Saturday, May 15, 2010

Wine bargains at Sainsbury's

It's a bit of a while since I've written about wine - hell, it's a bit of a while since I've written about anything Swept up by pre-election fever and post-election drama, suddenly inundated with work (Paid-for. Hurray!) the poor old blog has been suffering a bit. But I came across some good buys at the Sainsbury's wine tasting this week which I thought I'd pass on.

First a lovely Loire red. Sainsbo's has been selling the Domaine du Colombier Chinon for some time but for some extraordinary reason have chosen not to jack up the price - probably because they never do promotions on it. And at £5.99 it's a total steal - most Loire reds cost at least another £3 or £4. It's 100% Cabernet Franc, with a glorious fresh mulberry flavour (berries and leaves) that's everything I want from a summer red. You should drink it cool with anything you like but it's would be great with seared tuna or grilled chicken and herbs.

They also have a new range called House Wines which sounds a bit more enticing than 'budget' or 'cheap plonk' but that is effectively what it is. Most of the wines were a bit weedy (the whites) or a bit over-jammy and coarse (the reds) but there were some real bargains - a very decent dry Chilean rosé - the House Dry Rosé at £3.99, a fresh cherry-flavoured House Valpolicella that is better than it has any right to be at £3.79, a surprisingly decent inexpensive House Chianti at £3.86 that would be perfectly good with a takeaway pizza and - best bargain of all - a good gutsy Carignan and Grenache-based House Red from the Languedoc for £3.49: the sort of carafe wine you find in old-fashioned French bistros. All are available from June 1st.

There's also an excellent new Blanc de Blancs champagne under their own label for £16.99 which is based on wines from the 2006 harvest and made for them by Duval-Leroy. Of course £16.99 is not exactly cheap but it's great value for champagne. A bottle of this quality would cost at least £10 more from one of the Grandes Marques. And if you hang on until there's a special offer or Sainsbury's is discounting wine across the board you'll really hit the jackpot.

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