M&S has always been a little highbrow. Especially around its wine section. Tesco’s too can be a little prissy and precious in that area. Now Aldi’s, Morrison’s and the Co-op are becoming rather pretentious places with cauliflower florets aficionados and connoisseurs of reduced mince are now mixing with an increasing number of knowledgeable oenologists.
The International Wine Challenge, the world’s most influential, impartial and rigorously judged wine competition, has just announced its annual winners, many of which are available to buy from supermarkets
Out of the eighteen prestigious Great Value Award winners fourteen ware supermarket own-label wines. Tesco did the best with four own-brand wines including the Tesco Finest Tingleup Riesling 2021 for £9.00. Morrisons and Marks & Spencer were close behind with three wines each including Morrison’s The Best Marqués de los Ríos Rioja Gran Reserva 2012 for £12.00 and Marks & Spencer’s Graham Beck ‘The Rhona’ Brut Rosé for £14.00.
‘The International Wine Challenge takes the guesswork out of shopping for wine. Looking out for IWC stickers when choosing wine gives consumers confidence in their choices, knowing that skilled expert palates have highlighted the very best the wine world has to offer’, said Helen McGinn, one of the six Co-Chairs of the International Wine Challenge.
Other winners include Waitrose’s Paul Mas Languedoc Blanc ( £9.899) Asda’s Extra Special Marques Norte Rioja Grand Riserva 2015 and Morrison’s The Best Etienne Leclair Brute Champagen (£20)
The independent Naked Wines portfolio was recognised with wines like Rod Easthope Level 185 Hawkes Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2021, and Benjamin Darnault Roussillon Villages 2021
In the hypermarket chain category Tesco’s won 123 across the Gold, Silver, Bronze and Commended categories.
Of the seven Gold Medals awarded to own-label wines, five went to fortified wines, ith Morrisons The Best Oloroso, Waitrose & Partners Nº1 Manzanilla Pasada El Benito and Tesco Finest Pedro Ximénez all receiving Golds. Tesco boasted Gold Medal wins for its Tesco Vermouth Rosso and the Tesco Finest 10 Year Old Tawny Port.
For the best cellar door buy, Sussex-based producer Artelium won the English White Trophy. Vineyard manager Chris Buckley and winemaker Owen Elias are responsible for Artefact #2 Barrel-Aged Chardonnay produced from the vineyard’s first harvest in Streat in 2020.
The only Gold Medal for a still red wine went to Devon’s Lyme Bay Winery for its Pinot Noir 2020. Kent was the most successful county with 30 medals, claiming the Vintage English Sparkling Trophy for the Gusbourne Exclusive Release 2018. Oxfordshire’s Wyfold Vineyard Rose 2017, which was the only English sparkling rosé to be crowned Gold as well as Ansty in Sussex’s Highweald Brut Reserve, which received the coveted English Sparkling and the Non Vintage trophies.
Says mistress of wine Sam Caporn MW, who works with the Aldi wine club : “The best bargain supermarket wines may well be found lower on the shelves. By using the ‘sort by’ tool on the Aldi UK website you can find the cheapest wines and the ‘highest rating’ wines. Which is a good formula for a bargain.”
For reasonably priced good wines don’t stray too far from the IWC.