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Wasted Time, Wine-based Confusion and What to Do About Them Both.

Recommendations to avoid “wine aisle dither” and unnecessary conservatism.

“I know you like the picture on that one’s label, but this one has an orange ‘money off’ sticker”.

I am sure you have heard many similar wine shelf conversations.

In fact, recent research by M&S found nearly 25% of shoppers admitted to spending over 10 minutes deliberating in the wine aisle.

Feeling overwhelmed by the choice is cited as part of the reason.

FOWM (fear of wasting money) is, I sense, another factor – especially as the same survey reveals that 40% of customers stick to buying wines they already know.

Do let MidWeek Wines help, then, with recommendations that you can buy without hesitation – or much likelihood of disappointment.

One thing we cannot help with, however, is rapidly escalating prices so remember the newspaper comment I quoted recently that “£8 is the new £5.99”.

Today’s selections (at £7.50) seem to confirm that point.

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

One few people will “know already”.

2022 Found Refosco (£7.50 at M&S stores but only available in cases of 6 online and 13% abv):

M&S publicity material tells us that its “Found” range is designed to unearth “exciting and undiscovered tastes” often using lesser-known grape varieties.

Well, they certainly meet that objective well with this refosco from NE Italy that will delight lovers of soft, fruity reds.

Dark and smooth, it has an attractive foundation of juicy raspberry, plum and cherry flavours.

Fresh acidity, modest tannin, smoky slate influences and suggestions of ginger snap and aniseed complete the picture of a seriously underestimated light red wine.

Something more familiar and perennially good.

2022 La Vieille Ferme Blanc (£7.50 – instead of £8.50 until 21 November – at Morrisons and 12.5%):

Anyone still dubious about Rhȏne Valley white wines should test drive this captivating old friend made by the region’s accomplished Perrin family.

It eschews some obvious blending options to configure a fusion of bourboulenc, ugni blanc and vermentino (rolle) with the more predictable grenache blanc.

Crisp with a creamy texture, the result centres on nicely balanced greengage and crunchy apple flavours.

Those components integrate well with the wine’s citrus acidity, other orange peel elements, mineral undercurrent and hints of pear drop.

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10 Responses

  1. Generally excellent recommendations, but presenting a wine that can only be bought in cases of 6, is not helpful to those who want to try a wine for the first time.

  2. Morning Frank and great to hear from you. That wine should be available in M&S physical stores in single bottles; the case constraint only applies online. I mentioned it because I wanted to give subscribers an opportunity to use the hyperlink to the retailer’s site and garner more information about the wine. Sorry if that has confused the picture.

  3. I find it a frustrating aspect of the M&S website the way it doesn’t provide individual links to information about each of its wide selection of bottles, but only links to the more limited selection of wines it sells in cases online.

    1. So do I Rebecca but I am guessing that it is part of the Ocado link up – “you (M&S) sell in store and in cases online, while we (Ocado) sell the single bottles online”. Falls over though when Ocado doesn’t sell the wine in question (as here).

  4. Hi Brian … as always an interesting take on things to get people talking. It seems to me to be a lot about that phrase well to the forefront in the media just now … making lifestyle choices!!

    But then LITWA , lingering in the wine aisle, for too long maybe wasting time we don’t have, is not the same as the practicalities of making our online selections. People make good points about the vagueries of the M&S website and you bringing up the Ocado thing that has troubled me recently, so much so that I am unlikely now to go back there to shop online.

    But I do often linger elsewhere for a certain reason … and that is trying to actually LOCATE what I know I’m looking for.

    I was stood in an Aldi the other day for best part of 15 minutes trying to find that white Castellore Ribolla Gialla and had to give up. It wasn’t there but as with many supermarkets, and Aldi isn’t the worst, shelving systems are hopeless, badly organised and badly restocked and it took ages to work through the process of realisation that there wasn’t going to be a purchase.

    Castellore Ribolla Gialla Wine 75cl | ALDI

    For me Sainsbury’s and Waitrose are about the best aisles of all the big ones. They at least stick to the old premise of country by country that I prefer and their staff do seem to understand most of the time what comes from where!!

    But I fortunately have the time to linger so will continue to enjoy that small privilege of lifestyle choice.

    Speaking of Sainsbury’s a quick mention now, very early doors this, there’s a 25% off buy 6 bottles for Xmas starting tomorrow Tuesday November 14th but it is said it will run until December 19th!!! Astonishing to me. We shall see how accurate that press release is.

  5. The M&S Found range contains some real gems.I call it the M&S Sound range.I enjoyed the Rioja Mazuelo red wine £8 which is no longer available on line , but is still in store.A beguiling fresh sweet raspberry flavour with wild herbs and a full bodied long finish.Got Decanter Silver Award.
    Made from Carignan (Mazuelo) grape which was a surprise to me for a Rioja .Well worth looking out for on store shelves before it disappears and becomes Lost instead of Found.

  6. That’s a good point you make Eddie. There is an important distinction between grocery shoppers and folk like you and I for whom browsing in the wines aisles is a joy and part of the pleasure we find in wine. However, my target for this post is anyone simply buying wine in the shopping run who would welcome a helping hand to reduce confusion and make things quicker without prejudicing quality.

  7. Neat ending there Paul – nicely done! Like you, I applaud the initiatives from M&S (and Waitrose and the Sainsbury’s Discovery range) to tease out little known wines that so often are interesting, delightfully different – and frequently great value in the bargain. Better still, sites like this can take the risk of disappointment out of buying them.

  8. Some great ideas above; thanks Mid Weekers.

    The Vieille Ferme Blanc above is currently reduced to £7.50 in ASDA however it’s also in their 25% list so double dipping possible.

    Just a word about the recent Aldi whites which at last have become dry again by some miracle. Try the green capped Fiano at £5.49 and the bone dry Rose version of the Specially Selected Bordeaux from Chassauxet Fils is quite complex however is £7.99

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