This article was first published in The Irish Times, 3rd September, 2022
As we count the cost of holidays past, school uniforms and rising prices, we should be thankful that the annual round of supermarket wine sales has started. These days the entire year seems to be a series of promotional cycles, but I think the autumn sales usually offer the best value. I tasted a range from Dunnes Stores, SuperValu and O’Briens recently and came across some very nice wines.
The SuperValu French and German wine sale started on Thursday and will continue until September 21st. Hats off to Kevin O’Callaghan and his team for coming up with a substantial German offering alongside France. Look out for the varietal wines from Albert Glas that include Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Noir. At €10-€12, these are all very keenly priced. If you ever wanted to explore your favourite grape variety, this provides the ideal opportunity. I would also recommend the Blue Tie (€10) from Alsace if you enjoy off-dry whites, and the rich and powerful I’m the Boss Cahors Malbec (€15), if you want something more full-bodied to partner your red meats and hearty bean casseroles.
From August 30th to October 11th, Dunnes Stores will be offering 20 per cent off all French wine. One of my favourites is the Exploration Crozes-Hermitage 2020 Cave de Tain (€16.80), a medium-bodied wine with delicious ripe dark fruits, pepper and light tannins, with no added sulphites.
In recent years, Dunnes has improved its Burgundy selection, and now has a very decent range, some offering value for money given current prices in Burgundy. Both the Bourgogne Rouge Marguerite Carillon (€18) and the Domaine de la Bressande Mercurey 2018 (€24.80) are very well-priced. The wines of Laurent Miquel have been ever present in Dunnes for many years, and quality has never slipped. The Laurent Miquel Kinsale is a delicious rich rounded Syrah, perfect with red meats and cheeses, and the excellent Côte 128 Viognier is an absolute steal at €10.40.
The other white wine that stood out for me was the Cocobiroux Vermentino, another great bargain for €9.60. If you fancy splashing out a little, the Lions de Batailley, the second wine of Château Batailley in Pauillac (€31.20) is a classic Bordeaux.
Lastly, the O’Briens wine sale began last Thursday with more than 100 wines from around the world on promotion. Bargains include one of my favourites, the light supple Saint Désirat Syrah (€9.95), as well as the Laurent Miquel Cabernet Sauvignon (€9.95) and the new organic Almorquí Tinto (€9.95). I would also be tempted by the Rizzardi Lugana (€13.95) and the excellent sherry lookalike Montilla Toro Albalá Oloroso (€13.95).
This week four wines all for €10 or less to help tide you over those September blues.
Château Lacroix 2020 Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux
A big powerful Bordeaux with concentrated muscular ultra-ripe cassis fruits and a spicy, tannic finish. Enjoy it with roast red meats or substantial bean casseroles.
From: Dunnes Stores
Château Bentejac 2019, Bordeaux
Medium-bodied with supple red fruits and light, slightly herbaceous tannins on the finish. A solid traditional claret. Try it with roast red meats or a garlicky mushroom casserole.
Albert Glas Weißburgunder (Pinot Blanc) 2021, Pfalz
Fresh crisp racy green fruits — pears and apples — with a lively acidity and crisp dry finish. Perfect aperitif wine with tapas, with creamy goat’s cheese or plainly grilled white fish.
Max Lions Grenache 2020, IGP pays d’Oc
Big ripe slightly baked strawberries with a touch of spice. Supple and rounded, this offers good value for money. Try it with substantial casseroles and pasta bakes.