Best buys | Valpolicella Ripasso 2013 Cantina Valpantena

Best buys

Valpolicella Ripasso 2013 Cantina Valpantena

If you’re on holiday in the wilds of nowhere chances are your only shop - in the UK at least - is a Spar. I would at one point have said that spelled death to the chance of a decent bottle of wine but was recently sent a selection which really wasn’t half bad.

And the good news is that all are on promotion at one point or another in the next couple of weeks

The best - and the most expensive - is a 2013 Valpolicella Ripasso from Cantina Valpantena (13.5%) which is normally £10 but on promotion at £8 until August 20th. Ripassos are more intense and sweeter than basic valpolicellas - they chuck in the skins that are used for making amarone - so it’s more of a wine to drink with a steak or a stew or, better still, a cheeseboard than a plate of pasta but it would be just the thing for the sort of wet windy evening that is a regular feature of an English summer holiday.

Another good Italian buy, and the best white I tasted, was the Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi 2014 from the reliable Monte Shiavo (12.5%) which is currently £8 but goes down to £6.50 from August 21st. Ignore the naff curvy bottle - this is one of those immensely useful Italian whites that doesn’t taste of much but goes with practically everything, especially fishy pasta dishes. And is much, much nicer than your average pinot grigio.

I also thought the crisp, citrussy Castillo de la Mota Verdejo 2014 Rueda (12.5%) £7.50 reduced to £5.50 until 20/8 was decent. Another good one for seafood like fresh crab or, better still, fish and chips. You’ll like it if you’re a sauvignon blanc fan

And if you like Malbec - and who doesn’t these days? - try the M Malbec Pays d’Oc 2014 (13%) £7.50 but reduced to £6 from 21/8 which is a little soft for my taste but would still be a good drop with anything meaty. (I like their Argentinian one, the Rios de los Andes 2014 Argentinian Malbec less - it’s soupier still - but it’s only £6 at the moment and if it were the only one of the five available I would fall on it gratefully.)

These wines won’t, of course, be available in all Spar outlets - which may cause frustration but hopefully you’ll find at least one. With any luck the Valpolicella.

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