Welcome to the start of my new series, where I'll be rummaging through the supermarket shelves in search of quality wines for a reasonable price. The remit is; 6 bottles for a grand total of £60 or less.
First up is the The Co-operative, starting with 3 whites. I've stated before that I've been impressed with the range at The Co-op. Walk into any decent sized store and you'll be faced with an array of wines, from your basic £3 plonk to very decent bottles upwards of £15. I relished returning to our local store to search for bargains for this series...and I think I found some:
Trio, Reserva Chardonnay/Pinot Grigio/Pinot Blanc, 2009
£7.49. I picked this because we know the Trio name (it was responsible for a brilliant red that became D's favourite wine for a spell) and it was an intriguing blend that I've not encountered before. Owned by the giant brand Concha-Y-Toro, this comes from the Cassablanca Valley in Chile. 13.5%
The Look: A pale gold with greeny hints.
The Smell: Great, complex nose. Yeasty and nutty, biscuity and some Chardonnay evident, akin to a blanc-de-blancs champagne. Creamy.
The Taste: Initially, you get a smoky, toasty hit, the texture is smooth and full. Something like figs or dried fruit dominates the palate but with a citrus peel, bitter (in a good way) zing to it. There's definitely mineral complexity and a honeyed/peachy/tropical fruit that I couldn't put my finger on. After reading the label it said "pineapple" - which is probably about right, thinking about it in hindsight!
The Score: I'm guessing that extended lees ageing or oak influence is used to garner the complexity. Really good wine, a surprise at this price point. Superb. 8/10. Highly Recommended
VFM: At £7.49 this is superb value VFM = 1.07
Nicolas Potel, Givry, 2008
£9.99 (down from £14.99). A little bit of class here. White Burgundy from revered producer Nicolas Potel and using Vieilles Vignes ("Old Vines"). We drank his Puligny Montrachet 2006 with our turkey last Christmas and it was immense, so I thought this might be decent. 13%
The Look: A deep straw yellow with lemon highlights.
The Smell: Vanilla, citrus and some spice. Lovely.
The Taste: Buttery, oily-smooth textured, plenty of lemony citrus giving pleasing acidity. A vanilla thread runs through it lending complexity and leaving a delicious lemon-curd aftertaste. A heady, warm peach flavour developed later on.
The Score: Great stuff. Would probably age well too. 7.5/10. Recommended
VFM: At £9.99 offer price this is good value at VFM = 0.75, however, less so at the full price so act fast!
Villa Maria, Private Bin Pinot Grigio, 2010
£8.99. Ah, an old familiar friend; Villa Maria. The Private Bin series can always be relied upon to give great punchy flavour for reasonable prices. Good bang-for-the-buck, as they say. I've not had this varietal before from them, but, I was sure this wouldn't let the side down...13.5% (I think, or could be 14%).
The Look: Pale lemon with a watery-white rim.
The Smell: Great array of smells; pear-drops, "fruit salad" sweets, some sort of marzipan/cinnamon-like whiff and "Apple Sourz".
The Taste: Really fruity, good fresh acidity, pears, apples, grape juice, some spice, and something that reminded me of a Malt-Whiskey!!! .
The Score: No pretence, just good, easy-drinking wine done well. 7.5/10. Recommended
VFM: At £8.99 this is very good value VFM = 0.83.
So, for the first part, a grand performance by The Co-op. Proving that, for this supermarket at least, there is good value at £10 and under. This might just be the one to beat!
Next time, the Reds!
As always, speak to you soon!