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12 wines you probably wouldn’t expect to find in Marks & Spencer
If you’re an adventurous drinker who likes to try new wines it’s well worth heading for your local branch of Marks & Spencer especially right now (August 2015) when they have 25% off if you buy six bottles.
Just as they’re pushing the boundaries when it comes to their food range they stock some really unusual wines - at a very good price. Here are 12 that took my fancy - but take note, some are only available in a limited number of branches and some seem to be out of stock (hopefully temporarily) online. You also need to buy two 6 bottle cases to get the 25% discount online
Lambrusco Secco Reggiano 11% 235 stores £9.00 down to £6.75
Forget the sweet, pissy lambrusco you drank as a student: this is dark, red and frothy, the real deal. There’s also a less common still version, the 2014 Reggiano Rosso (12% in 437 stores £6 down to £4.50) I recommend in the Guardian today. Both would be great with Italian salumi and cheeses.
Penedes Xarel.lo 2014 12.5% 145 stores £10 down to £7.50
Basically this is a still Cava - a light fresh summery Spanish white that would make great summer party drinking. (OK Cava is cheaper but it’s worth trying something new! You should also try the Fresquito dry Pedro Ximenez I made my wine of the week the other day)
Tikves Smederevka Rkaciteli, Macedonia 14/15 12% 173 stores £7 down to £5.25
One of the advantages of buying wines in a supermarket is that you can just pull them off the shelves rather than have ask for them. I certainly have no idea how to pronounce this but it's a lovely light fragrant white that would be great with mezze.
Atlantis Santorini 2013 13% 217 stores £10.50 down to £7.88
The Greek island of Santorini produces some show-stopping white wines from the local assyrtiko grape. This is a great example - perfect for grilled fish
Tbilvino Qvevris 2012 11.5% 191 stores £9 down to £6.75
If you’ve heard people talk about ‘orange’ wines here’s a chance to try one at an affordable price. They’re made like red wines so they’re quite strong-tasting and tannic - despite the low alcohol. Drink with middle eastern or Moroccan food such as a tagine or with alpine-style cheeses like Comté
Savoie Blanc ‘Coeur Terroir’ 2014 11% 216 stores £9 down to £6.75
Another unusual wine, this time from the Savoie region of France. Really light, really crisp, deliciously fragrant. M & S suggests cheese and herb tarts as a food match which would be a great pairing. Otherwise think shellfish and salads.
Dominio del Plata by Susana Balbo Terroir Series Torrontes 2014 14% 189 stores £9.50 down to £7.13
Torrontes is Argentina’s main white wine variety - a highly aromatic white that you’l love if you’re a gewurztraminer fan. Susana Balbo is one of the best producers and Salta the best region. Delicious with ceviche and other bright citrus-spiked salads.
Mesta Organic Old Vine Tempranillo 2014 14% 252 stores £8 down to £6
A bright modern juicy Spanish red I recommended for barbecues in the Guardian last weekend. Delicious.
Red on Black 2013, Nemea, Greece 13.5% 206 stores £9 down to £6.75 N/A online.
An exciting dark, spicy red from the local agiorgitiko grape. Perfect for grilled lamb and exotic middle-eastern stews.
Recanati Carignan Petite Sirah 2013, Israel 13.5% 158 stories £10 down to £7.50
In a similar vein to the above but a touch riper and juicier so it might appeal more if you’re more of a new world wine fan. Again perfect for grilled meats and bright Ottolenghi-ish salads.
Pisano Cisplatino Tannat 2014 13% 200 stores £9 down to £6.75
If you’re a Malbec aficionado you should definitely try this lush full-bodied red from Uruguay. Looks - and tastes - far more expensive than it is, especially at this price.
Hush Heath Manor Pinot Noir 2014 12% 20 stores and online £18 down to £13.50
I hesitated whether to include this as it’s more expensive and only available in 20 branches but it’s thrilling to find that England can produce such a fine, silky elegant pinot. A must-try if you can get hold of a bottle (it is fortunately also available online) Make your friends taste it blind and guess where it comes from!
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