January wine bargainsPosted on: 10 January 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves
Our resident wine expert shares his January wine bargains for under six pounds.
Well the buntings down, the carefully applied wrapping paper is being recycled into next year’s Christmas cards, and the bottle bank’s stuffed like the recently devoured turkey. Now the festivities are at an end, the obligatory sales have started.
There was a time when the wine trade didn’t go in for sales, the assumption being that having been laden down with wine in December that wine lovers would need January off to recover, but these days, such considerations have been put aside. Even if you are detoxing or abstaining in January, these suggestions are wines that will be well worth investigating when you climb back on the wagon, so stock up now while the prices are low.
Tesco’s sale this year is really quite good and I’ve spotted a number of wines on their list which are well worth a look. The Louis Max Corbieres 2000 wasn’t bad value for money when it was £8, but at £4 (£24 for six on Tesco.com), it’s fantastic. It is rare to find a mature example of this sort of wine and time has given its red and black cherry fruit a smoky edge, whilst the acidity has softened making it incredibly easy to drink on its own or partnered with simply cooked red meats.
Also from Tesco.com is the Lagunilla Reserva Rioja. Rioja is one of my favourite wines and this is nice example, with bright, red berry, currant and cranberry fruit, lashings of creamy oak and nice spiciness to the finish. All this for just £6 a bottle.
Laithwaites, the UK’s largest independent merchant, have a few gems in their sale this year. The diverting, not to say unusual, Mitchell's Pass Petit Verdot 2006 is a cracking buy at £6.39 a bottle or £5.50 if you take a case. Petit Verdot plays a small, but significant role in Bordeaux, but here, with the benefit of South American sunshine it gives a wonderfully rich, complex and absolutely huge glassful. Rammed with plump blackcurrants, raspberries and brambles, it’s a corker with hard cheeses or tomato-rich pasta dishes.
Also from Laithwaites, though somewhat less of a winter warmer, is the Luis Canas Blanco (£5.66 a bottle or £5.42 if you buy a case). Lovely, rich, ripe and full, this creamy, peachy wine has overtones of nuts - and with its green apple acidity it is perfect for white meats, poultry and white fish. It is also sumptuous - and this is the way I enjoyed it - just on its own.
Sainsbury’s aren’t going to be left out of the sale season. On their site I spotted the thoroughly lovely Nobilo Sauvigon Blanc 2007 (£5.59 a bottle). Crisp, dry and totally saturated with gooseberry, lime and peach fruit, this is a fine, exciting example of this wine nation’s most famous export.
From the other side of the world and the other end of the wine spectrum, is the Valdevina Cabernet Merlot Reserve 2007. Gloriously drinkable, this cracking Argentinean wine is great fun. It offers heaps of sweetly spiced blackcurrant, bramble and red cherry fruit along with touches of bitter chocolate and herbs. Outstanding for only £3.31 a bottle, it’d be an idea to get some of this for summer parties or simply for every-day-drinking over the long winter nights ahead.
Avery’s sale, for those of you looking for something a little more serious, is excellent this year. There are a bunch of wines I’d happily sit down with, but two that caught my particular attention were the Danzante Sangiovese Marche 2004 Frescobaldi and the Chateau Haut Reygnac 2005 Bordeaux Blanc. The first is a wonderful, red cherry and herb soaked Italian number that comes from a great vintage, and at the moment can be yours for just £4.50 a bottle (saving £3). Ideal with tomato pasta, it’s also lovely with sausages, red meats or full-flavoured cheeses. The Haut Reygnac is a wine I’ve known for years and is the sort of crisp, clean juicily fruited white that goes down gloriously on its own, or as the perfect partner to white fish, pork or poultry.
Do you have a wine recommendation to share, or have you tried any of the wines mentioned here? Email [email protected].
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