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Languedoc and Chile Again Provide Value Options

Catch up with two excellent grapes that never appear in the Top Five varieties yet provide today’s selection of great value recommendations.

Time, my friends, for our regular look at what great value Top Tips can be found right now in our High Street stores.

Today’s red is from a country that is currently doing excellent things, Chile, and identifies a good value version of its flagship red grape from a challenging vintage.

Its partner white is a much-admired Languedoc wine created, in this example, by one of the most effective producers in its home area near the Etang de Thau.

I hope you enjoy them both.

As normal, pictures and hyperlinks are provided where possible to guide you straight to the right wine on shelf or web page.

A star from a difficult year

Chile’s 2020 carmenere harvest was especially testing because the grape ripens late and worries that a lockdown was imminent caused a flurry of early picking.

Quality from that vintage does, therefore, vary but you would never know from this tasty red.

Centred around slightly earthy plum and dark berry flavours, 2020 The Best Chilean Carmenere (£6.50 – instead of £8 until 24 May – at Morrisons) is well supported by smoky caramel elements and by barrel influences presumably from the 10 months some of the wine spends in oak.

Try this with anything fishy

Once the main component of a vermouth (Noilly Prat), picpoul next emerged as a classic seafood wine that first rivalled, and then overtook, muscadet.

Its proximity to Languedoc’s main oyster area gave the wine sound “shellfish friendly” credentials but the flavours on display here tell us why it became so popular.

Crisp with predictable saline hints, 2020 Le Rocher de Saint Victor Picpoul de Pinet (£6.99 at Lidl) brings us bright apple, white plum and melon flavours ably supported by energetic grapefruit acidity and a rounded texture.

Call in again on Thursday for the latest look at supermarket promotions ready for next Monday’s pair of great value Top Tips.

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2 Responses

  1. Hi Brian, I must admit, Chilean wine in general consistently over-delivers at the moment, especially when it comes to finding a decent bottle from the high street retailers. This carmenere made in partnership with the excellent Cono-Sur certainly gives you value for money (at £6.50 which is hard to fault). I think Chilean wine should be on everyone’s radar, there are some excellent sub £10 bottles around.

  2. Spot on Dave – especially among recent vintage chardonnay but, as you say, some great reds too including cool climate pinot noir – but one does need to be selective there.

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