Weekend wine with Blake Creedon

Today I’m looking at a wine sale in Tesco, but I have to begin with a reminder that can’t be repeated often enough.

Whether it’s shoes or sauv blanc on your shopping list, don’t judge value for money by the extent of the ‘cut’.

Put it out of your mind and ask instead if what you’re buying is a fair price, let alone a bargain. Detecting value is an inexact science to say the least. Can anyone show us what €1 worth of sensory pleasure looks like?

But broadly, anyone paying attention to what they’re drinking, me included, will have a fair sense of what’s good value. How many people would have been happy with the Proximo or La Leyeda when they were on sale in Tesco for €16? Not many I reckon. The current price, that’s the whole point — and it’s on that basis I’m recommending today’s half dozen.

Some of them belong to that special category of bottles I’d happily pay full price for.

For instance, the Tim Adams and Aurelio Montes wines featured below. I think these are particularly good value. I would happily fork out the nominal ‘full’ prices (€15 and €19.99 respectively) for these wines. Have done in the past. Will do again. But at those promotional prices I’m quite likely to be caught on CCTV running out of the store like a looter with armfuls of them.

* Tesco is also running a five bottles for a tenner offer on a range of world beers including new additions from Irish microbreweries. See page 25 for more.

* Finally, there are limited tickets available for two top-class wine events in Cork next week. On Wednesday, there’s a five-course winemaker dinner with Sami Ghosn from Massaya Wines, Lebanon, at Star Anise, Bridge Street, Cork (€65; 021-4551635). And on Thursday, Tim Adams teams up with Carl Ehrhard (Rheingau, Germany) and Séverine Schlumberger (Alsace, France) for a tasting in Ballymaloe celebrating the riesling grape. Phone 021-4652531 and see blakecreedon.wordpress.com for more about both events.

Próximo by Marques de Riscal Rioja 2009, Tesco, €8

Old vines are generally prized by growers and drinkers alike for delivering richer, more complex wines. But it seems the younger tempranillo vines used to make Próximo are infant prodigies, because it’s a surprisingly generous, complex and juicy red, its fresh cherry balanced by a pleasing dark savoury undertow.

La Leyenda Chardonnay Torrontés 2010, Tesco, €7

White wine lovers seeking out tasty new alternatives to the norm could do worse than pause and try Argentinean torrontés blends. Here it strikes up a great partnership with the chardonnay, delivering smashing juicy apples and pears and fresh acidity. Atop a lovely, slightly waxy, texture, and all at a very fair price.

Tesco Finest Vacqueyras 2007, Tesco, €9.99

I wouldn’t be inclined to buy this at full price but it is delightful, and good value at around a tenner. A typical traditional southern Rhone blend of grenache, syrah and mourvedre, it’s a saucy herbily fragrant and spicy red.

Montes Alpha Chardonnay 2010, Tesco, €10

Bargain white of the week — if you like rich chardonnay, that is. Made in the Valee de Casablanca DO north of Santiago, it’s a fresh, profoundly rich chardonnay, its heady tropical aroma augmented by oak. It might be too rich for more than a glass on its own, but it goes great with creamy chicken dishes, and mildly spicy ones at that.

Tim Adams ‘The Fergus’ 2007 Clare Valley, Tesco, €10

Bargain red of the week. One of the heroes of quality Australian wine, Tim Adams is in Cork next week to co-present a unique Riesling tasting event (see above). But Adams is famous for his reds too, including this eclectic blend — cabernet, tempranillo, Grenache, shiraz and mourvèdre — all highly extracted to deliver a powerful, rich roast beef kind of red.

Tesco Finest Chablis Premier Cru, Tesco, €15

Price isn’t a great predictor of value, and none more so than classic regions such as Bourgogne and its northern satellite, Chablis, especially at ‘bargain’ prices. This lush, intense and melon-inflected one rocks, though. Pause to swirl and sniff it, and I think you’ll appreciate the great detail you’ll find in a really well-made chardonnay.


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