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Winners in more senses than one

Today, we look at some excellent prize winners sourced by the Co-op and couple them with great Best of the Rest choices and a Top Tip about becoming a wine judge.

Although I usually concentrate on supermarkets’ latest offers, sometimes another aspect of a retailer’s wine range deserves special mention.

So this time I will just mention in passing that the Co-op promotion (which runs through to 24 July) includes a pound off Trapiche Pure Malbec (down to £6.99) and two pounds off Cune White Rioja (reduced to £7.49).

My main focus though will be on Co-op wines that have won medals recently – mainly silver ones at the prestigious Decanter World Wine Awards.

As usual, today’s post also includes a couple of good Best of the Rest choices and becoming a wine judge.

Since it can be a pain finding commended wine on crowded shelves, a picture of the wine has been added to the selections because so many people take phones when they go shopping.

An old friend gets recognition

First up is a South African white that has long been on my radar – so it’s good to see others sharing my admiration  – and hails from the Darling region where Atlantic Ocean influences favour cool climate grape varieties but, obviously, that does not preclude well made chenin blanc.

Herbal elements and red apple fruit are the centre-pieces of 2017 Co-op Irresistible Chenin Blanc (£6.99 and13% abv) but these are laudably supported by a clean acidic bite (cool climate influences again) and a minty freshness.

Bonarda – the Argentinian one!

Co-op’s emphatic commitment to Fairtade is in evidence with this red from Argentina’s Famatina Valley which teams up shiraz and the local bonarda grape – but remember lots of countries have grapes with that name – and some of them are not even remotely related.

This one however – 2017 Co-op Fairtrade Bonarda-Shiraz (£4.99 and 12.5%) – delivers tarry yet slightly floral black cherry and plum fruit, good acidity, firm tannin, hints of liquorice and spice, all neatly wrapped in only medium weight texture.

Meanwhile over the Andes

Staying in South America, we head for the southern (that is, cooler) end of Chile’s wine producing area at Bio Bio, for a distinctive example of malbec.

Medium bodied with only modest tannin, 2016 Co-op Irresistible Bio Bio Malbec (£7.89 and 13.5%) gladdens red wine drinker’s hearts with its soft red cherry and raspberry fruit, good acidity and collection of spices that include touches of vanilla and cinnamon.

Burgundy meets Languedoc

Back in Europe, a pair of Burgundian winemakers migrated to Languedoc and there produce some excellent boutique wines – but, happily for us, they have also created the Les Jamelles brand delivering sound but great value varietals.

For a good example of their abilities, seek out 2016 Les Jamelles Syrah (£6.99 and 13%) which uses vibrant acidity to enliven its soft plum and blackberry fruit and supplements it with firm tannin and touches of chocolate, eucalyptus and black pepper.

Next up a real sweetie

We don’t need to leave southern France for the sweet wine component of this collection – just head west towards the Spanish border for a delicious example of the excellence that blends of the gros manseng and petit manseng grapes can attain in those parts.

Never too heavy or cloying, 2015 Domaine de Lasserre Jurancon (£6.99 for a 37.5cl bottle and 12%) instead delivers intense and tangy wine with fresh pineapple and grapefruit marmalade flavours, well judged balance and a honey centred finish.

Now for even more sparkle

With so much uncomplicated, one dimensional (aka dull)  prosecco about, it is so good to see an own label, well priced example that embodies a number of different flavour sensations and integrates them skilfully.

Note in particular the cream soda and chalky minerality that surfaces in Co-op Irresistible Prosecco Special Cuvée Brut (£7.99 and 11%) and the way it supports the wine’s aromatic peach and ripe pear fruit with an overall softness that is perfectly mirrored in its gentle acidity.

Fortified wine wins awards too

Single Vintage Quinta Ports are much in vogue these days probably because they are more plentiful, can be drunk sooner and cost appreciably less than vintage ports – even if they miss out on all the careful blending involved in the production of classic vintage ports.

There is no shortage of complexity though in 2004 Taylor’s Quinta de Vargellas Port (£29.99 and 20%) where well defined plum and blackberry fruit, star anise, nutty caramel and gentle sweetness (but carefully balanced acidity) all vie with one another for attention.


Great rosé comes to town

A new but excellent, well priced rosé arrives in Aldi this week and this adroitly crafted blend of grenache, cinsault and syrah from Languedoc is well worth picking up for tasty, light summer drinking.

Relish the pale and floral 2017 Exquisite Collection Sud de France Rosé (£5.99 at Aldi and 13%) with its crab apple and red cherry fruit, mild acidity, twist of fennel and slowly developing perception of sweetness as it warms up from fridge temperatures.

Terrific value, rich, red from South Africa

Cinsault appears again in this week’s red choice but this time from South Africa and with a 15% tannat contribution to give it extra oomph.

With richness and spicy depth 2017 Wine Atlas Cinsault (£5.48 at Asda and 14.5%) is a great value option centred on black cherry and elderberry fruit, good acidity, suggestions of liquorice but only gentle tannin.


Tip: Sign up as a competition judge to improve your wine knowledge

The People’s Choice Wine Awards is now in its second year and are looking out for fresh new wine guzzling talent to join the Round 1 judging panel.

They are searching for wine lovers around the UK who would like to take part in the most exciting wine competition in the UK and the only one to be judged by actual consumers.

Already a number of entries have been submitted by a wide range of wine drinkers from complete novices through to WSET students.

However, it is important that they get a really wide selection of people and replicate as far as possible the make-up of the UK wine-buying public – an aim that fits nicely with the Mid-Week wine audience.

The deadline for applications is 31st July and the entry form can be found here:


Mid-Week Wines are sponsoring the Best Supermarket category in the Best Wine Retailer online audience vote. Anyone can nominate their favourite supermarket wine aisle and give the reason for their support.  So get voting on this too.


Both are free of charge and in return you’ll receive some great social media graphics to share with your friends and followers to tell them you are involved and, better still, are part of a people’s wine revolution!

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