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“Why we select the wines we do.” That was the theme of the eye-opening Supervalu Wine tasting, a Munster Wine & Dine event, at L’Atitude on Wednesday night.
The company's senior wine-buyer Kevin O’Callaghan was our host for the evening and he brought along 12 excellent examples from the SuperValu shelves, concentrating mainly on the bottles with the Specially Sourced stamp. “These have been sourced, tasted and approved by our wine-buying team.”
Kevin, who has been with the company for 13 years, says their aim is to make wine more accessible so “people can enjoy good wines at affordable prices”. And that was underlined throughout the evening that started with a glass of Charles Mignon Grand Cru Champagne, this one, with its intense aromas of almond and apricot. It is “a good food match, a blend of Pinot Noir (55%) and Chardonnay and, at €45.00, well priced against sparklers of comparable quality".
Soon we were on to the very affordable, a Flamants Picpoul de Pinet (12.99, 10.00 on offer), becoming ”a very fashionable wine and great with shellfish.”
Next up was the Abellio Albarino 2015 (12.99, 10.00 on offer). Kevin is very proud of this one, not least because he helped design the label (just one of the ways in which SuperValu help their producers sell their wines). The Albarino, with its excellent aromas and flavours, is another terrific seafood wine. And it would be my favourite of the two openers, by a long way.
We were using a points system to score the wines and I gave the Picpoul 84 points, the Albarino 92. Why the points? Kevin said it is an essential tool for the wine-buyer who could well sample over 100 wines at a session and the points system is a major help in differentiating between so many, especially at the end of a long session. So, since we were being put in the wine-buyer’s shoes, it was used on the evening! Nothing too serious though and we had quite a few laughs all through.
Next up was a “personality” wine, the Graham Norton Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Once SuperValu realised this was a serious wine - Norton was quite fussy about it - they went after the rights, especially since the comedian is from Cork. It has worked out well for all sides and Norton donates his share of the profits to charity. It is an excellent wine and, at €12.00, good value as well. And good value is something that Kevin and his team always have in mind. O’Callaghan, by the way, reckons that Sancerre is better with food than Marlborough.
And speaking of food, the L’Atitude kitchen kept us supplied with a series of top notch bites throughout the tasting, ranging from Anchovies and Pepper on toast to Ummera Smoked Duck to a Pork Meat Balls with Olives to a Black Pudding and Apple in pastry.
Chardonnay was next, the Nugan Estate Personality Dreamers 2013 from the Riverina and on offer at €10.00. A bit of a division around the tables here because of the oak, even though they don’t use new oak so the effects are muted. I liked it very much indeed.
And more oak on our mystery white, this even more muted. The lightly oaked blend (including Bourboulenc, Roussane, and Grenache blanc) had us guessing during this blind tasting. It has a fabulous textural richness and a great finish. It comes from Corbieres and well worth seeking out at €10.00 on offer.
“Is Rosé on the way out?” asked a member. “It is static, at about 4% of the market,” answered Kevin. “But we’ve brought in some drier ones, including one from Provence, with way more fruit and character”. The European ones, especially these new ones, are worth buying, he advised.
If the whites were good (and they were very good), the reds were probably better. This time we started with the blind tasting and it turned out to be a Cotes de Roussillon, a blend of Syrah (45%), Carignan (40) and Grenache. Violets prominent in the aromas, nice acidity and “made for drinking now. A summer BBQ wine!”.
He then introduced one of his favourites, the Castellani Arbos 2013 from Tuscany, 100% Sangiovese. Very approachable, easy-drinking, a garden wine, soft and luscious and a “good representation of the area and the grape”.
Kevin described the next one as “a blockbuster”. And the Pagos de Labarca AEX certainly lived up to it. Great aromas and fruit and a lot of character. Lots of oak after 18 months in it, too much for some, yet this Rioja was my overall favourite. Price is €22.99, on offer at 18.00.
