The autumn is wine fair season in Irish supermarkets. Aldi was first out of the blocks last Sunday with an intriguing selection of wines from around the world at their usual low prices.
Supervalu is next up with its French sale which begins on September 1, while Lidl’s French sale will begin on September 12 and will include some top-end Bordeaux.
I haven’t heard from them yet but I’d be surprised if Dunnes Stores and Tesco do not also have a sale in the offing as, I suspect, will O’Briens.
The tradition of the autumn wine sale was first borrowed from France by Superquinn, which had a relationship with the Casino/Géant chain and would piggyback on their buying power.
SuperValu has continued this sale tradition and has over 100 French wines on sale including 20 new wines, a few of which I recommend below.
Wines I didn’t have room for include two Crémant de Loire sparkling wines — a rosé and a white — which are selling at two for €20 rather than €20 each.
The wines are good rather than outstanding but they are excellent value.
Most French regions produce a Crémant (eg, Alsace, Bourgogne, Limoux) and are worth watching for in the upcoming sales from the other operators.
While Crémant sparklers never really approach Champagne in complexity they are always good value and have full power bottle-conditioned fizz.
If you do find your Crémant a little dry don’t forget you can add a dash of Crème de Cassis, Crème de Mur (blackberries) or even Grand Marnier to make a Kir Royale.
Incidentally, prosecco doesn’t really work for Kir Royale as it just isn’t fizzy enough.
What prosecco at its best does have is fresh peachy charms (partly as a result of the fact that the aromas of the grape are preserved thanks to it being tank rather than bottle-fermented).
My other selections this week are also from France and include a floral fragrant dessert wine that will work well with cheese or new season peaches (white ones for preference) plus an outrageously fashionable rosé made (or rather endorsed) by some people that might sound familiar.
BEST VALUE UNDER €15
Chateau la Baronnerie 2010, Cotes de Bordeaux Blaye, France — €10
This was probably the best of the red Bordeaux I tasted from the Supervalu sale and is from the great 2010 vintage, probably the best in the region since 2005.
This is a good example of merlot rich mature Bordeaux, and while it still has a couple of years left in it I wouldn’t keep it too long. Savoury and soft with fleshy plum fruits.
HR, Hommage du Rhone, Vinsobres, Rhone, France — €10
Vinsobres is in the Southern Rhone (almost in Provence) and this is the second wine from the appellation that I have mentioned this month.
Good fleshy fruit, young and vibrant, with lots of crunchy black fruit character and well worth its price.
Bastide Miraflors 2014, Cotes de Roussillon, France — 6 for €60
This is a case deal containing two wines from the Roussillon region both based on Grenache and Syrah.
Light fruity style, very drinkable with soft black fruits — plums and cherries. The second wine is called Tesselae which has a little more structure and a light spicy texture.
BEST VALUE OVER €15
Domaine La Fage Grain de Vigne, Muscat de Rivesaltes 2015, 500ml — €19.99
Stockists: 1601, World Wide Wines, Mortons Galway, Vintry, Sweeneys.
Muscat de Rivesaltes can age for decades (I’ve tasted intriguing versions over 50 years old) but this has youth on its side.
Aromas of honeysuckle and fresh white peaches with some lovely light candied fruit on the palate and just enough acidity. Note, the picture is of the 75cl bottle.
Miraval Cotes de Provence Rosé, France — €28.99
Stockists: World Wide Wines, Donnybrook Fair, Terroirs, Jus de Vine, Mitchells, Bradleys, selected independents
From a village that is 100% organic (the first in France apparently) and made by the Perrin family of Chateau de Beaucastel fame.
Miraval is a joint venture with Brad and Angelina Jolie. A little overpriced but doesn’t disappoint with fragrant creamy red fruit and a crisp fresh tangy finish.
Baron de Badassière, Pays d’Oc, France — €15.99
Stockists: World Wide Wines, World Wide Wines, Martins, Wine Online, Jus de Vine, Mitchells, Bradleys, selected independents
As his name suggests the original Baron was a bit of a bad boy, rumoured to be the illegitimate son of Louis XV.
Made by a New Zealander for Liberty Wines, this is a fragrant Viognier with light white peach, almonds and honeysuckle, with a touch of floral decadence and a crisp finish.
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