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Top Tips from Italy and Austria

So here are a couple of tasty wines – a nicely configured Italian red and a white from the signature Austrian grape. Both are currently £6 but one goes up £1 tomorrow.

After the Italian white featured last Monday (and promptly discounted by £1 by Tesco the very next day), we stay in Italy for a red but this time the discount is only available to the fleet of foot.

As a companion try one of the major white wine success stories of the last few years – gruner veltliner.

To get lower prices you often have to stray into Hungary or Romania but this one is at a good price yet is from the variety’s Austrian homeland.

Pictures and are included to assist your search for the right product but, this time, hyperlinks to the retailer’s website do not really help much.

First that Italian red

2020 Puglia Rosso (£6 – instead of £7 until 31 January – at M&S):  

As soon as you see red wine from Puglia in the heel of Italy you expect primitivo or negroamaro grapes to be featured but this is actually sangiovese – the chianti grape – although everything nevertheless turns out rather well.

Ripe and rounded, it provides smooth red currant and cherry flavours accompanied by traces of cinnamon and oregano, lively acidity and a slightly sweet finish. 

You will need to scamper to get the discounted price on this as the promotion ends today but the wine is still good value at £7 if you miss the current deal.

Incidentally, websites still refers to the 2019 vintage which actually was made from negroamaro.  

And a well priced white

2020 Austrian Gruner Veltliner (£5.99 at Lidl):  

A great price here for a skilfully crafted version of Austria’s signature white wine that would be rather dearer almost anywhere else – but has now been integrated into Lidl’s core range.

Although it hardly has a snappy name, the wine itself has gathered friends quickly largely because its crispness and potential minerality complement one another well but also because of its versatility.

Restrained yet textured, it exhibits aromatic apple and ripe pear flavours partnered by coriander leaf components, a mineral backdrop, firm lime acidity and evolving tropical fruit sweetness.

May be a bit of a gloomy year!

As I hinted a few months back, the everyday end of the wine market may be in for a rude awakening.

First the weather has been against us – not just in New Zealand for the 2021 harvest but, later on, with major frost damage across much of Southern Europe.

That will reduce supply – as could the current Covid restrictions in New Zealand (by reducing the number of pickers available for the 2022 harvest).   

Back in Europe, supplies from Languedoc will probably be limited too; so, many think, could be the availability of (whisper this softly my friend) pinot grigio and prosecco.

As this informative piece in The Drinks Business suggests, the structure of the UK market may work against us too.

Margins have always been tight here with strong consumer pressure to keep prices low.

When supply shrinks though, producers will (understandably) sell where they find the best prices.

To stay in business, growers always need to maximise their income but doubly so from a depleted harvest.

So, we should brace ourselves first to find alternatives to some of our most popular whites and, secondly, to see prices rise often by £2 or more if current quality levels are to be preserved.

Drop by again on Thursday when I lift the lid on the latest promotions to hit a High Street near you.

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8 Responses

  1. Thank you as ever Brian. I had some of the Sainsbury’s Gruner Veltliner before Xmas at a discounted price. It’s a lovely grape and makes for enjoyable aperitif drinking. But this stock bottle at Lidl sounds like a good go to. Lidl often discount their mid range of wines as a WOTW. Their excellent Chianti Riserva is a case in point, down to either £4.99 or even £4.49 once last year, that makes that bottle truly irresistible and now Decanter are currently on the case its 92/100 points looks to be valid!!! So I wouldn’t mind betting this Gruner Veltliner gets a profile-enhancing discount sometime soon. Given the price usually being asked for it on home turf in Austria, even £5.99 is attractive today. Cheers now ..

  2. We’ve enjoyed GV in the past, but this one isn’t showing up on Lidl website. I was hoping to find the alcohol % before making the trip – the management prefers the lower end, and she must be obeyed.

  3. I find that some wines do not always show up on the retailer’s website but do appear in the physical stores. Worth checking it out. As for abv, the one I sampled was 12.5%

  4. Agree £6 is a great price but, as you say, always worth looking out for Wine of the Week promotions as they often represent tremendous value.

  5. Hi Brian,

    I do love your insights. Thank you.

    Have you tried Aldi’s Romanian Pinot noir (Dealuri) and their Castellore nero D’avola
    Ticks my box .your thoughts?

  6. Hi Simon …. Thanks for getting in touch and for your kind words; they are much appreciated.
    I am sampling several Aldi wines for a web post later this month so will try to include those two. Both have good pedigrees so I am pleased to hear that they work well for you.

  7. Managed to buy a we bottled from last Lidl wine promotion including two Of a GV (not the one you show) Muller Loss and Shotter for £3.99 ,- had the first last evening with fish pie ,- Excellent.

  8. It is indeed a lovely grape variety and I am glad you enjoyed it. Those Lidl clearance deals are well worth seeking out. They are often refreshed when a new Wine Tour begins – and the next one is due on, I think, 24 March. May be an idea to make a diary note for that week – not every store has the same surplus stock though and sometimes none at all.

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