On now to the Nugan Estate Alfredo Dry Grape Shiraz. Kevin admits to being a fan of apassimento (amarone style). This wine is made in that style, the partially dried grapes giving more flavour, more concentrated aromas. “Plenty of oak, full flavour, acidity, juiciness, long finish, good balance, high in alcohol but no heat.” Bring on the BBQ steak. €19.99, offer 15.00.
I gave that a 92 and the same number to the Aresti Family Collection, a blend of a selection of red varieties from the Chilean family. Kevin is a major fan: “This is as a good a structured a red wine as you can get. Equivalents will cost you €40.00. It is regularly featured in competition and the lowest score it has ever attained is 91 points.” This is priced at a more modest €25,00 and 20.00 on offer. Take note!
So what has Kevin, who started off as a 16 year old delivery boy in Galvins, in store for us in the near future. He is excited about a new Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre blend: “This GSM is organic and is on the way. Should be on sale in September - can't wait for it!” It is by Fleur de Anon.
“The last few years, we have been beyond the comfort zone. We hope to continue that trend and bring the consumer with us.” He certainly gained a room full of converts on Wednesday evening.
* Most of the wines had two prices, the regular and the offer. SuperValu have a series of well-flagged offer periods regularly over the year. So, if you know your favourite is likely to be among them, then you won't have long to wait to stock up.
* Next Munster Wine & Dine event is the July 7th visit to Gubbeen, a premium event. Make sure you get your reservation in on time!
SuperValu are in the mood to celebrate all things Italian and their wine expert Kevin O’Callaghan is joining in the fun by putting the focus on their range of Specially Sourced Italian Wines which will be on offer for two weeks from Thursday May 11th. We’ve enjoyed the five below over the past few days. From the "fashionable" Aglianico to the more traditional appassimento, they are all good (good value too) with the Ammasso just about about shading it (I might need a re-run!) as our number one of the bunch.
Tombacco Aglianico dei Beneventano (IGT) 2013, 14%, €10.00 (down from 12.99).
Aglianico, a variety with Greek connections, is prominent in the vineyards of Campania and Basilicata. Haven’t heard of it? Don’t worry. The Italian vineyards are among the most diverse in the world and hundreds of varieties have been “authorised” for planting and selling as wine, according to Vino Italiano.
Aglianico is the dominant red wine grape in the IGT of Beneventano which itself is a thriving IGT in Campania. In Grapes and Wines, it is described as “suddenly one of the most fashionable grapes of a newly fashionable region”.
There are aromas of vanilla, red fruits too, from this deep ruby coloured wine. It is soft on the palate, cherry and plum, a little spice too, plus a decent finish. Elegant and warm and Highly Recommended. Pair with “all red meats and aged cheeses”.
Il Capolavoro Vino Rosso Appassimento, Puglia (IGT) 2015, 14.5%, €10.00 (down from 14.99).
Some of you may have seen Gonzalo Gerardo Higuaín score the goals that gave Juventus a vital away win over Monaco in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final. His contribution was described as “il capolavoro”, the Italian for masterpiece. Might try a bottle of this next time that Higuaín is on telly.
The vinous Il Capolavoro has been produced by using the traditional “appassimento” method, whereby the grapes are partially dried to increase colour and concentration. It has worked well for the Italians over the decades and works rather well here too.
The colour is a rich ruby and you’ll notice the legs are slow to clear. There are intense aromas of dark fruits, chocolate notes too. On the palate, that sought after concentration is pleasantly evident; it is full of flavour with a touch of smooth spice, a hint of sweetness and it is juicy too. Easy drinking and Highly Recommended.
Pairings recommended are: veal, chicken, and pork and any pasta or pizza that comes with a tomato sauce.
Burdizzo Vermentino Toscana (IGT) 2015, 12%, €10.00 (down from 12.99)
Vermentino, a favourite of mine, may be found “the length of Italy” according to Grapes and Wines but the “best wines come from Tuscany, Sardinia ad Liguria.” Outside of Italy you’ll find some pretty good examples in the Languedoc where it is also known as Rolle.
Vino Italiano considers it “one of Italy’s most distinctive whites” and also highlights the same three regions. Wine writer Fiona Beckett says that many tip Vermentino to challenge the dominance of Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Pinot Gris.
