Marks and Spencer Vin de Pays du Gers 2013

GERSMarks and Spencer. On Special €8.79-25%=€6.59.

Hailing from the warm, Mediterranean-influenced area of southwest France, this M&S bottling received a Commendation in last year’s Decanter Wine Awards, and it fully deserved it.  Classed as an IGP wine and made from the Colombard and Ugni blanc grapes, better known for Armagnac production, this relatively humble wine is the best value bottle I have had this year.

Unoaked, this wine is full of fresh zesty fruit on the nose- young green apples, citrus fruits and a hint of peach and pear.  And this follows through on the mouth.  Light to medium bodied, it has a lovely refreshing, crisp acidity.  Green apple, red grapefruit and gooseberry hit on first taste, followed by a more mellow finish that hints at peach and pear.

This is a fabulous, Summer wine (particularly at the €6.59 I paid) that should be drunk young and served well chilled.  Pairs beautifully with crisp Summer salad or baked fish.

Highly Recommended.

Home Ranch Pinot Noir 2009

PinotMarks and Spencer. On Special €16.00-25%= €12.00.

Although this wine retails at slightly over my Weekday Wine limit, I tend to bulk buy my wines in Marks and Spencers when they offer 25% off six bottles, so this Californian Pinot Noir was only €12.  Made by the respectable Hahn Winery of Monterey, this came highly recommended, so I was really looking forward to trying this wine.

Monterey claims to be the first scientifically identified location for viticulture, when a 1935 study recommended it as being comparable to the premium areas of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Sonoma and Napa.  It wasn’t until the 1960’s, however, that the area began producing top quality wines and despite being voted as Wine Enthusiast’s top wine destination in 2013, you can find wines from Monterey that won’t burn a hole in your wallet- more than can be said of near-neighbours, Napa Valley and Sonoma County.  As well as this, the 2009 vintage was one of the best of the decade, so was very hopeful that Hahn Winery had plenty of good fruit for this M&S bottling.

So, as you can tell, I was looking forward to this wine, keeping my fingers crossed for a rare Pinot Noir bargain.  Rusty orange in the glass, the nose was full of ripe bramble fruit, as well as vanilla, nutmeg and hints of lavender and violets.  It was obvious from the nose, as well as the 14.5% alcohol, that this was not going to be a restrained, refined Burgundian style Pinot.  Instead it was heaving with fully ripened fruit and heavy oak.  If the winery can control this fully ripened fruit, it can produce a fantastic expression of Pinot Noir.  Unfortunately this wine was out of balance in the glass.

Medium-to-full bodied, the heavy bramble fruit, vanilla and spice followed through on the mouth, but unfortunately so did the heavy alcohol.  After lovely primary notes, the alcohol simply takes over and that is all that remains for the length.  Shame, because it was very close to being a real bargain find.

This wine is not one of Marks and Spencer’s best value wines at full price, but certainly not plonk by any stretch.

Tesco Finest* Stellenbosch Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Stellen   Tesco €11.50.

 

With New Zealand rightly taking most of the plaudits as the global standard for Sauvignon Blanc, it is easy to overlook other quality New World areas for this grape.  Stellenbosch is certainly one of the areas deserving of more attention, and this is a terrific example of what this grape can offer.

On the nose it is very inviting- full of fresh green grass and pea pod.  Passion and other tropical fruits start the mouth to water, and it doesn’t disappoint on the tongue either.  Those lovely fresh tropical fruits and hint of citrus and gooseberries give a wonderful freshness.  There is a lovely balance of acidity and fruit, alongside a medium body.  Good length of fresh and citrus fruits overlying some minerality.

This is a terrific wine and is on special at the moment in Tesco at €11.50. Very highly recommended and will be high on my list for a few bottles the next time the Tesco 25% Off Six Bottles sale comes around.