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Where Value Lies off the Beaten Track

It is the “road less travelled” for an Italian red and “Loire” sauvignon today – but coupled with a look at something much more familiar – the Supermarket wine scene.

On the balance of probabilities, well established regions are the places to look for prudent wine purchases.

They have years of experience, stocks that ensure bad years do not compromise consistency disastrously and both a climate and geology that everyone knows work.

And yet … and yet … there is something compelling about taking the road least travelled.

Imaginative and industrious new winemakers often start in places on that highway because expenses are lower – and quite often unexpected gems emerge as a consequence.

Equally, it is not just costs that are lower, so is demand, and this often means prices do not explode.

It also feels good to “discover” wines from such areas.

Today’s Friday Treat selection tries to do just that with a red from Italy’s second smallest wine region.

Not to be outdone, the Sunday Best choice is a “Loire” sauvignon from a part of the region that is too often overlooked.

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

Friday Treat

2020 Concettina Rosso (from £9.49 at Laithwaite’s and 13.5% abv):

This red blend is from Molise (a tiny region south of Abruzzo) and is almost two-thirds montepulciano.

Cabernet sauvignon provides most of the remainder but there is also a 10% dash of syrah to give a pleasant wine for informal drinking and good value at its price.

Dark in colour but soft in texture, it brings us mulberry, plum and loganberry flavours supported by good acidity, traces of baking spice and nuttiness but surprisingly little tannin.

Sunday Best

2021 Calvet Haut Poitou (£10.99 at Waitrose and 11.5%):

I mentioned the other day that Calvet is re-positioning itself in the market and part of that strategy is introducing little known regions and their wines – as it does here.

Haut Poitou’s production is usually regarded as Loire Valley wine although it is actually some distance from the river and much closer to the city of Poitiers.

But its grape varieties are distinctly Loire in nature with, as here, sauvignon blanc heading up the white contingent.

Mellow but with a prickle of lemon acidity, this version delivers herbal apple, white peach and melon flavours coupled with a savoury slate twist and a gentle texture that brings green pepper elements to the party. 

An update on 2022 NZ sauvignon

I secured a bottle of the new vintage Yealands version the other day (more on this in a minute) but first let’s take a look at the harvest as a whole.

Despite minor disease problem in some vineyards, Yealands report that their 2022 sauvignons are vibrant and fresh, with tropical fruit and herbaceous flavours coming through clearly.

In addition, their pinot gris is developing nicely with “lovely pear drop notes and good mineral purity”.

To replenish depleted stocks after last year’s small harvest, though, sauvignon blanc bottling was started as early as May this year.

But what about the wine itself?

2022 Yealands Sauvignon Blanc (from £7.99 at Majestic and 12.5%):

Here a classic sauvignon “nose” is joined by bright pear, gooseberry and apple flavours combined with hints of herbs, lemon grass and an underpinning sweetness yet everything is embellished by tongue tingling lime and pink grapefruit acidity.

Majestic stores are currently cutting across from the 2021 vintage so make sure that you are buying wine from the correct year. 


After the flurry of activity last week, there is little to report this time other than the impending expiry of some price reductions.

The extensive collection of offers in Waitrose stores ends on 1 November so this is the final call on this site for the price reductions outlined on this page of the retailer’s website.

On the same day, Sainsbury’s bring the curtain down on their current promotions. That means an end to their “25% off when you buy 6” discounts as well as the individual bottle reductions that appear on the Sainsbury’s website.

A day earlier sees the end of the “25% off deal” for Tesco Clubcard holders that Carl told us about on Monday.

After today’s nod towards slightly more expensive wine like that Haut Poitou, it’s back to budget (but great value) fare in Monday’s Top Tip selections.

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4 Responses

  1. Good Morning Brian, thanks for this week’s post. Hope you don’t mind, would just like some advice on Lidl’s current ”Pick Of The Week” wine deals. This weekend, from Friday 28/10 through to Sunday 30/10, they have their own label Australian Cabernet Sauvignon Coonawarra Red at £5-29, down from £6-79.

    Next week, (Friday 4/11 to Sunday 6/11), they’re offering their own label New Zealand Gisborne Pinot Gris White for £5-49, down from £6-99. Both of these, as is usual, are for England only, there are substantially more expensive choices for Scotland, this weekend for example in Scotland, there is a French Saint Emilion Grand Cru, reduced from £12-99 down to £8-99.

    Would you think either the Coonawarra, or next week’s Pinot Gris represent a good buy, or should I spend my fivers elsewhere.

  2. Hi Steve ….. Not too many places to spend a fiver on presentable wine these days but here are my thoughts.
    Let me say immediately I have yet to catch up with the current vintages of either wine but, judging by previous years, both promotions are well worth supporting.
    New Zealand pinot gris can be lovely wine with a hint of sweetness behind its (often) pear fruit and twist of contrasting minerality. Coonawarra is prime cabernet country the only word of caution is that versions do arrive here before they are fully ready. If you do buy this one, give it plenty of air before you need it. Hope that all works out well.

  3. Many thanks Brian, will try the Coonawarra this weekend, (if the Lidl checkout queues aren’t too long!), otherwise I’ll stick with Aldi, which is virtually next door.

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