Vermentino production in Tuscany, an area where red varieties account for almost 90% of the total vineyard area, has rocketed in the last 10 years, according to Decanter: “…. 2010 found 653 hectares planted to Vermentino. By 2015, the regional government was reporting 1,192 hectares….”.
Our Burdizzo has the colour of light straw. Aromas are of white fruit, with floral and herbal notes, a pleasant mix. Palate is crisp and fresh, no shortage of that white fruit with peach and green-melon flavours to the fore all the way to a long finalé. Highly Recommended.
This too uses partially dried grapes, the method known in Sicily as Ammasso. The varieties blended in this gorgeous and complex wine are Nero d’Avola, Nerello Mascalese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. A serious work of wine is the result and it is Very Highly Recommended.
Medium ruby red is the colour and the aromas, of dark fruit, are pretty intense. There is a luscious concentrated fruit, hints of sweetness, light spice too; overall, a rather plush wine, tannins just about in play, and the finish is long.
Vanilla is prominent in the aromas of this Highly Recommended medium red; darker fruits there too. On the palate, it is smooth and fruity (cherries and plums), drifts of spice too, plus that quintessential acidity (almost an ever-present in Italian wines), and fine sweet tannins make it a pleasure in the mouth and the finish ain't bad either. Great value.
The producer’s aim has been to use the best Sangiovese grapes “to produce a Tuscan red dominated by fruity and spice notes, typical of the grape”. This worthy effort may be enjoyed with red meats and pasta dishes.
Four from the north of Italy Dark and Handsome The first three wines are all "related" in the sense that they come from the same three grapes: Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara. All four wines come from the north of Italy.
Fasoli Gino, La Corte del Pozzo Bardolino (DOC) 2013, 12.5%, €15.49 Mary Pawle Wines
Bardolino is the lightweight sibling of Valpolicella (made from the same three grapes: Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara). The wine is named after the village on the shore of Lake Garda. If you know the village - quite a few Irish holiday here - you probably know the wine type.
Ruby is the colour, light and bright. A hint of rose in the colour and also in the aromas, a mixture of fruity and floral. And the same elements continue to combine to deliver a good and harmonious result in the mouth. A lightweight perhaps but a rather delicious one and Highly Recommended.
It is an organic wine and the grapes are cultivated by members of the Associazione Cumunita’ dei Giovani, young adults with special needs. See review of the Gino Valpolicella from last July here.
Costa Mediane Amarone della Valpolicella (DOCG) 2012, 15%, SuperValu
This is a blend of Corvina Veronese, Corvinone, Rondinella, Molinara from the Valpolicella area of Veneto in the North East of Italy. It is “good at the table” and they recommend trying it with red meat, mature cheese. Serve between 14 – 16 °C.
It is ruby red with a slightly lighter rim and has pleasing cherry aromas. On the palate there is a concentration of fruit, some spice too, fresh and delicious with some sweetness. The high alcohol is smoothed right down in a medium to full body; it is easy drinking with a good dry finish. Highly Recommended
For centuries, Veneto winemakers have used various techniques to improve the depth and complexity of their wines. Ripasso is one method and you may see the full details here.
This Sartori is made from a blend of local grapes and Corvina is the main one with Rondinella and Molinara also in the mix.
Aromas from this ruby red wine are of fragrant cherry, intense and persistent. On the palate, it is fruity and spicy, lively and delicious, sweet notes too, and then a long dry finish. Medium bodied and easy drinking it is Recommended.
Rovero Lajetto, Monterrato (DOC) 2001, 14%, €19.00 Mary Pawle Wines
This 100% Pinot Nero has spent 12 months in French oak and a hell of a lot longer in the bottle. So be sure and decant this Italian and let it hang for a few hours. The 15 year old will be all the better for it. It will look brighter, feel fresher and taste better.
Colour is a dark red, the rim a shade lighter. Dark and moderate fruit aromas are followed by a well-rounded palate; tannins are fine at this stage and the finish is long and dry, not bad at all for an old fellow. Not too sure it is worth waiting for all this time but it is certainly a very pleasant and decent wine and Highly Recommended.
