Posts Tagged SuperValu

Wines to keep you warm this autumn


First published in The Irish Times, Saturday October 7th, 2017

I cling to the dying days of summer for as long as possible, hoping against hope that the days won’t get shorter and the temperature won’t drop. Sadly, inevitably, the weather has changed, the leaves are turning and autumn has arrived.

As the season changes we move on from the lighter wines of summer to something a little more warming, not necessarily to anything quite as big and powerful as the robust winter reds, but we certainly drink more red wine, or white wines with a little bit more body and texture. We still drink fresh, crisp whites and light reds from time to time, of course, but many of us instinctively drink seasonally. Sales of rosé plummet, and of red wines increase, once the sun disappears.

Choosing a wine is as much about mood as about the food you are serving. I often find myself returning to old favourites, such as the Protocolo below. Like a favourite old coat or jacket, or a cosy blanket returned to the sofa, they offer a certain comfort at this time of year.

My favourite autumnal wines include mellow Riojas, some of which can have a definite aroma of autumnal undergrowth, as does mature Pinot Noir. Both are perfect for all of those game dishes that become available for the next few months, or pork with roasted vegetables – onions, butternut squash and root vegetables. If you add a couple of apples the white Château Saint Auriol below would work well. If you add a little spice a fuller-bodied Grenache or Shiraz would be perfect.

For white wines with a little more richness and body, go for Chardonnay, Viognier, Roussanne or maybe a Godello, from Spain. All of these work really well with white meats and fuller-bodied fish dishes. I had a great fish pie this week that was perfect with a medium-bodied Chardonnay. Chenin Blanc from South Africa also has that comforting cushioned richness that seems just right on a colder evening. I have also enjoyed several warming curries in the past few weeks. My lamb bhuna worked a treat with the Grenache Noir below on a damp Thursday evening; the Château Saint Auriol went nicely with a creamy chicken curry.

Around this time of year all of those back-to-school expenses start to bite. If you are self-employed the taxman is waiting impatiently for his annual payment. So, this week, four budget wines, all widely available and all well under €15, to keep us warm in the cooler evenings.


Protocolo 2014, Castilla, Spain 13.5%, €10.95

An old favourite that is on song. Light, smooth cherry fruits with a hint of vanilla spice. Perfect all-purpose wine. From branches of O’Briens

Tesco Shiraz 2016, Limestone Coast, Australia 14.5%, €9

Instantly gluggable full-bodied red with generous blackcurrant fruits and a nice seam of acidity to balance it out. Serve with red meats. From branches of Tesco

Château Saint Auriol Chatelaine Blanc 2015, Corbières, France 13%, €12.99
Perfumed, medium-bodied, textured white wine with peaches and toasted nuts. Serve with creamy chicken or pork. From branches of SuperValu

Grenache Noir 2016, JC Mas, Sud de France 13.5% €8.49
Soft, seductive ripe strawberry and raspberry fruits. Another good all-purpose wine. Serve with red or white meats. From branches of Aldi

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Picpoul de Pinet Les Flamants 2015

Picpoul de Pinet Les Flamants 2015

DSCF7346Picpoul de Pinet Les Flamants 2015



Light crisp and refreshing with clean green apple fruits.

Perfect with a bowl of mussels.

Part of the SuperValu Specially Sourced range, this is a decent well made dry white wine. Many Picpouls these days seem to be quite high in alcohol, with a sweetish finish. This wine tastes the way Picpoul should; the Muscadet of the south.

€10 from SuperValu

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September Supermarket Wine Sales

September Supermarket Wine Sales

First published in The Irish Times Saturday 20th August

Around this time of year, the multiples start their autumn wine sales. Among all the half-priced wines and other bogus offers, this year there are some genuine bargains. SuperValu could claim to be the originator of the autumn French wine sale, but in recent years, it has been Lidl leading the charge with a well-chosen list of goodies, targeting the middle-class wine drinker. This year the Lidl range is tighter, with 50 wines on offer, but there is plenty to choose from. The sale starts on September 12th. Aldi has taken Lidl on this year with a World Wine Festival, starting on August 21st.

