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...
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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!