The annual SuperValu Christmas showcase gets underway tomorrow, 24th of November, and here are three reds (from many) to watch out for. My top three consist of an Italian style Shiraz from Australia, a lovely food-friendly Sangiovese from Tuscany and a delicious Rioja to try with the red meats, leg of lamb in particular. Cheers!
The dried grape technique is borrowed from Italy. It is used mainly to increase concentration. Five days then in contact with the skins before going on to spend 12 months in French and US oak. It comes in a noticeably heavy bottle!
Darkly coloured (garnet), it is lighter towards the rim. It has very inviting fruit aromas, cherry and plum. And the velvety palate is certainly concentrated, complex deep flavours (that cherry again), some spice too; quite intense; excellent acidity too and it has a long finish. Very Highly Recommended.
Vanilla is prominent in the aromas of this Highly Recommended medium red; darker fruits there too. On the palate, it is smooth and fruity (cherries and plums), drifts of spice too, plus that quintessential acidity (almost an ever-present in Italian wines), and fine sweet tannins make it a pleasure in the mouth and the dry finish ain't bad either. Great value.
The producers aim has been to use the best Sangiovese grapes “to produce a Tuscan red dominated by fruity and spice notes, typical of the grape”. This worthy effort may be enjoyed with red meats and pasta dishes.
Pagos de Labarca AEX Rioja (DOC) 2011, 14.5%, €22.99 (18.00 from 24th Nov) SuperValu
Vanilla for sure in the complex nose but fruit shines through as well in this dark cherry red. That excellent balance is also noted on the smooth palate, tannins close to fine, plus some spice too, fruit and wood are well integrated and then follows a long and juicy finish with the dark fruit and vanilla still in harmony. Highly Recommended.
Bodega Covila, a co-op in Alavesa, regard this, rightly I think, as a Premium wine. It is a limited edition, just 6,400 bottles. It has excellent acidity and should be a good match for roast leg of lamb (no mint sauce though!), a match to repel the December chill and reinforce the Christmas cheer.
All Right With SuperValu Whites
Coopers Creek Dillons Sauvignon Blanc 2015 Marlborough (New Zealand), 12.5%, €14.99 (12.00 from 3.11) SuperValu
Best enjoyed young and fresh, say Coopers. So let's get at this Dillons, part of their Select Vineyards series. It is light gold in colour with white fruit aromas (gooseberry, lime and peach in the mix). A power of flavour on the intense palate, balanced by a delicious acidity. Young and fresh it comes with a reverberating finish. Not to be left on the shelf. Highly Recommended.
Liked the colour of this immediately, an inviting medium gold. It is hand-harvested and ideal with shellfish and fish and also recommended for lightly spiced Asian chicken dishes. The medium intense aromas are of white fruit. It has a smooth character on the palate, intense fruit (pear, apple and peach) with refreshing minerality. It is zesty and well balanced and Highly Recommended.
Domaine Les Guignottes, Les Resses Montagny 1er Cru 2014, 13%, €24.99 (€20.00 from 24/11) SuperValu
Not too much to say about this - just go out and buy and enjoy! This classic Chardonnay has beautiful intense white fruit aromas, peach the most prominent. Colour is a bright gold and there are amazing fruit and nut flavours, some spice too. The acidity too is outstanding. Fresh, with a gorgeous mouthfeel and a long finish. Very Highly Recommended.
Château Tour Baladoz, Grand Cru St Emilion 2005, 13.5%, SuperValu
The Bordeaux vintage of 2005 is legendary and this rich, plummy wine is just gorgeous. Merlot is the main grape here with both Cabernets also in the mix, Franc at 20%, Sauvignon at 10%.
Colour is purple and the aromas are concentrated, ripe dark fruits plus fragrant floral notes. Full bodied for sure, sublime soft fruits with great balance, tannins now very soft indeed and this well-rounded rich and splendid wine, provides a beautiful lingering finish. One to take your time with, small sips recommended. The wine itself is Very Highly Recommended.
