Welcome to the second part 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. This week, still with the Co-operative, but reds. You can read part 1 here, where the whites had a particularly good start. Can the reds keep up? Let's see... Oh and don't forget to follow me on Twitter for further little nuggets of wine-related stuff.
The Magnificent Wine Company, Steak House Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007
£9.49. Magnificently named also! This hails from the Columbia Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area) in Washington State. This was chosen on the basis of the the cool-ish climate of this region. Ah, who am I trying to kid, the attractive bottle artwork did it for me! 13.5%
The Look: A deep black/purple, fading to a slight tawny rim, almost completely opaque.
The Smell: Initially, pure blackcurrant fruit and some cedary/oaky woodiness, but developed a complex nose of plum, leather and coffee bean while maintaining the blackcurrant fruit.
The Taste: Slightly austere at first with grippy tannin, some blackcurrant fruit and slight bitterness but then flourished into dark fruit, mocha, softer tannin but still with some grip, plum and some spice. Enough acidity to balance it out too. On the back of that, I'd decant for an hour or two before hand if we had it again.
The Score: Good stuff, complex, plenty of fruit and some bottle-age complexity. Lovely. 7.5/10. Recommended
VFM: At £9.49 this is still good value at VFM = 0.79
Yalumba, Bush Vine Grenache, Barossa Valley, 2008
£9.99. A household Australian brand, Yalumba make an extensive range of wines, from entry-level £6 wines to classy £50+ wines in the heart of the Barossa Valley, a region more well known for its Shiraz, but Grenache is making headway. 14.5%
The Look: Dark purple core, dark ruby rim, translucent.
The Smell: Vanilla, raspberries and spicy dark fruit with some oak influence.
The Taste: Spicy red fruits, raspberry and cherry in abundance, vanilla and a long finish. Warming, with oaky sweet fruit but acidity to balance it.
The Score: Great. 7.5/10. Recommended
VFM: At £9.99 this is good value at VFM = 0.75.
Torres, Gran Coronas Cabernet Sauvignon, Penedes, 2006
£7.99. You may remember that we're fans of Torres. They produce a great range of wines at very reasonable prices (but also some high-end stuff). The flavour per £ is almost unbeatable. Nice bit of bottle age on this one, being a 2006, coupled with the Torres name meant I had to try it...Cabernet Sauvignon with a touch of Tempranillo, this is aged in oak and given a bit more special treatment than their entry-level wines. 14%).
The Look: Deep black-purple, plum rim, opaque.
The Smell: Delicious smells of dark berries, vanilla, oak, some black cherry and a mild woody spice.
The Taste: Mouth-filling texture, slightly furry tannins, soft, with lots of blackcurrant and black cherry fruit. Warm with creamy vanilla. Despite the age it still needs a year or two to soften the tannins and I wonder if it has enough acidity to cope, but it was nicely integrated by the second glass and by the last it was delicious. 7.5/10. Recommended
VFM: At £7.99 this is great value VFM = 0.94.
So, in summary: A little on the high-end of this budget series, but still, EVERY bottle was under £10 and EVERY bottle was a recommended wine. That is something. The thing that struck me about Co-op's reds was the average bottle age. Lots of wines are fairly mature, with a good bit of bottle age lending complexity. Good on them. Their storage must be sufficient; not a faulty bottle in sight among these six, or the previous visit for some reds.
If you're after something a little more extravagant there were some Cru Bourgeois Bordeaux bottles from 2003 and 2004 (Chateau Senejac 2004 £15.99), some 2004 Petit Verdot from the US and a host of others. In the whites there were some attractively priced Chablis and Burgundy plus some Muscadet sur Lie that I might just pick up next time I'm there.
Overall a superb performance from the Co-op. This will be the one to beat...
Next time; Tesco!
As always, speak to you soon!