Some highlights from the Tesco press tasting today


Some highlights from the Tesco press tasting today

Today was the Tesco press tasting, held at the Hospital Club in Endell Street. I headed there, fresh back from Cape Town this morning, after stopping off at home to greet the dogs (every time I travel they must wonder whether I will be coming back) and have a quick bath.

Here are some wines that I liked, ranging from cheap to relatively expensive.

First of all, the Chanoine Freres Vintage Champagne 2009 (£29.99). This tasted like a baby Bollinger Grande Annee, with a fine toastiness and a distinctive lively appley personality, with evidence of a bit of oxidative base wine ageing.

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Then, a really nice red for just £4.20. The Tesco Simply Bulgarian Merlot NV. This is juicy, sweet and textured with fresh juicy red fruits: cherries and raspberries. It’s really nice wine, and carries 6 g/litre of sugar very well. I felt bad for liking it, but it was pretty tasty and not spoofy.

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I liked the rather angular, reductive Chateau de Fauzan Minervois 2013 (£8.99). This is proper wine with bright, vivid raspberry and black cherry fruit with a mineral-like quality and hints of tar.

sociando mallet

Next, a couple of vintages of Sociando Mallet, 2009 and 2010. I rated both 92/100. The 2010 is perhaps a bit fresher, but the 2009 has a lovely savoury, leathery, spicy development, and both have lovely fruit. They’re each available for £150 for a six pack, which works out at £25 per bottle.

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This is the same deal for the Kanonkop Pinotage 2011. This is a lovely sleek, supple, ageworthy Pinotage that is one of South Africa’s most celebrated red wines.

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Finally, don’t judge a book by its cover or a wine by its label. The three Faustino Riojas – VII Tempranillo 2012 (£7.49), VI Crianza 2011 (£9.49), I Gran Reserva 2001 (£17.99) – are all quite delicious, well balanced, traditional Riojas that overdeliver at these price points. I rated them 87, 89 and 92. and the terrible packaging of the I GR is forgiven because it’s a really stylish wine that should carry on ageing nicely.


4 Comments on Some highlights from the Tesco press tasting today
wine journalist and flavour obsessive

4 thoughts on “Some highlights from the Tesco press tasting today

  1. Not sure I agree with the “terrible packaging” comment on the Gran Reserva. Clearly it’s old-fashioned but I quite like the way they have stuck with their guns – a quick look at the web shows that they’ve had it like that since at least 1964, whereas their marketing people don’t seem to be able to settle on the exact look of the others in the range and I’m not sure modernised-traditional works.

    Also, I know you were fresh off the plane, but what about some scores on the other Tesco wines? I’m dying to know what you’d feel you could give a wine that costs 4.20GBP

  2. I completely disagree with you on the Sociando Mallet.
    I have tried both and found them super tannic and almost undrinkable. And where did you find that ‘lovely fruit’?
    If either of them are ever pleasant drinking, i’d be very suprised!
    Far better stuff available for that price.

  3. Looking forward to Chateau de Fauzan. I didn’t think it was possible to make an “angular” and “mineral-like” Minervois… The ones I’ve tried have invariably been super-soft, super-smooth and jammy to a fault. Like many Languedoc offerings, they’ve been more redolent of an alcoholic smoothie than proper wine.

    As for the Faustino 1 GR, it’s definitely a crowd pleaser. You could serve it with complete confidence to friends and family over Easter for example and everyone will like it. It’s undeniably tasty and seductive but it’s ultimately too sweet, glossy and commercial to take seriously. I’m not sure I would buy it again and certainly not for £17.99.

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