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Our New Look for Thursdays

The new format for Thursday posts kicks off today supporting supermarket news with a brilliant Sunday Best gavi and two tasty options from Laithwaites.

A warm welcome to the first of the new-style Thursday posts.

I was bothered that the monthly “all encompassing” posts had become too long so I resolved to do two things.

  • Reduce details about supermarket promotions to when they end and, at most, one recommendation from each.
  • Offer one Sunday Best and one (re-styled) Pick of the Clicks option each week rather than bundle them together once a month.

I hope those changes meet most people’s needs better.

One aspect that is retained though is providing pictures and, where appropriate, hyperlinks to help guide you to the wine in question.

Friday Night Specials

Those Sunday Best choices featured later obviously suit those occasions when the wine needs to be as special as the event.

By contrast, the Top Tips revealed each Monday are true “mid-week wines”, selected to enliven even a wet Wednesday night in winter.

However, that leaves a leave a big hole between the two – and that gap is the focus for this segment dubbed (pursuing my theme) “Friday Night Specials”.

Its selections aim to hit that spot (currently £8 to £12) where investing a couple of pounds more opens the door to appreciable (and appreciated) extra complexity and balance.

They are ideal for celebrating the end of the conventional working week and, oftentimes, the selections will be an online wine – but remember that there may be a delivery charge.

Here’s our first one

As I said last week, with summer approaching (fingers crossed), interest intensifies in juicy and less weighty red wines capable of being chilled.

Relatively little known here, dornfelder grapes, in this case from Germany’s Rheinhessen region, are just perfect for that role as this playfully named and packaged version testifies.

Light and aromatic, 2021 Dawn Felder Dornfelder (from £10.49 at Laithwaites and 12% abv) is based around attractive but strident cherry and red currant flavours.

Those elements are neatly combined with gentle acidity, the softest of tannin plus suggestions of herbs and orange zestiness.

Introductory Bonus

Since this is the first of these features, here is a second option you may like to consider if ordering from Laithwaites.

I am often asked about orange wine (very trendy but also feeling a bit mysterious) but this selection is, to me, the perfect cross-over version.

If you do not like this – and some of you may not – then orange wine is probably not for you.

So, what’s it all about?

Although the example I discuss later is one of the “natural wines”, orange wine can be made by almost any winemaker and is simply white wine made in the same way as red wine.

Rather than being separated early from their skins (in the usual “white wine” way), juice destined for orange wines stay in contact with its skins for much longer (sometimes up to six months).

This provides colour (ranging from pale gold to amber) and gives the resulting wine more texture and an extended flavour range.

So, do give this one a try.

Floral and smooth, Romania’s 2021 Orange Natural Wine (from £9.99 at Laithwaites and 12.5%) provides ripe pear, peach, mango and melon flavours.

Predictably textured, it also has hints of honey sweetness and an underlying pithiness along with lively grapefruit and tangerine acidity.

Sunday Best Choice

Sometimes, however, the event calls for wine that is even more distinctive and, invariably, will strain the budget that little bit more.

Consequently, we need to make sure that whatever is chosen really will give that extra sophistication and grace that befits the occasion.

Here’s my choice for this week.

North-western Italy’s Piemonte region is justifiably famed for its red wines, but I am focussing today on its white wine from around Gavi.

Made from the cortese grape, entry-point Gavi often struggles to get the balance right.

Too much acidity makes the wine piercingly intrusive while too little (or excessive yields) can drive it over the edge from delicacy into insipidity.

Get it right, though, and the result can be magnificent and that is the case here. 

Truly distinctive and aromatic, 2021 Giribaldi “I Risi” Gavi (from £16.20 – on a muti-buy – at www. wickhamwine.co.uk and 13%) is founded on soft flavours of peach, orange and lemon curd.

Complexity is derived from the textured savoury components that kick in part way through and the suggestions of sweeter herbs that subsequently join them which – together – are nicely bolstered by carefully balanced, crisp, grapefruit acidity.

A true Sunday Best option.


After the flurry of “25% or suchlike” multi-buy options to catch the double Bank Holiday, the promotions scene now has a more conventional look.

Sainsbury’s has a set of deals that run through until 28 June and include almost 50 Taste the Difference wines.

At Morrisons, the current promotion ends a week earlier (on 21 June) but has over 25 money off deals in Scotland on its (The Best) premium range and that number more than doubles for the “25% off when you buy three” promotions where multi-buys are permitted.

As this webpage shows, Asda also has a wide range of price reductions using its “Rollback” and “Dropped and Locked” price mechanics but I have no details of when these end.

Meanwhile a new promotion for Clubcard holders started at Tesco on Tuesday with a mixture of expiry dates ranging from 13 to 19 June.

Proving that the “25% offers” are still alive somewhere, Waitrose tell us that “from Wednesday 8th June to Tuesday 14th June 2022, Waitrose will be offering 25% off all wine and Champagne priced £5 and over, when purchasing any six or more bottles”.

Do check their website though for conditions and exclusions but to help you assemble a collection of 6 wines, here are those I have recommended so far this year with their list prices:   

  • 2020 Voyage Au Sud Vermentino (£6.29)
  • 2020 Sorcova Pinot Noir (£7.99)
  • 2020 La Vieille Ferme Rouge (£7.99)
  • 2021 La Cerisa Rosa Pinot Grigio Rosé (£8.49)
  • 2020 Grant Burge Shiraz (£9.49)
  • 2020 Chateau Rampeau Bordeaux Sauvignon 9.99)
  • 2019 Cave de Beblenheim Kleinfels Riesling (£10.99)
  • 2020 Mabis La Carezza Pinot Nero (£10.99)

Star Buy from Promotions:

If you are looking for a slightly different and more savoury white, try Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Languedoc Blanc (£6.50 instead of £8 until 28 June).

It combines marsanne, white grenache and vermentino grapes to provide rounded melon, quince and tropical fruit flavours embellished with lively grapefruit acidity

My next post (on Monday) contains details of the latest of those Top Tips mentioned earlier – so, do join me then.

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4 Responses

  1. I have never tasted a bad Jean Claude Mas wine from the Languedoc.He took over from his dad,Paul Mas and upped the quality and offers good wines at very reasonable prices.The TTD Languedoc White is a steal at the discounted price and the Languedoc Red is also very good.Another quality Mas wine at Sainsbury’s is the Elegant Frog.The Coop do a classy Mas Picpoul de Pinet and Morrisons Clairette de Languedoc is another good wine.

  2. With you, Paul, on the skills of Jean Claude – not just as a winemaker but as a businessman too. He has played a major role in Languedoc wines re-inventing themselves with many New World influences. His base near Pezenas is also a great visitor attraction in the Australian Cellar Door tradition.

  3. Thanks for the 25% off 6 wines at Waitrose tip Paul. I stocked up today and found that, unlike the other major supermarkets, theirs included Port and Sherry, and probably other fortified wines, in the deal.
    May be worth pointing out the next time the offer comes around.

  4. Good point John although, unlike Sainsbury’s, Waitrose’s 25% off deals are instead of – not as well as – other promotions. Touch of roundabouts and swings I guess.

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