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Reputations enhanced, but value preserved

Revivals are often good to see, and today’s post looks at two names that had faded from view but are now back - improved but still well-priced.  

Once upon a time the wines of Vouvray were “ever present” on the wine shelves – and sold well.

Likewise, at the same time, sturdy but standard Portuguese red wines often involved something from the numerous co-operatives of Bairrada or Dão.

Gradually, however, other regions and countries usurped their once prominent positions, relegating both areas to the wine producing equivalent of “bin ends”.

More recently, though, with modern minded growers and winemaking (coupled, for Vouvray, with climate change), things have altered appreciably.

Both parts of the world now produce fresher, more subtle and more attractively balanced wines.

Here are two examples that reinforce the point forcefully.

Fortunately, however, prices in both regions are still modest and that, of course, adds to their current desirability.

Try them out to see the results for yourselves.

Once again, pictures and hyperlinks are included where possible to make it easier to track down the wine in question.

First then the Dao

2021 The Best Dao Red (See below for pricing details at Morrisons, but 13% abv):

Once merely home to simple, dull wines, Portugal’s Dao region now produces cultured and tasty reds like this.

Using the lively mencia grape (called jaen in Portugal), this example is centred around smoky prune and bramble flavours.

Good acidity, firm tannin and violet aromas embellish those flavours nicely, as do the wine’s touches of clove, cocoa and contrasting minerality.

NB: While this wine has a list price of £9, it is discounted by around £2 in different parts of the UK, and for different time periods – so carefully check the situation in your local store.

Then motor north east to the mid-Loire

2021 Cave des Roches Vouvray (£7.50 at Tesco and 13.5%):  

Despite losing its popular “drink anytime” status many years ago, Vouvray (made from chenin blanc grapes in France’s Loire Valley) can still delight.

Off-dry with attractive red apple aromas, this example delivers smooth peach, pear and honey flavours.

Those elements are accompanied here by lively, sherbet influenced, lime acidity and a creamy depth.

Join me again on Thursday when I start the first of my four-part reviews of wines for Christmas with a look at sweet wines and their fortified counterparts. See you then.

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6 Responses

  1. Hi Brian … Nice you give the Cave de Roches Vouvray a name-check. I’ve had it before and I liked it for being authentic. Plenty of other Chenin Blanc around that I like too that’s a touch edgier than off-dry. The SA Bruce Jack for instance is fine for discounted money. As for the price of this Vouvray, in those proper caves in the village 40 years ago where all the local estates punted to the public, the money was quite high back then trading on the fame-of-the-name I think. So even shelf price here and now is pretty competitive.

    When Sainsbury’s 25% buy-6 deals come thick and fast these days here’s another starting this week on Wednesday November 16th!! So this Vouvray will be £5.60 then. Gotta have it along with a Paul Mas Heritage White from the Languedoc normally £9 that will be £5.60 that appeals to me, unusual, single variety Clairette grape …

    Two bottles from the not heavily promoted Discovery Selection as well, (and might I say not always in-store unfortunately,) that catch my eye, Mencia from Spain at the ridiculous price of £5.60 for such provenance https://www.sainsburys.co.uk/gol-ui/product/sainsburys-discovery-collection-mencia-taste-the-difference-75cl … and the Morellino di Scansano that will be £7.50.
    Back here to variations on the Chianti theme that delight me personally though I understand fully that ”Sangiovese” is not everybody’s choice. There is often a Toscana Rosso on the shelf
    too, but I couldn’t get an online link up for it.

  2. Eddie ….. That is absolutely brilliant stuff and so helpful for MidWeekers who like to take advantage of promotions when they arise. Also good to see your endorsement of that Loire white; I think we are both happy to see Loire wines coming back mainstream – and being skilfully updated.
    Not sure why Sainsbury’s Discovery range doesn’t get as much of a push as some others. It may be volume issues because I know they have reduced their usual “minimum purchase levels” to get some of these lesser known wines aboard.

  3. Just to say I was mixing up my /Your Vouvrays and supermarkets! Yours is Tesco here. I liked it when I had it previously..mine is/was Sainsbury’s … and I have another waiting to be opened from Asda. I like to try them all for old-times sake when I spot them. All have been bought on a deal and as you rightly point to the producers these days have got their acts together and are making very attractive stuff.

  4. Hi Brian, the Dao sounds good I must give it a try. Thanks for the info on the Aldi Christmas offers I tried the the Mimo Moutinho which I got for £2.99 it was lovely and a steal at that price and in my opinion a much better wine than most at its normal £5.99.

  5. Glad it delighted your taste buds Barry; it is nice wine indeed (even, as you suggest, at its normal price). The Dao is sturdier but, like so many Portuguese wines currently, represents great value for money .

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