Tasting Events

Wine Review: Reds from the SuperValu French & German Wine Sale

The French and German wine sale continues at SuperValu. Here are some brief notes on a half dozen of the reds that I got to try:

Street Art Gamay Vin de France

Street Art Gamay Vin de France

Street Art’s Gamay is quite different from those of Beaujolais and the Loire. The grapes for this wine are from clay vineyards in Savoie which gives spice and fruit. In the winery the grapes are given a traditional fermentation rather than carbonic fermentation which is common in Beaujolais. In the glass this pours a light ruby with a purple rim. The nose shows lots of red black and blue fruits, pepper and spice. The palate is light, fruity, fun and fresh. There are some light tannins which give it a pleasing dry finish.

  • ABV: 12.5%
  • RRP: €8.00 down from €11.99
  • Source: sample
  • Stockists: SuperValu stores

Street Art Syrah Vin de France

Street Art Syrah Vin de France

The degree and a half additional alcohol mean that this wine has to be slightly more expensive due to Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) in Ireland. Is it worth a few more coppers than the Gamay? It’s certainly darker than the Gamay, though not quite inky black. The nose is full of deep black fruit, blackberry and blackcurrant, with a sprinkling of spice. The palate is rich and fruity, quietly powerful, not jammy. There’s just a tiny shake of tannins and touch of violets which round out the whole.

Stylistically, it’s somewhere between New Zealand and South African Syrah styles, i.e. there’s a great balance between fruit and savoury characteristics. This is an out and out delicious wine, and yes, for me it’s definitely worth the extra.

  • ABV: 14.0%
  • RRP: €8.30 down from €13.99
  • Source: sample
  • Stockists: SuperValu stores

Vignobles Vellas Max Lions Premium Grenache 2020

Max Lions Premium Grenache

The first offering from Vignobles Vellas is 100% Grenache noir, one of their star wines. It’s grown on similar terroir to their Medusa Viognier, i.e. mainly limestone, similar to Grenache’s heartland of the southern Rhône. It pours a deep ruby, with a purple rim showing its youth. It has an elegant, rich, expressive nose…strawberries from Wexford the Alps combine with hints of cinnamon and exotic spices. The palate is soft, rich and textured. This is definitely fruit-forward, but with a slightly savoury aspect which stops it from being merely jammy. This Grenache would do well with a barbecue – though it’s too late for that now in Ireland – or a hearty stew.

  • ABV: 14.5%
  • RRP: €10.00 down from €15.99
  • Source: sample
  • Stockists: SuperValu stores

Vignerons Catalans Signature Côtes du Roussillon Villages Tautavel 2018 

Vignerons Catalans Côtes de Roussillon Villages Signature Tautavel

Vignerons Catalans is the largest producers’ cooperative in Roussillon, with 1,500 growers over 15 different appellations. They sell 18 million bottles a year to 40 countries, so quite a significant operation. Similar to Côtes du Rhône Villages, the best villages can have their name added to the label.

Also known as French Catalonia, the region is emerging from the shadow of its neighbour the Languedoc. Wine varieties are broadly similar between the two regions: here the blend is Syrah, Grenache (Noir) and Carignan. In the glass it’s a mid ruby red, somewhat lighter than I expected for a Syrah blend. The nose is quite heady, with black fruits and spice. In the mouth this is a smooth and spicy wine, with tangy black fruits and vanilla. It’s not all fruit, though, as there are some savoury black olive (from the Syrah) and earthy (from the Carignan) notes in there as well, and some gentle tannins on the finish.

This is quite an accomplished wine, relatively approachable for a glass with friends yet with enough guts to drink with autumn and winter dishes.

  • ABV: 14.0%
  • RRP: €10.00 down from €15.99
  • Source: sample
  • Stockists: SuperValu stores

Vignobles & Compagnie Les Combelles Côtes du Rhône-Villages 2021

Les Combelles Côtes du Rhône Villages Rouge

Speak of the devil, here’s a Côtes du Rhône-Villages for you. As part of their sustainablility promise, Vignobles & Compagnie plant a tree for every six bottles bought. Is this a worthwhile initiative or just a marketing gimmick? Leave a comment to let me know what your view is!

Unusually for a CdRV this is a Syrah-dominant blend, with 40% being Grenache. In colour it’s a little darker than the Catalan wine above, with purple flecks. The nose has bright red and black fruits, with spices, herbs and hints of cedarwood getting in on the act. The palate is powerful but elegant, spicier than I’d expect from this AOC – but that’s down to the high proportion of Syrah. This wine is long and sappy in the mouth and the alcohol is balanced with the red and black fruits – strawberry, raspberry and blackberry – balanced in turn by savoury notes and fine tannins.

  • ABV: 14.0%
  • RRP: €10.00 down from €15.99
  • Source: sample
  • Stockists: SuperValu stores

Vignobles Vellas I’m The Boss Cahors Malbec 2020

Vignobles Vellas I'm The Boss Cahors Malbec

This wine wears its heart on its sleeve – in several ways. The branding is fun, but also hints at what kind of wine it is – big and bold! If you weren’t familiar with Cahors Malbec then the message is delivered in full. Being from the 2020 vintage this is still young, and that is reflected in its deep purple colour. The nose is all about dark black fruits: blackberry, blackcurrant and prunes, plus some spice and earthiness.

The palate has the same sensibility: it’s thick and round, big on the fruit and fairly big on the tannins too. If this wine thinks its the boss, I’d love to see a showdown with a big hunk of dry-aged ribeye to see who the victor is. I’m volunteering to be the judge…anyone else?

  • ABV: 14.5%
  • RRP: €15.00 down from €22.99
  • Source: sample
  • Stockists: SuperValu stores

Conclusion

These wines vary in price from €8 to almost double at €15, and in my humble opinion the quality is good for the price. I recommend trying all of these wines if you are so inclined, but my personal preferences are influenced by my love for Syrah, so the Street Art Syrah and Côtes du Rhône-Villages are the ones I’d prioritise.

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