chops

While I would usually choose a white wine for pork (apple influenced Mosel does a similar job to apple sauce), barbecued cooking is different – so here is a Californian option for the pinot noir match Decanter proposes.

With bold raspberry and red cherry fruit, 2015 Sandiford Road Pinot Noir (£6.69 instead of £8.99 and 13.5%) also has nice vanilla and cinnamon touches with firm acidity that keeps things agreeably fresh.

 But to plough your own furrow

Few wine matchers suggest cabernet sauvignon with barbecues but if you want to be your own person (or if rain drives you indoors) here is a Californian version – blended with 15% of other varieties including petit verdot – that is nicely crafted and avoids excessive alcohol.

A neat combination of cherry, raspberry and red plum is the fruit based centre piece of 2015 Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon (£6.59 instead of £8.49 and 13.5%) but there are also touches of cinnamon and bold acidity with only very gentle tannin.

Best of the Rest

The flinty side of sauvignon

If you like your sauvignon more austere than those current tropical fruit edged versions, then this South African option could be for you – but supplies are patchy so you may have to go online to acquire it.

It is worth the effort though because 2016 The Project Sauvignon Blanc (£5.99 at Aldi and 12.5%) has flinty and lemon grass touches to its taut acidity with fruit at the lime and green apple end of the flavour spectrum – but given variety by hints of basil.

But here’s a light summer red  

Come a little nearer home for a light, summer red from France’s Herault region that uses a 20% merlot contribution to give its carignan backbone extra softness.

Cassis and raspberry fruit, firm acidity and limited tannin are the characteristics of 2016 Domaine de Brignac (£5.75 at M&S and 11.5%) which are then neatly embellished by vanilla and clove components.


No startling promotions begin next week so the next web post will probably be during the week commencing 26 June; enjoy whatever wine finds its way into your glass in the meantime ….. Cheers …… Brian





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