Regular price is 44.99 but SuperValu had it down to €30.00 in the Christmas wine sale, so watch out for reductions!
Château Magneau Graves 2009, 12.5%
This 2009, another good year, is from the heart of Graves and made following the Terra Vitis guidelines, an approach that “guarantees a quality production method that respects the environment”. Watch out too for their Cuvée Julien, a much awarded white wine vinified exclusively in barrels.
This red has spent 12 months in oak (one third new) and is a blend of Merlot (50%), Cabernet Sauvignon (45%) and Cabernet Franc (5%). Colour is lighter than the Baladoz. It has aromas of red fruits (mainly cherries) and on the palate it is sharp with a lively acidity, good balance though and a rather elegant mouthfeel with a good finish. Medium to full bodied, it is not as soft as either of the others but a good wine and Highly Recommended.
Château Peyreblanque Graves 2010, 14%.
Another good one from Graves, this from the 2010 vintage. Cabernet Sauvignon (70%) is the dominant grape here with Merlot (30) playing a supporting role. Time in oak is 10-15 months. Peyreblanque (white rock) was bought in 1990 by the current owners, the Médeville family, who own quite a few chateaux in the area.
This garnet coloured wine has quite intense aromas (dark fruit, spicy notes). It is full bodied, the fruit and oak in smooth tandem, some spice, fine tannins, strikingly well balanced overall and with an excellent finalé. Very Highly Recommended.
The two Graves wine were bought in Podensac in 2014 and cost ten euro each. All gone now! Thankfully though, no shortage of good Bordeaux wine in Ireland.
Guy Saget Pouilly Fumé 2014 (France), 12.5%, SuperValu Christmas €14.00 (down from 22.99).
Pouilly Fumé is an AOC area by the Loire River and Guy Saget is a leading producer. The grape here in this wine is 100% Sauvignon Blanc and it has been aged for five months on the lees. You may read all about this well-known AOC here.
This has a nice straw/gold colour with aromas of white fruit including notes of citrus. Good fruit and matching acidity flow in together. And, in this refreshing wine, they depart together also in a long finish. An excellent example of a Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc and Highly Recommended.
Their matching suggestions, mainly for the French: asparagus in cream, tuna carpaccio, lamb curry, grilled prawns, pike perch in beurre blanc. But I think you'll find it goes well with smoked salmon and goat's cheese, both of which are likely to feature over the Irish Christmas.
The steep vineyards of Priorat are in the northeast of Spain and the three grapes in this elegant Mosaic are a mirror of what you’d find just north of the border: Garnacha (30%), Syrah (30%) and Cariñena (40%).
This is the winemaker’s selection and is “excellent with roast meats” so that should cover the turkey for you. According to the back label, it will also match the steak (that usually arrives when the turkey is gone, or when you're just plain tired of the big bird!).
Color is violet, with a bright sheen. Dark fruits dominate the rather intense aromas. No shortage of deep fruit flavours on the palate, spices are also prominent and there are soft tannins too. It is really well balanced with a long and pleasant finish. Highly Recommended.
One 500gram box of Mont D’Or (AOC) cheese from Bradley’s.
One bottle of Kings Ridge Oregon Riesling 2013 (Willamette Valley), 12%, €15.00 (reduced from 19.99) SuperValu Christmas Wines.
Sharing a half kilo of baked cheese is fun on a winter's evening as we found out this week. It is recommended for four but the two of us managed quite well, thank you!
Our cheese came from Bradley’s in North Main Street, Cork, and was the famous Mont D’Or from France (there is also a Swiss version). Like wine, the French version has its own AOC and is a much prized cheese from the Franche-Comté, made with whole cow’s milk, and is generally available only from October to March.
The rind (inedible) can be peeled back and the runny cheese simply spooned out. But baking it, in its box, is the treat. Again, it is not the only cheese that comes in a box. Camembert is another and that too can be baked. Sheridan’s suggest that both Durrus (360g) and Gubbeen (450g) can get the same treatment but they don't have a box so you’ll have to improvise with a sheet of foil.