From Alsace, Lidl has three very tasty wines, the floral, fruity Sylvaner 2015 (€8.99, a great aperitif wine), the pleasantly fruity Ernest Wein Riesling 2015 (€9.99) and the more serious, waxy, honeyed Riesling Grand Cru Altenberg de Bergbeiten (€12.99). My star white was the delicious crisp dry Sauvignon Blanc, Adrien Marechal Reuilly 2015 (€14.99).

In Beaujolais, 2015 was a great vintage and the Mignot Fleurie from that year is a steal at €10.99. Burgundy lovers can chose from the chunky, fruit-filled Ladoix (€15.99), although bargain-hunters might be better advised to go for the light, clean Les Chanussots Hautes-Côtes de Nuits (€10.99). Moving on to Bordeaux, the Château de Rousselet Côtes de Bourg (€9.99) offers fantastic value, as do the Château Lalande Mausse, Fronsac 2013 (€9.99) and the Château le Bourdillot 2012 (€10.99) and the classic, tannic Médoc Cru Bourgeois Château Pey de Pont 2012 (€11.99).Moving up in price, hedonists will go for the lush, oaky Virginie de Valandraud 2014 (€32.99), but I would be delighted to have some of the very impressive Château de la Dauphine 2011, at a very competitive €24.99, in my cellar.

Aldi has the excellent crisp, dry Grüner Veltliner Ried Seiber from Austria at an unbelievably cheap €8.99. In the reds, they have two amazingly inexpensive Pinots Noirs, the light, fragrant Fritz Keller 2014 from Germany for €9.99 and the richer, fruitier de Bertoli Yarra Valley GS from Australia for €10.99. Another must-buy is the Nikau Point Syrah from Hawke’s Bay, a steal at €9.99. Bordeaux-lovers should seek out the elegant dry Gloria Douro Reserva , €8.99.

SuperValu will have over 100 French wines on offer as well as twenty new French wines in their French Wine sale, starting September 1st. From these I would go for the following; the light, fresh La Petite Perrière Sauvignon Blanc 2015, and the red equivalent, La Petite Perrière Pinot Noir 2015, (both €9), also light, with subtle dark cherry fruits and vanilla.

Image 4Ch. de la Dauphine 2011, Fronsac, Bordeaux

Structured, concentrated cassis and blackcurrants with a dry finish. Decant now and enjoy or keep a year or two.

Stockists: Lidl

NikauPointReserveNikau Point Syrah 2014, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand

Delicious light savoury peppery dark cherry fruits. Try it with cumin-scented grilled lamb chops.

Stockists: Aldi

ImageLa Petite Perrière Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Vin de France

Lively refreshing plump green fruits. A good everyday all-purpose Sauvignon to drink solo or with salads.

Stockists: SuperValu

Bargain Wine

Image 3Fleurie Mignot 2015

Delightful fresh fruit-filled Beaujolais; drink solo or with ham and other pork dishes.

Stockists: Lidl

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My favourites from the SuperValu Tasting

SuperValu Tasting June 2016
My standard intro here; as with the other multiples, SuperValu has no shortage of inexpensive wines, most of which are drinkable, usually with a few grams of residual sugar to smooth things out and mask any deficiencies. Fine for everyday drinking. However, excitement may be in short supply.

Here is my selection from the recent SuperValu tasting, showing many of the wines they source directly. SuperValu have made huge efforts to improve their range over the last year or two. There were some good wines. Two of the least expensive turned out to be amongst my favourites too. Naturally you should buy at the promotional price whenever possible.

La Petite Perrière Sauvignon Blanc 2015 €11.99 / €9.00
Vin de France
Well-made fresh easy-drinking wine; light aromas, followed by good well-rounded yellow fruits, melon and pears with good acidity. Perfect all-purpose summer white at a keen price.

Image 5

Armas de Guerra Godello 2015, Bierzo €11.99 / €9

I am very fond of Godello (a Galician grape), but you will rarely find it at this price. This has decent light clean soft pear fruits and enough acidity to keep it refreshing. You won’t mistake it for one of the top whites of Valdeorras (also made from Godello), but at €9, this is quite amazing value.

