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Supermarket wine: the price is right but is the taste?

Fri 23 Jul 2010 11:03


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Supermarket’s own-brand food products are becoming more and more popular with shoppers, with their versions often proving to be just as good as those from the big names.

Recently shops have started to also offer a lot more of their own-brand wines too, and wine expert Tom Cannavan decided to try some out to see if they step up to the same standard as the established makes.

Tom tasted more than 80 own-brand wines from a variety of the biggest supermarkets, concentrating not on the most expensive offerings, but more on the inexpensive wines  that come in at under £5, that are supposed to offer us real value for money.

He came to the conclusion that it’s a bit ot a mixed bag out there, with some fantastic value wines in the supermarkets’ own brands, but others a bit uninspiring.

As ever, the wine connoisseur has picked his top three from the bunch – so if you fancy trying one of the best from the lot he tried out, here are his favourite selections.

1. Asda Extra Special Chilean Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Chile, £4.98 from Asda.
Made for Asda by the very good Errazuriz estate, this is one of the best buys at less than a fiver, with its piercing tropical fruit and verdant, elderflower and cut grass aromas.

The lime cordial and pineapple palate has a cleansing, mouth-watering finish, making this the perfect tipple to team up with Thai fishcakes with a chilli dipping sauce, or some nice asparagus-based dishes.

2. Marks & Spencer PX Elqui 2009, Argentina, £5.49 from Marks & Spencer
The wine, which is from the remote and magical Elqui Valley in Argentina, is a straightforward but very enjoyable dry white, with fine, apple fruit and the crispness to match well with pre-dinner nibbles or to sip on its own.

PX stand Pedro Ximenez, which is the grape that is used for this wine, and it is one that is usually associated more with sweet sherry.

With fruity tastes of apples, lemons and green herbs, this particular pick goes well with white fish, canapés and summer salads.

3. Sainsbury's House Merlot, Australia, £3.49 at Sainsbury's
Tom’s third pick is this lovely fruity Merlot. Cheap as chips but rather tasty, this is a creamy, bright and fruity Merlot with lots of come-hither charm.

The palate delivers a slightly tannic but convincing mouthful of fruit that is dry and flavoursome. This is definitely another banker for the summer barbecue.

With lovely rich tasting cues of cherries and spices, this wine goes well with tomatoey pastas, or burgers or lamb chops fresh from the grill.


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