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Like what you know? – think again!

Once again M&S combines originality with really tasty wines including a partner for Thai food and champagne for those put off by the style's conventional acidity.

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Nothing wrong with asserting that “I know what I like” but its corollary “I like what I know” denies its disciples access to the terrific, if unusual, wines that M&S continue to unearth. For the even mildly adventurous, however, here are some that I think you will enjoy.

Although these promotions end on 7 September, a “buy six and save 25% offer” runs in parallel with them outside Scotland. This means that, potentially, the Grillo could cost a mere £4.50 a bottle and that medium dry champagne drops to £15.

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

An unusual but clever blend

Spice, honey but acidity too.
Spice, honey but acidity too.

Alsace’s gewürztraminer grape has delightful, perfumed honey and spice flavours but often lacks acidity; here, then, is a cleverly conceived solution that creates an off-dry white to partner Thai cuisine brilliantly.

The Australian producer has shrewdly blended 2014 William’s Well Gewürztraminer & Riesling (£9) so it delivers the crisp, citrus based freshness of riesling without forsaking gewurz classic aromatic floral touches.

Aniseed and lemon joins the muscat family

Lemon with aromatic depth
Lemon with aromatic depth

What Sicilians call zibibbo is actually part of the muscat family of grapes – well known for the soft, perfumed and sometimes candied wines it often produces.

No surprise then to find honey, sweetish spices and inviting aromas in 2013 Zibibbo (down from £8 to “Two for £12” – or £6 a bottle in Scotland) but here you also encounter a textured aniseed backdrop and pronounced fresh lemon acidity.

Another great Sicilian white

Herbs, spices and soft apple
Herbs, spices and soft apple

Staying in Sicily, M&S have also helped create another attractive food friendly white – this time using the island’s main marsala grape.

Enjoy then the gentle citrus acidity and soft apple flavours of 2013 Grillo (down from £7 to “Two for £12” – or £5 a bottle in Scotland) with its herb and cumin centred depth and sherry style aromas.

Keeping it on the island

Juicy with raspberry freshness
Juicy with raspberry freshness

We are not leaving Sicily yet though because I recently discovered a delightful red from a long standing (but now quite scarce) local grape.

The light and juicy 2013 Caruso e Minini Perricone (£8) has fresh, lively raspberry and red currant fruit with hints of vanilla, all spice and mocha but nicely rounded out with well judged tannins to work well with food.

Champagne with a soft centre

Herbs, spices and soft apple
Herbs, spices and soft apple

Finally, though, to champagne but one for those who struggle with the acidity that normally forms its focal point.

Despite including “dry” in its name, Oudinot Medium Dry: (£20 a bottle – instead of £25) has a fair slice of residual sugar but that merely softens its flavours into toasty, red apple and nectarine influences with only gentle acidity.

 NEW! Great value soft, fruity, red


M&S Aglianico del VultureItaly has created great wines from local grapes, often in difficult circumstances – as with this fruity, juicy red produced on the site of an extinct volcano.

Nevertheless, the smooth and fresh 2013 Aglianico del Vulture (£6 – instead of £10) has delightful soft, cherry and bramble flavours with touches of mocha, cinnamon and vanilla


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