Wine with Leslie Williams

I have good news and bad news this week — the bad news is that the SuperValu French wine sale is no more, but the good news is that it has been replaced with a Spanish Sale.

The tradition of the French wine sale began in Superquinn 30 years ago and was always a highlight of the wine year.

In its heyday you could find low cost Cru Classé Bordeaux, Hermitage or Châteauneuf-du-Pape, but those bargains are just not around anymore so I think it was a wise decision to switch to Spain.

This column is a fan of Spanish wine and so it seems is the Irish public.

In the last survey from the Irish Wine Association (part of IBEC) Spain once again increased their sales and currently have 12.6% of the market — France is just barely ahead at 12.7%. I fully expect Spain to pass France in volume sales later this year.

Besides the wines featured below also watch for the Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava for €20 and the Gran Troya Cava for a mere €12 — the latter has creamy lemon and lime fruits and surprising depth for such a low price.

There are a number of Rioja bargains in the sale including that old favourite Faustino One for €20, Marqués de Cáceres Crianza for €13 (down from €16.49) and Cáceres Reserva at €20 (down from €30). If you want to make a bigger impression with dinner guests there are magnums of Marqués de Riscal Reserva for €30 (down from €40) and double magnums (4 bottles of wine) for €70, a saving of €15.

Pleasingly Sherry has not been neglected either with Tio Pepe down from €16 to €14 and watch out for the Williams & Humbert Dry Sack Sherry, one of my picks of the sale and good value for this level of complexity and rarity at €35. Aged for around 15 years and with some sweetness (around 80g of residual sugar) but also acidity and huge complexity and vivacity — packed with dried fig and almond flavours and a long long finish.

I’ve also recommended below a couple of Spanish wines from the Searsons portfolio, which is strong on Spanish wines.

Diary: Thursday, February 21, Cru Classé Bordeaux Dinner at Adare Manor, €75, Guests should contact: GuestRelations@adaremanor.com; tel: 061-605200

Best Value under €15

Viña Albali Verdejo Rueda

Spain- €8

Stockist: SuperValu

Reduced by €2 for the sale this is a good introduction to Rueda and the Verdejo grape and a bit of a steal at this price. Light fruity aromas of lemon and apple, lively on the palate with a bitter lemon twist on the finish. This is one of three Verdejo in the sale, the Los Molinos is even cheaper at €7 but this is better.

Casa de la Ermita Crianza 2012, Jumilla

Spain — €12

Stockist: SuperValu

There are three wines from this producer in the sale and all are excellent. The Lunático (€15) is 100% Monastrell and textured and packed with sweet plums and the Idílico (€15) is mostly Petit Verdot with more noticeable oak and spice but with bright supple fruits. This Crianza is more plum and blackcurrant focused and a little tauter but with good concentration.

500 Manos 2014 Tinto, Cariñena

Spain — €15

Stockist: SuperValu

This comes in a pleasing presentation box and is reduced from €20. A blend of Syrah (60%) plus Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and has been aged for four years oak ageing (mainly in older barrels). Dark fruit and

spice aromas, juicy and supple on the palate with admirable richness and concentration.

Best Value over €15

Losada El Pájaro Rojo, Bierzo

Spain — €16.95

Stockists: Nolans of Kilcullen; Next Door, Clonakilty, Searsons, Monkstown– www.searsons.com

Bierzo in the province of Léon in north west Spain often appears on this page as I love the bright juicy fruits found in the Mencía grape that is the region’s mainstay. This has two big brothers that use more oak but I really

like the straightforward bright fruits in this entry level version.

Tomàs Cusiné Llebre, Costers del Segre

Spain — €17.95

Stockists: Searsons, Monkstown and nationwide from www.searsons.com, Fallon & Byrne, Nolans of Kilcullen, Grapevine, Dalkey

Costers del Segre is in the south-west of Catalonia midway between Barcelona and Zaragoza and covering a few different sub-regions. This is 100% Tempranillo and packed with ripe cherry aromas accented with

spice. Ripe and soft with good freshness and lingering dark cherry fruits.

Torres Purgatori 2013, Costers del Segre

Spain — €20

Stockists: SuperValu

A blend of Cariñena, Garnacha and Syrah, this is reduced from around €28 and one of my favourite wines in the SuperValu sale. Rich black fruit aromas mixed with touches of allspice and mocha, dense and complex on

the palate with cocoa tinged blackberry fruits, lingering and complex and if you only buy one wine in the sale let it be this one.

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