Monday, 30 January 2012

Supermarket Sweeps - Six for £60 - Sainsbury's - Part 2

Hello all!

Following on from last week's return to frugality after the festive indulgences, this week we conclude the look at Sainsbury's with the red wines we had. As I said last week, there was little of interest in the standard supermarket reds that dominated the shelves but some interesting wines presented themselves from the "Taste the Difference" range. The whites fared pretty damn well, so let's see if the reds kept up...

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Taste the Difference, Priorat, 2008

£7.49 Priorat is a Catalan wine growing area (Priorato in Spanish) where the reds are usually Grenache dominated blends, if not 100% Grenache (or Garnacha in Spanish). This one is mainly Grenache with a bit of Mazuela thrown in, and weighing in pretty heavy at 14.5%

The Look: Dark purple core to a dark cherry/violet rim.
The Smell: Great nose of black cherry, lots of spice, some raspberry and some sweet oakiness, reminiscent of a Bordeaux!
The Taste: This took me by surprise - very good indeed; velvety tannin, plenty of fresh acidity, the high alcohol was almost non-existent on the palate (served on the cool side of room temp.) The fruit profile was black cherry and something sharper - maybe raspberry, punctuated by a highly oaked vanilla and cedar note, but well-handled. Slightly bitter but not too detracting. This was superb after being open for two days - transformed to blackcurrant fruit and sweet caramel, suggesting that this will keep very well and get better with time. 7.5/10.  Recommended
VFM: Very nice for an "own label" wine and bang on the money with a VFM of 1.0!

Taste the Difference, Penguin Sands, Pinot Noir, Central Otago, 2010

£9.99. This pinot is from the much hailed Central Otago region of New Zealand's South Island. A great price point to get people to sample NZ pinot, but a much-contested market. Can it hold up? 13.5%

The Look: Dark purple core to a cherry rim.
The Smell: Very familiar - I swear we've had this before, but from the Producer (Sacred Hill I beleive?) I don't think we have. Anyway, strawberry, blueberry and oak with a floral character too.
The Taste: Fresh, vibrant acidity, tangy, plenty of cherry, raspberry and bright red fruits, quite sharp. Slight hotness and bitter tannin - feels a little over extracted.
The Score: Not the best in this price point. Better than Oyster Bay (not much praise) but search for something else (Villa Maria, Spy Valley, et al - there's plenty more to choose from) 6/10
VFM: Not horrendous, but not the best either; VFM = 0.6

Taste the Difference, Malbec, Mendoza, 2010

£7.99. Mendoza Malbec is a staple for any wine drinker on a budget. It packs a brambly, powerful, tannic and often teeth-staining punch in its inky blackness, begging for a steak. £8 is at the lower end but there's still great stuff to be had here. Is this worthy of the name...? 14.5%

The Look: The de-facto inky black-purple.
The Smell: Initially very acidic, almost vinegary but with a violet, floral backbone so I gave it some time. Not faulty, developing a nice nose of blackberry crumble, spice and a wet-stone minerality. All good so far after a shaky start.
The Taste: Again, very acidic and floral off the bat so gave it two hours in the bottle with the cork off; it remained hot, some pleasing black fruits and crushed-rocks minerality but unfortunately retained a horrible bitterness on the finish and a mouth burning hotness. Unfortunately, badly made wine, overcooked the extraction trying to get deep colour which was achieved at the cost of balance and fruit. Poured the second half down the drain...
The Score: Food did calm it down but I would avoid. There's plenty more from Mendoza and cheaper too, that gladly, aren't like this, which is frankly, pretty shit. 4.5/10
VFM: Even at £7.99, you can beat this hands down at pretty much any wine merchant. VFM = 0.56

So after a great start, and apart from the 2008 Priorat, the reds "pissed on Sainsbury's chips" to coin a phrase. So, only a few supermarkets remain; Morrisons, Asda and if I can pluck up the courage, Aldi and Liddle. Who knows, maybe a £3 Cotes du Rhone will knock my socks off! By my reckoning, Co-Op still leads, but we'll have a full summary when all is complete.
Our birthdays are fast approaching so we may afford ourselves a couple of indulgences before getting back to the nitty gritty of frugal drinking. Until next time...

As always, speak to you soon!



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