Monday, 21 November 2011

Supermarket Sweeps - Six for £60 - Waitrose Part 2

Hello All,

Welcome to the 2nd part of the third installment of my look at the supermarket shelves for value wines, this time finishing off the Waitrose wines with the whites. As I said last time, we were lucky enough to catch the 25% off sale which meant we could spend a little more and grab bargains.

So, on to the wines...

Oh and don't forget to follow me on Twitter for further little nuggets of wine-related stuff.

Domane Wachau, Terraces, Gruner Veltliner, 2009

£8.49 before discount (£6.37 after!). Probably the best known region for Gruner is Wachau, on the banks of the Danube. We've not had Gruner for a while so this caught my eye. 12.5%

The Look: Shiny, crystal-clear pale lemon.
The Smell: Like pear-drop sweets, slight marzipan, tropical fruits.
The Taste: Voluptuous texture, very creamy. Nicely balanced; lots of fruity apples and pears, tropical fruits, pineapple, pina colada, refreshing acidity but just off-dry. Was great with garlic & thyme chicken, dauphinoise potatoes and sprouts! Slight minerality too, heightening the interest at the end.
The Score: Very nice and a good food wine. 7.5/10. Recommended
VFM: At £6.37 after discount, this is great value; VFM = 1.16

Villa Maria, Private Bin Gewurztraminer, East Coast, 2010

£9.99 before discount (£7.49 after!). A favourite brand of ours, Villa Maria have a cracking range of wines. The Private Bin label, albeit the entry-level, provides wine of  great flavour for the price. We'd not had the Gewurz before so fancied giving it a go. 13%

The Look: Pale lemon with greeny hints.
The Smell: Lychee, "Turkish Delight", quite floral with slight tropical and coconut whiffs, again, pina colada!
The Taste: Very similar to the nose; quite full bodied but lacking a bit of acidity. Went well with a stir fry but had an annoying bitter finish and certainly wasn't gluggable; a bit heavy.
The Score: A "Marmite" wine I think, love it or hate it although we fell slightly in the middle. Disappointing given their other wines in the range. 6/10.
VFM: At £7.49 after discount, this is still reasonable value; VFM = 0.80

Cave de Lugny, Macon -Lugny, Les Charmes, 2009

£8.99 before discount (£6.74 after!). From the large co-operative Cave de Lugny, this is their top plot; "Les Charmes", in the Maconnais region of burgundy. 100% Chardonnay and unoaked. The village level wine "Macon-Villages" recently won a Decanter award for best white Burgundy under a tenner so I thought this might be worth a look. 13%

The Look: Pale lemonny yellow with a water-white rim.
The Smell: Very reticent; not giving much away. Slight whiff of peachy/apricotty fruit and some toast and nuts on a big sniff.
The Taste: Pleasing, creamy texture, enough acidity, bone-dry finish. Very restrained and mellow with some melon, peach and a citrussy finish. Lacking a bit of flavour and there was some citrus peel bitterness at the end.
The Score: It won't overpower your food but sadly lacking some depth of flavour. 6.5/10.
VFM: At £6.74 after discount, this is numerically good value but I probably wouldn't buy again, maybe plump for the award winner (and the cheaper one of the two!); VFM = 0.96

Well, after a mind-blowing start with the reds, the white choices left Waitrose down slightly. Co-op is still the one to beat in our eyes!

We'll be taking a break from the Supermarket Sweeps now until after Christmas when the bargains will be much needed due to the drained bank account and feather-light wallet. Still to come will be Morrisons, Sainsburys, Asda (if I can find one near here) and quite possibly Lidl and Aldi! So keep an eye out in January.

We'll be starting to ramp up our bottle price over Christmas and should hopefully have some luxurious treats to review soon.

As always, speak to you soon!



Monday, 14 November 2011

Supermarket Sweeps - Six for £60 - Waitrose Part 1

Hello All,
Welcome to the third installment of my look at the supermarket shelves for value wines, this time the fantastic wine section of Waitrose. We popped to the local Waitrose in Malvern and as luck would have it, caught the end of the 25% off sale. There was a great range of wines, but we found that the most interesting stuff was between about £10 and £15 quid, so although not technically sticking to the £60 mark, we weren't far off; 6 bottles for £62.44 before discount but £46.83 after!!! And that's what it's all about, catching the bargains while you can, so I won't apologise too much. We also picked up some Champagne for Christmas - it would have been rude not to! Keep an eye out for their 25% off offers which happen every couple of months.

So, on to the wines. Reds first...

Oh and don't forget to follow me on Twitter for further little nuggets of wine-related stuff.

Stonier, Pinot Noir, Mornington Peninsula, 2009

£12.99 before discount (£9.74 after). From the much-lauded Mornington Peninsula, a very cool climate region of Victoria in Australia where the proximity of the ocean cools the vines. I've been wanting to try this for quite a while so it was a good find. 13%

The Look: A dark ruby core with strawberry red and lipstick highlights.
The Smell: Cherry, black fruit, strawberry, spice and some leathery complexity.
The Taste: Very bright acidity, fresh red fruit, cherry and raspberry. Smooth tannins with some grippy feeling on the aftertaste. Very nice. High acidity will help it age well.
The Score: Probably not everybody's cup of tea given the cool-climate acidity, but a good wine nonetheless. I liked it. 7.5/10. Recommended
VFM: At £9.74 after discount, this is decent value; VFM = 0.77

Vidal, Syrah, Gimblett Gravels, 2008

£11.99 before discount (£8.99 after). From the, again, much-lauded Gimblett Gravels area of Hawkes Bay on New Zealand's North Island. Famous for it's spicy Syrah but lots of Cabernet & Merlot blends do well on the stony soil  there too. 13%

The Look: An intense, dark, plummy black/purple.
The Smell: Intense nose of black pepper, blackberry, ripe plum and other dark fruits. Some violets.
The Taste: Awesome. Much like the nose, peppery black fruits, blackberry and plum etc, pleasing acidity, some tannic grip with a long finish. This rivals Craggy Range and Trinity Hill Syrahs costing about £6 or £7 more!
The Score: Intense flavour bomb of cracked black pepper and dark fruit. Well worth it. 8.5/10. Highly Recommended
VFM: At £8.99 after discount, this is a serious bargain. Great flavour intensity for the price. VFM = 0.95

E. Guigal, Cotes du Rhone, 2007

£9.99 before discount (£7.49 after). We had the 2009 from Majestic not that long ago and really enjoyed it so it was interesting to find this one with a few more bottle-years behind it. 2007 was a superb year in the Rhone so this held much promise.  14%

The Look: Mid-purple, translucent, to a strawberry rim.
The Smell: Black cherry, plum, spice, gentle vanilla oak and developed raspberry and blackberry too.
The Taste: Delicious. Spicy plum and dark fruits, lovely vanilla notes with smooth integrated tannins. Plenty of acidity keeps it fresh and there's plenty of fruit. A good life ahead of it yet, easily keeping for another 3-5 years, if not more. 
The Score: Great, and plenty of ageing left in it which is nice to see at this price. 8/10. Highly Recommended
VFM: At £7.49 you can't go wrong, this is a bargain.  VFM = 1.07

Wow. What a start from Waitrose. Three very nice wines indeed. Yes, they're a little pricier than the Tesco ones, or even some of the Co-op ones, but after 25% off they really are competitive. I'd gladly drink these three again on a regular basis.

Waitrose might just pip the Co-op? We'll see next time with the whites. Until then...

As always, speak to you soon!