Image 8
Pouilly-Fumé Guy Saget 2014 €18.99 / €14
Nicely aromatic, with medium-bodied green fruits, good acidity and a decent dry finish. Try with salmon steaks or goats cheese salad.

Image 1
Flor de Anon 2015, Campo de Borja €14.99 / €12.00
A delicious big fat ripe fruit bomb, this will go down a storm at barbeques, or drunk alongside any kind of grilled and roast red meats. Ripe strawberries, spice and a soft finish.

Image 2
Cantina Tombacco Aglianico Benevantano 2013 €12.99 / €10
If you have never tried Aglianico, this would make a great gentle introduction. Aglianico can be a bit brutal, all tannic power and firm savoury leathery flavours. This however, has smooth rich dark fruits and a lightly tannic structure. Drink with roast red meats, rich stews and pasta dishes.

Image 7
Carius Cairanne 2015, Côtes du Rhône Villages €14.99 / €12

Soft rich supple ripe red fruits, with a nice herbal twist. A good all-rounder, but maybe best with roast white meats. Good value too.



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Three supermarket red wines for €10 or a lot less.

Three supermarket red wines for €10 or a lot less.

Three bargain red wines that I came across this week; the first featured in my weekly online piece (Take It Home) in the Irish Times on Wednesday. The other two I came across at the Lidl tasting earlier this week. I have tasted them before, but on this occasion they stood out amongst a sea of inexpensive wines. Spain is one of the few countries that continues to offer amazing value at less than €10.

luis-felile-edwards-gran-reserva-pinot-noirLuis Felipe Edwards Gran Reserva Family Selection Pinot Noir 2013

Herewith my lightening guide to the world of Pinot Noir, fast becoming the wine everybody wants to drink. Burgundy produces the most complex wonderful Pinot of all. The best are hideously expensive, the cheapest are very variable. New Zealand probably comes next with excellent wines at the top end and lovely fruit-filled wines at the cheaper end. The problem is the cheaper end is generally around €15.

Germany, next door to Burgundy, produces some fantastic elegant wines too, but again they tend to start at €15. Sadly the best value (as opposed to cheapest) wines from the three above mentioned areas generally cost between €20 and €30, with nothing drinkable at €10. Only Chile can deliver here. The above wine, a mere €10 from SuperValu and O’Donovan’s in Cork, is a very gluggable light wine with earthy dark cherry fruits. Great value too.

Image 2Lidl DO Tarragona Reserva 2010

Ever so cheap, this is a good soft sweet juicy crowd-pleasing red with no tannins and a decent amount of ripe red fruits.

Image 5Lidl DO Tarragona Gran Reserva 2009

This is older, smoother and a little oakier than the basic Lidl Tarragona. Soft, easy-drinking wine at an amazingly cheap price. Not sure I would pay the extra euro for this one, but either wine would be great with a casserole or grilled red meat on a wet winter evening.

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Last Minute Buys

First published in The Irish Times, 24th December, 2015

Haven’t got around to buying your Christmas wine yet? Below is a roundup of what is available, including some inexpensive wines that will keep the hordes happy. Also, a few more expensive wines for the man or woman who has everything.From O’Briens, the 1757 (€49.99), a Bordeaux blended by O’Briens wine buyer Lynne Coyle, is an excellent young, structured wine. Ideally, the recipient would decant it an hour before serving, or stash it away for a few years.At a more affordable level, I was very impressed by the latest vintage of Jaspi Negre, great value at €14.99. I have also written before about the excellent Begude Chardonnay Terroir 11300 (€17.99) – perfect for Christmas starters and turkey too.Moving down in price, an old favourite, the Rioja-ish Protocolo is back down at €9.99, where it competes with the delicious rounded Porta 6 at the same price. The sweetly fruity Côtes du Rhóne (€5.99 from Lidl) won’t set the world on fire, but it might keep a crowd content.I have written before about their very drinkable, soft, fruity Cepa Lebrel Rioja (€6.99) and the oakier Reserva from the same house at €8.99.

