jamie goode's wine blog

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Tesco, the UK's largest supermarket, sells a staggering amount of wine. I don't have the exact figures to hand, but it's in the order of one-third of all off-sales in the UK. Today was their press tasting, which was held at the imposing venue of London's County Hall. On show were some 76 wines from the regular range (totalling 750 lines), plus the debut showing of the new premium range. These 50 wines, ranging in price from 10-100, will be stocked in 200 stores in 'bespoke fixtures'. It's a welcome development.

Some nice wines, but I'll just report on a few. The Taittinger Prestige Rose (32.99) impressed me with its complexity and finesse. Defaix-Raveneau 1999 Chablis 1er Cru Cote de Lechet (16.99) was deliciously savoury and just a little funky: a reall nice wine. The Trimbach Riesling Cuvee Frederic Emile 2000 Alsace (23.99) was a real star: only 2.9 g/litre residual sugar but the complex, expressive fruit had a sweet quality to it. Delicious. Perhaps my favourite wine of the tasting was also from Alsace: Zind Humbrecht's Gewurztraminer Herrenweg 2000 (16.99). It's hugely rich and medium sweet with lovely complex melon and lychee flavours. Really nicely balanced. Two vintages of Penfolds Grange (99.99) were on tasting: the 1997 and 1999. Neither are top-flight Grange vintages. The 1997 shows menthol-edged, spicy, almost medicinal fruit with some warmth, and the 1999 punches hard with intense spicy red and black fruits, together with some tarry, menthol-edged oak imprint.

County Hall is an interesting venue. Beautifully situated on the south bank of the Thames, opposite Westminster, its labyrinthine insides took quite some negotiating to locate the room Tesco had hired. Away from the bits frequented by the public (it houses an aquarium and a hotel), it has a rather sleepy, disused feel to it.


At 10:04 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

Thought I'd add some scores for the wines, in order of mentioning, for those who like these things. 92, 91, 93, 93, 91, 93.

And there's a prize of a bottle of wine for the first person to identify the five people whose faces are visible in the picture (click on it for a bigger version). You have a week. If no one gets all five, then closest wins.

At 6:08 AM, Anonymous Gary Walsh said...

Jim Budd, Oz Clarke, Anthony Rose - don't know the lady (looks familiar though) or the bloke with curly hair.

I reckon the 99 Grange is a top vintage. I like the flavour profile. I like it better than any since 96.


At 7:20 AM, Anonymous Jean-Pierre said...

what do you mean when you say the 1999 Chablis 1er Cru Cote de Lechet was "just a little funky"? does this refer to a fault? or is it a good thing?

At 11:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tesco, Tescopoly, it's not a good thing in my opinion that they're adding Premium Sections. Another nail shot into the coffin of independent wine merchants. Don't let them buy you, Goode.

At 9:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"the 1999 Chablis 1er Cru Cote de Lechet was "just a little funky"?

That's a positive - it's something totally different and nice to see Tesco bringing in these kinds of wines..

re tescopoly... well, i think sometimes the perception is not always the reality and sometimes it's nice that consumers can actually buy a decent wine where they buy their shopping, rather than having to make an extra effort to go elsewhere when in a rush... i am not saying that they offer better wine than Oddbins, but i am saying that there are some excellent wines on offer such as the Merrill wines and Joseph amongst others...that stand up just as well to some of what the other specialists have to offer..

At 11:24 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Gary's winning so far, three correct out of five.

At 8:20 AM, Anonymous Stuart Peskett said...


Jim Budd, obviously, on the left.
Then Anthony Rose.
Then Oz Clarke.
Then it looks like Patricia Langton from OLN.

The last person has me stumped, though.

At 10:17 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

Stuart, close but no cigar - the five are:

Jim Budd, Anthony Rose, Oz Clarke, Sally Easton and Phil Reedman

I think Gary is the winner. Pop in some time to pick your bottle up, Gary.

At 11:46 AM, Anonymous Gary Walsh said...

Ha ha. No worries. I'll give you a yell next time I am in London..can I collect from Heathrow duty free? :)

GW (Sydney. Oztraya)


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