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Sensational Wines Outperforming their Price Points

Two Sunday Best options for the price of one today – and both represent amazing value for money.

That brilliant Alsace pinot gris proved so popular as a recent Sunday Best choice that I have shaped this week’s Thursday post slightly differently.

One big attraction of the pinot gris was its affordability, so I have tried to focus on comparable price points today.

Obviously, that cannot happen every week as some stars do weigh in at higher prices and, in their magnificence, fully justify every penny. 

But today’s approach does mean that Friday Treat and Sunday Best prices almost converge.

So, the small price difference but high quality of each wine allows me to categorise them both as Sunday Best choices.

I hope they attract as warm a welcome from your taste buds as both wines received from mine. 

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

Sunday Best Red

Trying cabernet from further south

2021 Le Zeitgeist Cabernet Merlot (£10.99 at Virgin Wines and 13.5%):

  • Languedoc cabernet/merlot blends can be richer and riper than Bordeaux versions.
  • This one is medium bodied, dark and perfumed.
  • It has gentle acidity and firm tannin.
  • Bramble and sour cherry are its primary flavours.
  • Aniseed, mint and mocha elements also appear.

For purists, Bordeaux remains France’s “go to” place for cabernet/merlot blends and that region’s complex, mineral-abundant offerings certainly impress – and, in many ways, are unique.

However, for alternative (often richer and riper) versions, Languedoc is a source well worth considering.

Dark with perfumed aromas, this Languedoc example provides medium bodied bramble and sour cherry flavours supported by gentle acidity, but firm tannin.

The picture is completed by suggestions of aniseed, mint and fig, all underpinned by measured savoury, mocha elements. 

White Sunday Best

Adroitly structured Grenache Blanc

2021 The Society’s Cotes du Rhone Blanc (£9.95 at The Wine Society and 13%):

  • Lovely Rhone Valley white blend.
  • Clean and bright with good lemon acidity.
  • Its main flavours include quince, apple and apricot.
  • These emerge in a series of layers.
  • Savouriness and contrasting hints of sweetness join in too.

For versality and as ideal companions for certain foods, whites with a more savoury foundation justify serious consideration.

Grapes like marsanne and roussane (often in blends) are tailor made for the job but, sadly, I have recently encountered several that disappoint.

This example, however, is superb and is made by the Rhone Valley’s Perrin family using exactly those grapes plus grenache blanc. 

Clean and bright, this is winningly structured around layered quince, red apple, pear, apricot and mandarin orange flavours.

Extra levels are added with good lemon acidity, a caress of sweetness and those savoury elements that Rhone whites do so well.

Call in again on Monday when the spotlight once more falls on Top Tips that offer especially good value at a store near you.

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4 Responses

  1. Hi Brian,

    Usually love Rhône whites so will be trying your recommendation. Incidentally, the back label (on the WS website) says “….. a fruity blend that includes grenache blanc, marsanne and roussanne…”

  2. That Languedoc red is timely Brian! Asda currently have the strange no-neck bottle Wise Wolf Cabernet down to £9.50 That with a further 25% off buy-6 until March 5th makes for a very attractive price for a wine much the same in character as you describe the Zeitgeist above. Distinctively different from Bordeaux Cabernets it’s a great example of the French being adaptive with this grape, and Merlot too , away from Bordeaux.

  3. I think you will love it David but thanks for the steer on grape varieties. The site itself only lists grenache but the Society’s back labels are invariably reliable so I will amend the post accordingly. Many thanks for picking up the discrepancy.

  4. The richness and ripeness is quickly apparent and surprising given that mean August temperatures are only 3°C above Bordeaux.

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