Indeed, it was a recipe in the new book, Sheridan's Guide to Cheese, that we followed (more or less) with the Mont D’Or. You simple score the top rind, add in a couple of sprigs of thyme and a clove of garlic and a half glass of white wine and bake in a pre-heated oven for ten minutes. For some reason, the ten minutes was totally inadequate and ours needed double that.
It was carefully brought to the table, the rind peeled back and then we dug in with chunky bits of Arbutus Sourdough (bought at Davidson’s, the local butchers). And then we dug in again. And again… You get the picture! All the while sipping from the Oregon Riesling.
That gold coloured wine proved to be a gem and also quite a match for the cheese. White fruits on the nose and also that petrol but reasonably muted. Palate is crisp and fruity, fresh, light and fragrant, no sign of that petrol, good acidity and a decent dry finish. Some of the fruit used comes from one of the oldest vineyards, planted in 1968, and this “adds depth and complexity to our Riesling.” A Very Highly Recommended Riesling indeed.
So there you have it. Quite a treat. And wouldn’t all three, a box of cheese, a bottle of the Riesling and the Sheridan's book be quite a present for that special someone. They might even share!
Got a tip too from Daniel Emerson of Stonewell Cider. He suggested having the Mont D’Or as a fondue with potatoes. “It is divine.”
In the Langhe hills it’s the aromas - of truffles, mushrooms, hazelnuts, coffee, and above all else, Barolo or Barbaresco wine - that sweep people off their feet. (Vino Italia).
Barolo, by the way, is a place in Piedmonte (Italy) and the grape is Nebbiolo. There is a minimum aging requirement of three years (two in barrel) and the result has been described as the king of wine, the wine of kings.
So let's be king for a day and try this vibrant ruby red. And yes there are gorgeous dark red fruit (cherries mainly) wafting up from the glass. The Riedel (Veritas 6449/67) has been made for New World Pinot Noir but it certainly works well here! The fruits are agreeably prominent on the palate but there is a great balance, some spicy elements too, a sweet and savoury experience and then the long dry finish. I really like this one, feeling rather royal! Very Highly Recommended.
Marco Real Corraliza de Los Roncaleses 2012, Santacara (Navarra DO), 15%, €15.50 Karwig Wines
Colour here is a bright cherry, long lasting legs. For me, nose is more fruit (cherry) than floral (which is highlighted on the label). Soft and full-bodied and elegant too, moderate acidity and yet, despite the high abv, the balance is fine; the finish is long and pleasant. Highly Recommended.
It is one hundred per cent Garnacha and wines made from this variety can be high in alcohol (as is the case here) and heady (not the case here!). By the way, I had this with Poulet Basquaise and it was an excellent match.
Think I may have been fairly close to this vineyard a few years ago when I came over the mountains from France to Roncesvalles, a major stop on the camino to Santiago. It was lunchtime and I was hoping to get the Pilgrim’s Meal but was told it was available only in the evening!
Colour is a dark red (with a lighter rim) and it has ripe fruits aromas. Then you get the fruit again on the palate, spice too and quite fine tannins, a pleasant presence in the mouth plus persistent finish. Hand-harvested and estate bottled, this is easily quaffable and Highly Recommended.
When you find yourself in a wine shop or the wine section of a supermarket, do you get somewhat confused with the huge choice available? I know I do. Here's a tip if you intend taking advantage of the current SuperValu Christmas Wine offer. Pick up a copy of their Uncorked, a free magazine available in store.
It has some terrific articles and information on the available wines. Not just wine. Kristin Jensen has a few pages explaining all about craft beer. Port is of course a type of wine and the Examiner's Leslie Williams guides you through this one. Lots of other informative articles too, all written in plain English and easy for wine beginners to understand.
And if someone in your life is more than a beginner or if you want to treat yourself, go to Page 11 where Ross Golden-Bannon highlights a superb gift, at less than half-price. This is a vertical vintage offer of Bordeaux's Chateau La Croizille St Emilion Grand Cru. The pack features the top six vintages of the past decade: 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012. Price is €150, down from €354. Yes please!
Now that you have your information, maybe even a shortlist, let us head off to the shelves.
