The Waitrose press tasting today

Had a nice time at the Waitrose (UK supermarket) press tasting today, held at their cookery school adjoining the Finchley Road branch. I’m always glad to come away with a sheath of recommendations for my Sunday Express column.

Waitrose have some fabulous wines. They also have a few shockers, but I guess this is driven by their commercial need to supply familiar brands along with more interesting wines. What were they showing the Mondavi Woodbridge wines for? Or the Kumala red? But I mustn’t be too critical: their range knocks the other supermarkets into touch.

Now I didn’t taste as many of the wines as I’d have liked. I was under time constraints, and their were 240 wines on show. But I tasted plenty of good-uns. Very interested to see the wonderful Clonakilla Hilltops Shiraz 2009 (£17.99) which I’m strongly tempted to buy. I also liked the biodynamic Moonvine red from Walter Clappis in the McLaren Vale, which overdelivers for £9.99.  Other highlights include the Rustenberg Chardonnay (£12.49), and the wonderful Schubert Pinot Noir Block B from New Zealand’s Martinborough region (£29.50).

At the value end, I really liked the Zalze Shiraz/Mourvedre/Viognier 2010 from South Africa – yours for just £6.99.

6 comments to The Waitrose press tasting today

  • Alex Lake

    I believe they’ll be doing a 25% off soon

  • Really pleased to see Aussie wines over delivering in spite of a hideous exchange rate.

  • Kieren Johnson

    Also available at Ocado and the 25% discount is now on!

  • Samuel

    It annoys me that Waitrose can do it so well, when the others get it so, so wrong – do the numbers really stack up that badly for the big three not to be able follow suit?
    I can’t accept it is down the likes of Philippa Carr MW, Julian Dyer et-al that they produce such poor lists…or should they be held accountable ?

    As an aside: I picked up a bottle of Rustenberg John X Merriman 2008 from Waitrose last month after Tim Atkins comment here on the Top 100 SA Wines [sic] – Does exactly what is says on the tin – great example of a well made SA Bordeaux blend.

    I would also like to commend Waitrose for listing a few English wines – the others need to follow suit IMO. (and the govt needs to reduced tax on UK wines. Flint Dry would be stunning value with a couple of £’s off.)

  • The only issue with Waitrose is that half the wines at the press tastings never turn up nationwide or at least the best ones. Sadly the local shops to us have a few (but even then not many) decent wines but they never change.
    stuff like Sonoma Cutrer Chard are decent and interesting for a supermarket but please change them from time to time out in the regions!

    Rustenberg Chard is an interesting one – the UK agent claims to have no stock until August / September – are they doing the indies over in favour of Waitrose or have Waitrose shipped from SA and so still have previous vintage available.

  • Mark T

    Surely it was very clear that the “big three” specifically opted out of being into wine a few years back, when first Sainsburys and then Tesco flogged off all their proper wine?

    Agree with Tim about Waitrose. I don’t even bother looking around here.

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