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The good side of stay-at-home drinking.

Two selections for you that make stay-at-home drinking even more rewarding and attractive.

Tim Martin recently complained that half the UK pub industry’s beer sales have been snatched by supermarkets over the 40-year life of his Weatherspoon operation.

I guess the wine world could also point to significant increases in the part of their trade now sourced from supermarkets and drunk at home. 

Covid restrictions and, now, economic conditions have probably pushed things yet further in that direction.

And, despite the conviviality and sense of occasion pubs and restaurants offer, cost effectiveness and greater choice do give drinking at home an edge.

So, since staying at home is increasing anyway, let’s accentuate the positives.

An important one is the way it can allow us to trade up what we drink yet still be better off than going out.

Let’s be equally clear though, drinking at home need not exclusively involve supermarket wines – good as some of them are.

Brilliantly organised on-line operations also offer great value wines and support those products with vastly better information than “talking shelves” can ever provide.   

My Sunday Best options and the – usually more modestly priced – Friday Treats often feature examples of exactly what I have in mind.

Today’s post has selections from each category that give you a chance to seize that trading up opportunity but to do so without the risk of buying disappointing wine.

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

Friday Treat

Romania Triumphs Again

2020 Curious Parallel Feteasca Regala (£9.99 at Virgin Wines and 11.5% abv):

  • Another example of a lovely Romanian grape.
  • Nicely aromatic and easy drinking in style.
  • Bright melon and passion fruit flavours.
  • Also has sherbet, lemon curd and spice elements.
  • Acidity is quite mild though.

Romania’s Cramele Recas winery does it again with another brilliant version of the tortuously named (but easy drinking) feteasca regala grape.

Light in colour but with lovely aromas, this example delivers bright passion fruit, orange and ripe melon flavours built into a medium bodied texture.

The package is then embellished by touches of lemon curd and the sweeter spices while its mild acidity adds zippy sherbet influences rather like old style “Refresher” sweeties.

Sunday Best

Another excellent Spanish Garnacha

2017 La Viña de Ayer Garnacha Soto Manrique (£12.79 at All About Wine and 14%):

  • From an (almost) undiscovered region.
  • Beautiful example of classy garnacha.
  • Cherry, raspberry and red currant flavours.
  • Savoury foundation with herb and spice influences.
  • Modest tannin but sharp acidity.

Formal recognition came late to Central Spain’s Cebreros region (home to this wine) but it is noteworthy in particular for the garnacha wines produced there.

The area is especially popular with cutting edge winemakers keen to optimise the benefits of its height and granite centred geology.

This particular wine struck me as a great example with a very reasonable price label given the high quality level it attains. 

Medium bodied with a gentle savoury backdrop, its centre piece is vibrant red currant, raspberry and red cherry favours.

Also on parade though are baking spice, lavender and thyme elements all forcefully invigorated by sharp citrus peel acidity yet with only limited tannin in evidence. 

Call in again on Monday when the spotlight falls on Top Tips that offer especially good value in High Street stores.

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3 Responses

  1. Excellent piece there Tom especially the information about the Mollydooker Shake that I never knew before!!! I am an advocate of aeration with a small unit we use on the table at home, or indeed with some stuff that has improved from decanting. And then leaving half a bottle to see if some unexpressive wine will improve after 24 hours from first being opened. Often it works. The article sits well next to Brian’s when he mentions pub wine drinking that I won’t participate in EVER, mainly because I hardly go in pubs these days, but if I do I choose what I hope will be an enjoyable hand pump IPA. But pub wine definitely not, and certain restaurant chains too that take no pride in providing a budget priced house wine with any appeal. What I can say is I agree wholeheartedly about that Torres Sangre-do-Toro, that is top-drawer for the full money being asked for it in Asda, £7.50, though I’ve been lucky to have it from a Spanish supermarket for around €4 in the past, and get a free sommeliers’ promo’ cork screw thrown in! Cheers now …

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