Posted on 24.11.19 #113

Wines for the BBC’s Bill Buckley show

If you’re tuned in to Bill Buckley’s show on BBC Berkshire today and you’d like some further detail on the wines we tasted, all of them bargains, here goes:

The supermarkets do a great job bringing us good quality, affordable Champagne. I have been particularly impressed by the Tesco own-brand versions, which are made by ‘Union’ – a big producer co-operative. This one’s a notch up from the regular non-vintage Champagne (which is also very good, by the way), as it comes from a specific year and is made with ‘Grand Cru’ grapes, which come from the region’s most prestigious sites. Tesco Vintage Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs 2012 Champagne (normally £26 at Tesco, but currently £19.50 – if you buy six – until 2.12.19). Made exclusively with Chardonnay, it offers rich toasty lemon shortbread, with wonderful depth and length. I was recently searching out Champagne in a French supermarket and there was nothing that could beat this one for value!

Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc is one of the nation’s favourite wines, so for our festive selection I wanted to find one of the best examples there is – at a good price.  The newly-rebranded Yealands Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2019 (normally £8 at Sainsbury’s, but on promo at £7 until 10.12.19) is full of bright, crisp stone fruit and lychee flavours that will have savvy-lovers slathering, but it also avoids the sweaty character that blights some cheaper alternatives. The wine is made by Natalie Christensen, one of New Zealand’s latest generation of clever winemakers seeking to evolve and improve the country’s most famous wine style.

Our red this month is also my wine of the week too, Les Dauphins Côtes-du-Rhône Villages (normally £9.99, but on promo at Waitrose at £7.49 until 3.12.19) is full of friendly freshness, with bright blackcurrant, black pepper and a gentle waft of ‘garrigue’, the distinctive summer smell of baked scrub and herbs, famous in the South of France. It’s made by Cellier des Dauphins, a huge co-operative of 2,300 growers producing 40 million bottles a year, which has taken great strides to sharpen up its wines in recent times.

Finally, it wouldn’t be a festive selection without a Port. The perfect partner for a cheese board, this delicious version also does some good. Taylor’s Select Reserve Port (normally £10.75 at all Co-Op stores, but currently just £7 until 3.12.19 – for a full-size 75cl bottle), offers classic, ripe red cherry/berry character, with silky smooth tannins and a smouldering bramble finish. What’s more, the Co-Op will give 10p from every bottle sold to a reforestation project in the Douro Valley, from which Port famously comes. The plan is to plant two species of native oak, with a target of 2,500 trees from this project alone. The Douro is one of the most beautiful wine regions anywhere, so this is the perfect opportunity to help keep it that way, whilst enjoying a delicious glass of Port, at an extraordinary price.

You can hear David chatting to Bill once a month on BBC Radio Berkshire, or anywhere on the BBC Sounds app



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