We’re turning our attention to supermarkets this month. Supermarkets are responsible for selling vast quantities of branded wine at seemingly reasonable price points. These branded wines can be consistent, accessible and of good to outstanding quality. Supermarkets have ventured into sourcing (and even producing) wine under their own label. These can be worth seeking out for interest and value.
It was Welsh Wine Week last month and many superb and flavourful wines from several vineyards across Wales took part. Have a look at, “Wines of Great Britain”: www.winegb.co.uk and “Wine Trails Wales”: www.winetrailwales.co.uk to learn more about the diverse styles of wines from across Wales and the UK.
Lastly, if you love South African wines or haven’t tried one yet, why not consider buying a white, red, rose or sparkling South African wine the next time you shop? This will help to support the wine industry in South Africa which reinstated its ban on domestic alcohol sales (as at August 2020).
(Priorat, Spain) 14.5%
Priorat (in Catalonia) has become incredibly sought after and with good reason. The Llicorella soil is quite unique and is made up of red/black slate and mica (which is crumbly and sparkly). It helps with heat retention (by reflecting the sunlight and conserving heat) and retains water, both of which contribute to healthy, ripe grapes. I had the good fortune to visit Priorat almost 20 years ago and was struck by the unique and dramatic beauty of the landscape. This wine is a blend of Garnacha, Carignan and Syrah (Shiraz). It’s been aged in American and French oak barrels for 10 months. With 6 years of age and maturity, it is an absolute bargain. As expected, it is full bodied and rich with blackberry fruit flavours, dark chocolate and savoury vanilla oak. Roast beef and strong cheeses will pair well.
TASTE THE DIFFERENCE MARZEMINO DOC 2018 £8.50 (Trentino, Italy) 12.5%
Marzemino is a grape variety that is native to the region of Trentino in the north east of Italy and this wine was produced near the Dolomite Mountains. It’s cool, light body and fragrant, fresh flavours of crunchy red and black cherries aligned with refreshing acidity are an antidote to a warm, sunny evening. Am sipping it now (having cooled it down in the fridge for 30 minutes). Just sublime. Try with mushroom risotto, charcuterie or just sip alone without food.
KEN FORRESTER WORKHORSE CHENIN BLANC 2018 £8.00 (Stellenbosch, South Africa) 12.5%
Chenin Blanc is often overlooked as a white wine choice which is a shame. It is arguably one of the most versa-tile and interesting of grape varieties due to appearances in contrasting styles. And it is responsible for some of the finest white wines in the world. Even at an accessible price point, it can offer so much. This example is dry and refreshing with ripe stone fruit such as apricot and hints of vanilla (which comes from ageing a small pro-portion in French oak barrels). Perfectly paired with fresh shellfish and pan-fried salmon.
WINEMAKER’S SELECTION COONAWARRA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2017 £6.99 (Coonawarra, Australia) 14%
Coonawarra in South Australia is well known for producing top quality Cabernet Sauvignon with superb varietal expression. This is generous with ripe blackcurrant fruit and cassis followed by a somewhat lingering finish. It’s a good introduction to this style.
*New dates for the WSET Level 1 & 2 Award in Wines to be confirmed soon.
*WSET Level 1 and 2 Award in Spirits qualifications also now available.
WINE FOR LIFE LEARNING is a dynamic Approved Programme Provider of the Wine & Spirit Education Trust and runs WSET qualifications in Swansea, Cardiff, all over Wales and Southwest England. Gift vouchers for the wine courses make ideal gifts. To see details please go to www.wineforlifelearning.co.uk.