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When simplicity and value is all you need

What to buy instead of (or as well as) Marlborough sauvignon plus wine to enhance a simple midweek meal.

Of course, we all love those sensational and brilliant wines that appear several rungs up the price ladder and that grace any occasion however special.

But “special occasion” is a clue here – most days are not like that.

As folk in wine producing countries illustrate perfectly, “normal” days are what the local equivalent of vin ordinaire is all about.

Such wines need be neither expensive nor sophisticated but, in sensible quantities, they significantly upgrade any mealtime.

In essence, they add a molecule of stardust to what might otherwise be just a mundane re-fuelling stop. 

It is precisely that sort of wine that is the focus for the red part of today’s Top Tips post.

Its partner is a stylish sauvignon blanc that is a cut above versions normally available at its list price – even before the current £1 discount is applied.

I hope you enjoy them both.

As usual, images and hyperlinks are provided where possible to make buying these wines that little bit easier.

Good informal mealtime drinking

So here is that inexpensive red, which uses the cariñena grape (from the Spanish region of the same name) in a blend that also features garnacha and tempranillo. 

While not especially subtle or complex, 2019 Marques de Carano Gran Reserva (£5, instead of £6 until 15 August, with a Tesco Clubcard) is – as I said earlier – an ideal companion to informal midweek mealtimes at home.

Garnet in colour, it has textured, earthy, cherry, plum and smoky tobacco flavours with oaky smoothness, bright acidity and moderate tannin.

South Africa sauvignon to relish

Despite shortages of New Zealand sauvignon blanc, the UK retains its love for that variety.

Chilean versions partly fill any void but, as this excellent example demonstrates, South Africa probably comes closest to matching those vibrant Marlborough qualities.

With a restrained but creamy texture, 2021 Fairtrade Irresistible Sauvignon Blanc (£5.50 – instead of £6.50 until 16 August – at the Co-op) is centred on leafy gooseberry, grapefruit and asparagus flavours.

Those elements are neatly enlivened by a pithy acidity that, in turn, is complemented by a savoury finish containing sage and ginger touches.

Drop by again on Thursday for my regular post on supermarket promotions that also reveals my Friday Treat and Sunday Best recommendations.

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4 Responses

  1. Stonking red for a fiver that one Brian!! I went and had 2 bottles but should have had the other 2 bottles on the shelf as well. I will go elsewhere and seek a lot more at that money when it will make a perfect go-to-house- red for a few weeks! My local Co op doesnt have the SA-SB right now and as is often the case with the chain, online price shows no discounting. Will keeping looking because both SB and Chenin from SA , are curently very satisfying right now. Cheers

  2. Thanks Eddie. A “house wine” was exactly what I had in mind for this guy. Simple, straight forward, honest-to-goodness red wine. So, I am glad that you see it the same way. As you say about its white partner, Co-op stores vary from place to place and their website does not always keep up with promotions – hence no hyperlink.

  3. I got some more this morning Brian! My wife … a somewhat ”fussy” drinker when it comes to reds I know she will enjoy , bless her, really went for it as we sat out late last evening with Piri Piri chicken and corn on the cob! I subscribe strongly to the house-red ethos at around £5 to £6, no massive financial commitment but as you say in the honest-to-goodness category just open and drink however it happens with any mid-week meal. BUT .. change it as we will. Your recommendation in this matter is essential . Thank you as ever …

  4. Glad you secured some reinforcements! Your description of the “house red ethos” is exactly what I hope MidWeek Wines can create. With careful selection (my job), no one need pay a king’s ransom for presentable, no-frills wine. As you hint, though, such wines are not built to last and one does need to update your choice fairly regularly. So … [stand by for commercial break] … what better reason to sign up for those regular emails!

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