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When Brands Work Well

A branded South American red is joined today by an impressive – but less well-known - Easter-tide prosecco.

Branded wines often feature prominently in supermarket promotions, but wine insiders can treat them disdainfully.

I can understand those doubts since “premium own label” wines often outperform similarly priced branded counterparts.

Done well, however, branded wines do have advantages – such as consistency between years – that are important to consumers.

Another benefit centres on most brand owners’ determination to avoid reputational damage – meaning that seriously unsuccessful wines will quickly be identified and weeded out.

So, I have chosen a “branded wine done well” as my recommendation in today’s post.

It is from the largest wine producer in Argentina.

Its partner, however, is a prosecco that is not part of a major brand.

There are several acclaimed large scale prosecco producers – Mionetto and Zonin are but two – but here I have opted for an (I think) Aldi exclusive.

I feel that this one is great value and a cut above many rivals at its price point.

Also today, Eddie the Eagle Eyed takes a look at the current multi-buy promotion at Morrisons.

Adopting my traditional format, images and, where possible, hyperlinks accompany the assessments of the wines.

Not the Argentinian grape you anticipated.

2021 Trapiche Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (£6 – instead of £7 until 10 April- for Tesco Clubcard holders):

Although malbec is the most planted red grape in Argentina, significant volumes of cabernet sauvignon are also grown there, especially around Mendoza.

This example from thereabouts is both aromatic and velvety yet also exhibits ripe damson and red cherry flavours.

Those characteristics are coupled with bright acidity, soft tannins and suggestions of vanilla, chocolate and cedar.

Next up – that prosecco.

2021 Castellore Organic Prosecco Rosé (£8.79 at Aldi):

The long-standing (non-rosé) version of this prosecco has been excellent but, sometimes, a reliable wine’s rosé incarnation fails to reach the same level.

No such problem here, though, as this works well and is every bit as good as its “white” companion.

Fresh with a creamy texture, the wine displays ripe strawberry and peach flavours attractively enlivened by good acidity.

Enjoy too, its neat combination of gentle sweetness and savoury soda water hints that build engagingly on its opening energetic mousse.

Eddie the Eagle-Eyed Reporting

Morrisons offer a long window of opportunity with their latest ”25% off buy-6 bottles” … and … a ”2 for £10” on certain bottles as well.

It started last week but goes on until April 11th and that will facilitate multiple trips – one from which you can choose what you like best and, then, to go back and top up!

On-line details provide information about which wines qualify for these deals (which is not always obvious) so do check what is what.

An appealing Italian red to try

When wine is so comparatively cheap, this is a great time to experiment or go back for some old favourites.

In this latter category for me, is this Super Tuscan cuvée – Morrisons The Best Toscana, £8 down to £6 – which is rare in the big supermarkets here.

A mid week pizza or meaty pasta can be well-served by this gem although decanting or aerating can help soften things even more.

And an unusual but soft white

Also especially interesting is Vinus by Paul Mas Clairette (£6.50/ £4.87).

At this money it is something unusual to experiment with and clairette is rare as a stand-alone grape.

From hot and sunny Languedoc, this version gets good reviews (the 2019 vintage scored 89 in Decanter magazine) and this seems to be the lowest price it has been anywhere in the last year.

Finally to Spain

And a reliable Spanish red is this Mucho Mas Black Label that I have had recently from Tesco – on recommendation here from Mid-Weeker Chris.

It is a tempranillo/syrah cuvée of high quality with massive black fruit components, and drops from £6.50 to £4.88 as part of this promotion.

Just remember though, that these deals apply to England and Wales only, so check out all the restrictions and exclusions so you are not disappointed.

[Many thanks Eddie some terrifically good pointers there …. Editor]

The next post (on Thursday) reveals my suggestions about what to buy from the latest Lidl Wine Tour.

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10 Responses

  1. Road trip to Berwick coming on Saturday then to stock up on Mucho Mas at that price.
    Wonder if I can phone the manager in advance??!!??!!

  2. Back to birds again!
    Vinus is French for Heron and most Paul Mas wines have a Heron on them somewhere.
    His son Jean Claude Mas now runs the show and the wines are nearly always good quality at a fair price.

  3. I note that the Morrisons’ “The Best English Sparkling Brut Vintage 2010” is included in the current 25% off deal. The shelf price of this wine has fluctuated over the past few years, peaking at £25 or even £27, but is currently £20. This wine has spent 8 years on lees, and is rumoured to be from an impeccable and very well known producer. I have drunk quite a few bottles, and find it balanced, creamy and without the (to me) slightly excessive acidity often found in English sparklers and Champagne. The last example I drunk was in April 2022, and didn’t notice much “caramel” on the nose, so wasn’t rushing to finish up my remaining couple of bottles. At a net £15 for such a classy wine, highly recommended!

  4. Hi Brian & all,
    Having just returned (and now recovered) from a hectic 7 week Wine & Dentistry Tour of SE Spain we once again dashed off to our local Morrisons this morning for your featured 6 less 25% offer on the Paul Maas Clairette at under a Fiver ! Thanks again for the tip’ple off and first bottle once cooled a bit will hopefully compliment nicely the Fish this evening.
    Noted the Mucho Mas was also on Morrisons shelf too – check for price & offer though.
    Happy Spring Equinox and roll on summer ….

  5. Chris … If you are travelling a distance what about fixing an online ”click and collect” order so you are not disappointed if they had a ”rush” on your preferred bottles before you got there? I’m thinking of course if you were registered under a Scottish postcode for online purchasing then would they disallow you having it at the reduced price as sold in England, in which case you do have to go in-store for the purchase and it wouldn’t be worth pre-ordering! Considering the actual location of this Morrisons Berwick store at the last roundabout on the ring road and just a short hop to ”the border” it’s all quite ironic. Good luck …

  6. Not sure why the heron is an emblem for the business but, like you, share an admiration for what J-C Mas does. The number of own label wines he produces for UK supermarkets suggests we are not alone in regarding him highly.

  7. Good call Richard. Interesting to see English sparkling wines beginning to soften a little on price as supermarkets highlight them more and more.

  8. “Tipple off” I rather like that. Hope you won’t sue me if it appears in a post later in the year! Eddie seems to feel that the Much Mas does now drop below £5, did the store signs suggest otherwise?

  9. Interesting to see “Booze Cruises” now crossing a land border. As you say, that particular store is handily placed for cross-border raids.

  10. Happy to contribute to your much appreciated efforts.
    Sadly can’t assist further on the Much Mas price point at Morrisons.

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