Lidl also has two keenly-priced Bordeaux. I enjoyed the leafy elegant Fiefs de Lagrange St Julien for €24.99 and the meaty, robust Prieur de Meyney St Estèphe (€19.99).Aldi have two nice sparkling wines, the Cremant de Jura for €10.79 and an impressive Champagne, the Monsigny Blanc de Blancs 2010 for €26.99. I was also taken with their Lot 07 Bush Vine Chenin Blanc (€13.99) and the Lot 10 Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon (€13.99).

If you need fizz, Tesco have their Finest Prosecco, made by Bisol, one of the top producers, for €15. From South Africa, they have a pair of very decent wines made by the Adi Badenhorst for €12. Both the Chenin Blanc and the Shiraz would do nicely for Christmas.I preferred Tesco’s Finest Rioja Crianza (€12) to the two more expensive Rioja Reservas. If you are having a large crowd, Tesco’s Finest Old Vine Garnacha (€9) is pleasant, juicy and warming. For a statement gift, Tesco’s Finest Barolo at €20 represents very good value.

To start your meal off, Dunnes Stores offer the Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc for €11 or the attractive Paco & Lola Albariño for €13. If you prefer lighter red wines, the Puy de Dome Le Pinot Noir (€13) offers light, juicy fruits at a bargain price, or the Domaine de Sainte-Marthe Syrah is a little richer, but equally good value at €10.50.I would consider the Cune Reserva 2011 (see below), or the excellent, structured, and well-priced Muga reserva for €19.50. If possible, decant the latter an hour before serving with turkey.If you need to buy a statement present, the Château Haut-Batailley 2005 (Dunnes, €55) is an excellent claret.

Moving on to SuperValu, you could start the Christmas dinner with either the easy-drinking and rounded Alchimie Coteaux du Giennois (€10) or for something a little unusual a Pinot Gris from Oregon; the Kings Ridge Pinot Gris (€15) has lovely melon and peach fruits with hints of honey.For an inexpensive Bordeaux, I would go for the light, rounded Château Camp de la Hire (€12), or if you want to splurge, the very tasty Charles Mignon Grand Cru Champagne for €45.

Marks & Spencer offers the delicious maturing Graham Beck Blanc de Blancs 2010 sparkling (€18.99). For something a little offbeat the Croatian Golden Valley Grasevina (€14.79) is excellent, and for a red wine, the fresh juicy Dolcetto d’Asti (€10.99) with its dark fruits is delicious.I am sure there will be last-minute bargains from all the major stores, but sadly they keep this a secret from wine writers until the last minute.

Image 5Jaspi Negre 2012, Monsant, Spain, 14.5%, €14.99
Sumptuous dark fruits with a fine minerality. An affordable present for the wine geek in your life.
Stockist: O’Briens

DSCF6246CUNE Rioja Reserva 2011 13.5%, €16
Delicious elegant Rioja with ripe dark cherry fruits, a smidgen of oak and a lovely finish. Christmas dinner sorted.
Stockists: Dunnes Stores

DSCF6258Charles Mignon Cuvée Comte de Marne Grand Cru NV, 12%, €45
An excellent Champagne with lightly floral aromas and creamy apple and brioche, finishing dry.
Stockists: SuperValu

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DSCF6261Carignan Premium Old Vines 2014, Côtes Catalanes

Carignan does not have a great reputation. In her book The Oxford Companion to Wine, Jancis Robinson says ‘it is high in everything – acidity, tannins, colour, bitterness – but finesse and charm.’ Yet this was once the most widely planted grape variety in the Languedoc-Roussillon, itself the biggest vineyard in the world. Why? Well because it gave a massive crop of grapes, which in a market not very interested in quality, meant economic success. Derided for years as barely drinkable, more recently a few producers have shown that old vines grown in good sites can produce amazingly good wine. Hence the Premium Old Vines title above. My own favourite is Domaine d’Aupilhac, available from the Wicklow Wine Company. The wine above is made from very ancient vines planted in the Roussillon, close to the Spanish border. It is deliciously simple and fruity, with a smooth finish. Perfect for large dinner parties where volume is required.

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