SuperValu’s French wine sale runs until 20th September, both online and in their stores. Here are a few of their wines which I’ve tried and can heartily recommend:
Domaine de Haut Bourg Muscadet Côtes De Grandlieu Sur Lie 2015 (12.0%, €12.99 down to €10.00 at SuperValu)
From the western reaches of the Loire, Muscadet is best known for somewhat neutral flavours and searing acidity – it’s the perfect match for oysters and other shellfish. However, the better vignerons in the area can produce something that offers much more. Based around the Lac de Grandlieu, the subregion of Muscadet-Côtes de Grandlieu was only established in 1994, almost 60 years after the generic appellation, and represents a fraction of total production.
This has initial notes of tropical fruit (though not over the top), with a touch of creaminess from the time on lees, followed by a long mineral finish. There’s plenty of acidity but it’s not at all austere. Try this instead of a Picpoul!
Domaine de Terres Blanches Coteaux Du Giennois Alchimie 2015 (13.0%, €14.99 down to €12.00 at SuperValu)
Coteaux du Giennois is a Sauvignon Blanc-only appellation close to the more famous Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé in the Loire’s central vineyards. Alchimie has been a favourite of mine over the past few vintages, and the 2015 is great. It’s all about the Gs: gooseberry, grapefruit and grass, appealingly fruity in the mouth. It’s definitely French Sauvignon (well this is the French wine sale after all!) but it’s accessible enough to appeal to fans of the grape grown in other countries.
La Vigne Des Sablons Vouvray 2015 (12.0%, €14.99 down to €12.00 at SuperValu)
Third Loire wine, third grape! Vouvray is Chenin Blanc country, and is one of the best places for the grape. Always with Chenin’s intrinsic acidity, it can be still or sparkling and range from austerely dry to very sweet. This version is just off dry – there’s a little residual sugar on the finish if you really look for it, but it’s more about apple fruitiness and balancing the fresh acidity than adding sweetness. At 12.0% the alcohol is fairly modest, which is probably no bad thing when it’s so damned drinkable!
Hommage Du Rhône Vinosobres 2015 (15.0%, €15.99 down to €12.00 at SuperValu)
Vinsobres is a little known name which is not surprising as it has only existed as an appellation in its own right since 2006. Before that it was part of the second tier of the Rhône wine pyramid as Côtes du Rhône Villages-Vinsobres which gives more of a clue as to its contents – mainly Grenache with support from Syrah and other local grapes.
Black fruit are to the fore: black cherry, blackberry and blackcurrant. While the southern Rhône is much more consistent from year to year than, say, Bordeaux or Burgundy, this is from the excellent 2015 vintage and it packs a punch at 15.0%! This is something to buy in the sale and drink on dark winter nights with a hearty stew.