Asda press tasting, and a first look at Brancott (ex Montana)

It was the Asda press tasting today. For those outside the UK, Asda is a supermarket with a reputation for value for money, aimed higher than Lidl and Aldi, but perhaps a little lower than Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

I tasted a good many of the 140 wines on show, and came away quietly impressed. There were many bottles offering great value for money that I’d be happy to drink. The Italian whites, in particular, punched above their weight. And there were some nice southern French wines, as well as a few good Rhones. Chile was strong, also.

It was the first time I’d seen the new packaging of the Montana Sauvignon Blanc (excuse the dodgy phone cam pic), which from the 2010 vintage is now the Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc. I guess Pernod Ricard wanted a global brand, and they were unable to use the Montana name in the USA (it’s the name of a state, and they’d used the name Brancott there).

But Montana is a powerful brand. It’s risky changing a brand name. Consumers don’t understand and are easily put-off. Perhaps Pernod Ricard think their future for Montana/Brancott is the US market, and it’s worth losing sales in Europe to gain traction there.

But couldn’t they stick with the two brands? I really don’t see the need for change, and the risk of losing customers at a difficult time in the marketplace generally is quite huge. Is it central office control freakism that likes a uniform global brand?

The wine is very good. Lovely stuff, as is the Villa Maria Private Bin 2010. The 2010 vintage in Marlborough seems quite exciting.

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