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Top Tips: The Familiar and the Trendy

A traditional Rhone red meets a new-style Blush in today’s great value Top Tips

Our pursuit of good value wines takes us first to South America and then back to a classic French wine region.

As I indicated a few weeks ago, “Blush” wines seem to be becoming more subtle and noticeably drier.

That seems especially true where they are centred (as here) on sauvignon blanc and the acidic flourish that variety so often introduces.

So do see whether today’s featured example impresses you as much as it impressed the IWSC judges.

From something that is a newish trend to something about as traditional as you can get.

Today’s red wine choice is a classic GSM Rhone blend from a long-standing French wine operation (Calvet).

In the usual way, hyperlinks and pictures are used where possible to help you locate the bottle in question.

First up, that “Blush”

2021 La Corriente Sauvignon Blanc Blush (£7 at Asda): 

I recently recommended the Cono Sur Sauvignon Blanc Blush and here is another creditable Chilean “blush” that also captures the best bits of both rosé wines and sauvignon blanc grapes.

Its success in doing so earned it an impressive 90 points at the International Wine & Spirit Competition.

Fresh with a delightful tart finish, it features ripe apple, strawberry and melon flavours partnered by excellent grapefruit acidity and traces of mint, other herbs and savoury influences.

And next a red

2021 Calvet Prestige Cotes du Rhone Villages (£7.50 at Tesco and 14%)

Despite the unhelpful weather in 2021 that supressed alcohol levels in Southern France generally, this red still weighs in at 14%.

This will delight those who love the rounder, denser (and often sweeter) wines that higher alcohol levels often produce.

By any measure, however, this is an excellent example of the “Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre” blends the Southern Rhone does so well.

It also neatly illustrates how “Villages” versions often out-perform basic Cȏtes du Rhȏnes.  

Smooth and textured, this one has herbal plum and raspberry flavours supported by good acidity and mild tannin with suggestions of chocolate, black pepper and a gentle overall spiciness.

See you again on Thursday when my regular Sunday Best choices join forces with suggested Friday treats and, of course, also provides details of the current promotions scene in major retailers.

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4 Responses

  1. Very interested in the Chilean Sauvignon Blanc Blush Brian, fortunately we have a large Asda only a couple of miles away. I’ve been buying the Italian Sangiovese or Pinot Grigio version, (normally from Aldi or Tesco), for around £5-00 a bottle for some while, but this would appear to be a substantial upgrade in quality. Just one thing, my wife is a big Rose fan, and isn’t particularly enamoured by Sauvignon whites, especially those from New Zealand, (far too much “gooseberry” for her). To what extent do you think, does the overall taste of Sauvignon come through with the La Corriente, (if that’s not a daft question!)

  2. By no means a daft question. Yes you do get some typical sauvignon flavours in this wine but bear three things in mind:
    • This is Chilean sauvignon which tends to be less assertive in its acidity than New Zealand versions.
    • Those gooseberry flavours are replaced here by melon and apple components.
    • Around 10% of the wine is not sauvignon and that seems to give it strawberry flavours and herbal touches.
    On balance, I would give it a try but, if that proves a mistake, I will recommend a rosé I think she will enjoy and, thus, get you (and me) out of the doghouse!

  3. Enjoyed this discussion on Sauvignon Blanc Blush. Just to mention that I got a bottle of last week’s similar South Africa, Belmont, recommendation from the new Lidl Wine Tour. My wife said ”that’s a funny colour”!! In fact I can report that I thought it as enjoyable as any blush/rose I’ve had in a while. It is light in colour but has lots of body, more than is typical of say a Provencal lighter-end rose, so presumably that’s the SB contribution. But for a very enjoyable change to a typical NZ-SB with lots of mineralty that I enjoy a lot, I’d be happy to buy, and buy this again! Thank you Brian

  4. You are right Eddie., I should have included that in my reference to Sauvignon Blush. As I said in the post, I felt the Lidl scoring did not do this guy justice. For sure it is not bone dry but that need not be a bad thing. Within reason, that makes it an even better option as “drink anytime” wine and a more versatile food wine.
    Thanks for confirming some of my thoughts on it.

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