Chateau Camp De La Hire 2010 (Castillon, Cotes de Bordeaux), 13%, €12.00 (15.99).
Intense colour here; the fruity aromas are also quite intense. Medium to full bodied, with soft tannins, it is fresh and elegant, well balanced and pleasingly complex with long finalé. Highly Recommended.
The Castillon wines are produced by mainly small family farms (230 of them); this is not the Bordeaux of the big chateaux. But the same grapes are used, mainly Merlot in this case. Castillon, one of four Cotes de Bordeaux areas, is squeezed between the Dordogne River to the south, St Emilion (no less) to the immediate west and the Dordogne department to the east.
No weedkiller is used in the production of this particular wine and indeed the cultivation is traditional. They recommended pairing it with spicy noodles, dumplings and red meat stews. Maybe they have an Asian audience in mind but my match came from much nearer home.
Union Wine’s Kings Ridge Pinot Gris 2013 (Oregon), 13%, €15.00 (19.99)
Pink skinned Pinot Gris, a mutation of Pinot Noir and a cousin of Chardonnay, is associated with Alsace and, as Pinot Grigio, with Italy. It is a “specialty in Oregon” according to the World Atlas of Wine and SuperValu have this excellent example from the Willamette Valley, known as Oregon’s home for cool climate vines.
This has a lovely gold colour, a ring of bubbles around the top (they don't last!). There are gorgeous white fruit aromas. The palate is almost creamy, with pleasing white fruit flavours (pear, citrus), excellent acidity and the finish is more or less perfect as well. A really well made wine and Highly Recommended.
By the way, Oregon's reputation for Pinot Noir and Riesling is high as well and SuperValu have these on offer also.
This little known little appellation (202 hectares) on the eastern edge of the Loire Valley northeast of Sancerre (4181 ha) produces almost equal amounts of light-bodied red and white wines. With extensions of Sancerre limestone geological formations into the area, you can expect good Sauvignon Blanc and this doesn't disappoint.
Light gold is the colour and the minerality on the nose is coupled with floral elements. The attack is bright with those citrus elements to the fore, minerality too of course, a crisp acidity, even a wee tingle. A very pleasant surprise indeed, Sancerre in style but not in price! Highly Recommended.
Also in the Christmas sale:
Maison Andre Goichot Meursault (AOC) 2014, 13%, €35.00 (44.99).
Colour is a greenish gold, limpid and brilliant, and here the fruit and acidity match up in an exceptional balance. Fresh and smooth, it has an excellent refined mouthfeel with a streak of minerality and a long finish that keeps giving. Highly Recommended.
Maison Andre Goichot Mercurey (AOC) 2013, 12.5%, €18.00 (22.99).
Colour is a light, and bright, red while the aromas give you a nice mix of raspberry, cherry, strawberry. Red fruit flavours, cherry prominent, on the palate, light as you'd expect, the lightness of a classic youthful Pinot Noir; acidity and tannins combine well as you go into the dry finish. Very Highly Recommended.
Colour is a medium gold and there are aromas of citrus and white fruits among quite a medley. In the mouth, it is smooth, close to creamy, richly fruited and soft with good acidity too plus a lingering finish. An elegant wine indeed and Very Highly Recommended.
Il Capolavoro Appassimento Rosso 2014, 14%, €10.00 (14.99)
This palate pleasing beauty is produced from grapes that have been partially dried (appassimento) and the result is a rich red colour and, more importantly, a greater concentration of fruit flavours. And that concentration means a very pleasant easy drinking wine with a little spice both on nose and palate. Add in a silky mouthfeel and you've got a winner. Very Highly Recommended.
The varieties blended in this gorgeous and complex wine are the locals Nero d’Avola and Nerello Mascalese and the internationals Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. A serious work of wine is the result and it is Very Highly Recommended.
Medium red is the colour and the aromas, of dark fruit, are pretty intense. There is a luscious concentrated fruit, hints of sweetness, spice too; overall, a rather plush wine, tannins just about in play, and the finish is long.
Price in brackets indicates the normal price per bottle.