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This time a year ago, I was doing the final tweaks to the first ever issues of Josh’s Wine List. In it, I set out a brief mission:
There’s hundreds of millions of wine lovers out there, but only a few dozen thousand with qualifications in it.
From the get go, I wanted this weekly email to be a way to bridge that gap. Only you readers can be the ones who judge how effective I have been in doing that. As ever: please, please, please, email me back and let me know how I can improve.
What’s the one thing I could do differently that would make this better?
This week, I’m featuring a few of the Tesco Spring/Summer ‘19 collection in Taste and answering another readers question in Learn.
No wine visits this week, but I was extremely excited to receive a bottle of Biddenden’s 2018 gamay noir. I’ve not sampled it yet, but as a huge lover of gamay from Beaujolais, I can’t wait to dig into this.
Tesco’s Finest Pecorino 2018 (£7) has a rich body, a grapefruit aroma, and a great acidy backbone that makes this great value.
If you want something with a greater depth of aroma characteristics, the Finest Viñas del Rey Albariño 2018 from Tesco (£8.50) is zesty and fresh with great aromas of stone fruits, honey, apples and a touch of citrus.
At £12, the Finest Viré-Clessé 2016 is Tesco’s best-value white Burgundy. This is a rounded, buttery welcome of peach and pear, with a long and elegant finish.
If Chablis is your thing, head for the £15 Tesco Premier Cru 2016 over the £12 2017. The Premier Cru really raises the bar for just £3 more.
Chardonnay from the New World comes alive with the Tesco Finest Gisbourne Chardonnay 2017 from New Zealand. At just £9, this really is a steal. Here, tropical fruits gel with oaky richness and body wonderfully; the palate comes alive.
Of the Tesco reds, the Finest Mercurey 2016 (£14), is a remarkably good, cheap French pinot. Brambles and cherries, tart but refreshing.
Another strong New Zealand wine shining through in Tesco Finest Central Otago Pinot 2017 (£13) which is incredibly generous with flavour, body and length.
The Tesco Finest Faugères 2018 was so silky and velvety that I was amazed to discover there’s no residual sugar at all. You can pick a bottle of this up for £9.00.
Tesco Finest GSM (£9) is a steal from South Australia. This is meaty with chewy tannins that help bite through the richness of body here. If southern French/Spanish/Italian reds are your thing, give this a go immediately.
How do you choose a vineyard to visit on holiday?
I don’t know about you, but I often want to visit a vineyard that’s got the best wine, or history, or both. I don’t want to visit the vineyard with the best search results or highest rank for ‘great wine tour experiences packages five stars’ on TripAdvisor. Or at least not necessarily. This too was a question I was posed this week.
When we went to Provence last year, we had the same question.
My starting point was to dig into some wine reviews of the area. I used Jancis’ database to filter by Provence and then dig into the reds only. I then read through countless reviews, finding wines I thought I’d like to try.
Then it’s a case of emailing the vineyards and seeing if they accept tours. We were a group of 10 last year so that’s always worth checking. (10 English trying to visit often seems to signal to a vigneron, that it might be worth remembering that you and your family are away all week - no, until the end of the month).
Speaking the local language helps – in France, especially. If you’re relying on English-speaking, be prepared for less choice. Say you’re looking to visit, taste their recent wines, and hear about the history of the vineyard.
If all that seems like a bit too much work, then a website like Winerist, helps specifically with things like this.