After last week’s discovery, that you can currently buy Gran Reserva Rioja at Tesco for less than a tenner a bottle, I have spent the week looking through their wine list to see if I can spot any more bargains.
For new readers, this is the news; Tesco is offering 25 per cent off ALL its wines until midnight tomorrow night (31 October) when you buy six bottles. This is a proper discount and worth looking into.
I am generally pretty sceptical about British supermarket wine. Too often it is suspiciously cheap; it might come from the right part of the world, but it has been knocked out by a volume producer on the edge of town, or the wrong vintage, or sold far too young – or usually all three. Go to a supermarket in France and it is a different story altogether – they know they can’t pull the wool over their customers’ eyes in the same way.
The same thing goes about ‘special offers’. Most of the time, they are barely drinkable wines that have been jacked up in price for a few weeks, just so the supermarket can appear to cut them and tempt weak-kneed punters to guzzle them up.
The interesting thing about the Tesco offer is that it applies to all their wine, good, bad and ugly. Given they price pretty keenly in any case, there is a real chance to pick up a bargain if you look carefully.
And you do need to look carefully. Quite a lot of their wine doesn’t warrant house room – our livers deserve better. Sift through the grot though and a few stand out, if you can get in your orders before the stroke of midnight on All Hallows’ Eve.
I give you two of them, both from Tesco’s Finest range which has teamed up with a few big volume (but not necessarily bad quality) negociants around France. The first is a 2014 Mercurey, produced by Bouchard Aine & Fils priced at £13 or only £9.75 with the discount. Mercurey is a light Burgundy from the Cote Chalonnaise, and this is a decent example – lots of plump plummy tastes and 2014 was a lovely year. At this price you really can’t go wrong – even the inferior Lidl Mercurey sells for £12.
The second is a 2015 Chateauneuf du Pape from Maison Bouachon. Like the Mercurey this is never going to win an all-comers award, but it is a decent C-de-P from an excellent year. It is Grenache dominant, but with enough Syrah and Mouvedre in the blend to keep it complex and interesting. At £14, or £10.50 with the discount, it is an absolute steal. Light again but with a powerful cherry aroma and taste and good length.
Neither of these will be in any fit state to bequeath to your grandchildren. Drink within five years at the outside. For two classic French wines however it is difficult to think where you will find value like this. You have two days before this opportunity self-destructs.
Mercurey, 2014, Bouchard Aine & Fils (Tesco, £13*) and Chateauneuf du Pape, 2015, Maison Bouachon (Tesco £14*)