There’s no Tesco round my way and as I’m senza auto there is no way for me to get my mits on the hundreds of wines on sale at the UK’s number 1 supermarket (I could use their online service but I’m a real techno-phobe).
This weekend I went all the way up to the northern extremities of England to the fine town of Durham and spent about an hour perusing the wines of their double-decker Tesco in Belmont, Dragonville.
What a weird and pitiful selection of wines! There must have been close to 1000 different wines on sale and to give them their dues, Tesco did try to make sure all countries/varietals were covered, even if it was just barely. If you like your Australian Shiraz you are in luck with over 30 different bottles to choose from. If you like the wines of Alsace, well, there are three, one Riesling, one Gewürztraminer and one Pinot Gris. Hmmmmmmm. Let’s be very clear, Tesco is no friend of the wine lover. The buying arm at Tesco is a joke as far as representing the wonderful and varied world of wine goes but does so much better when it comes to their own “selection”, that is wines that have been bottled for Tescos. Someone up in head office clearly cares about which wines get TESCO slapped on them, perhaps this is a deliberate ploy so you eventually ditch the Gallo and shop Tescos own brand and believe me, you really should.
This weekend I sampled 7 wines from Tesco and of these 7 I can recommend only two as decent QPR, and both these two are Tesco’s own label. In their own special ways they were all a disappointment but some were more upsetting than others, some were eye poppingly tannic and unbalanced, some were an affront to my nostrils and taste buds whereas others were better being only slightly offensive but at least cheap. Now of course, Tesco is a huge company and these are but 7 wines so I can’t call this a representative sample, there’s a chance I picked out the worse wines on sale as much as it’s possible that Tesco plain sucks. So here it goes, my Magnificent Seven from Tesco.
Tesco Finest Alsace Gewurztraminer – BUY – £6.99
A golden yellow in the glass with a rich and spicy nose, a touch of sweetness mimicking a cheap champagne with hints of apple. A mid-bodied, off dry wine with good fruit on the palate. A simple and straightforward Gewurztraminer but representative of the grape and the region. Really drinkable. 86 Points
Tim Adams The Aberfeldy 2005 – PASS – £25
The darkest of dark purples with an instantly aromatic nose; rich and opulent. Super oakey but fruit detectable including blackcurrants and blueberries. The initial attack was a bit tame but within 3 seconds you have a mouth filling and tannic fruit bomb with a long and pleasant finish. This wine is not to my personal tastes but clearly well made and will please the Aussie Shiraz fan. Over-extracted, oakey and too tannic to be enjoyed alone. This is a well made wine that should be enjoyed with food or left for a good few years to shed its puppy fat. 89 Points
Tesco Marques De Carano Gran Reserva 2001 – BUY – £8.99
A smouldering dark purple with an orange tint on the rim. Nose of cherries and raspberries. On the palate dry and puckering holding some good fruit too. Nice length on the finish, a pleasant wine, well balanced and very fruit forward. 88 Points
La Grande Classique Corbieres 2006 – PASS – £9.99
Mid bodied, perfectly purple wine with a cherried nose putting me in mind of Ciliegiolo. A very fruity uncomplicated wine, a touch off balance and acidic but smooth. Watery and forgettable finish, uninspiring but not offensive. 85 Points
Camp de Borja Old Vine Garnacha 2005 – PASS – £3.99
No light is getting through this deepest of purple wines. A ridiculously tight nose that eventually gives hints of blackberries and oak. Unpleasantly tannic on the palate, unbalanced and raisined, too intensely flavoured. Full bodied trash wine. 72 Points
Leitz Riesling Spatlese 2005 – PASS – £12
Cloying, teeth on cotton wool cloying wine. Golden in the glass, a mid bodied sweet wine that on the palate put me in mind of some kind of medicine both in texture and taste. Great for a cough, delicate with a lingering finish. 81 Points.
Villa Cafaggio Chianti Classico 2006 – PASS – £12
Dark ruby red in the glass with a typical and pleasing Chianti nose, all cherries, vanilla and a touch of spice. Then it all goes horribly wrong. Strikingly acidic, but firm tannins and generous mouth feel lacking in fruit at this stage, nothing much on the mid palate, disappearing on the finish. What happened? 84 Points
Well, 1000 calories, £75 and a bleached red sink later it’s safe to say I’ll be sticking to Waitrose for my supermarket options. I do like Tesco’s Tiger bread though :D, please don’t ban me from your stores.
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Which supermarket do you rate for wine if any? Tried any of these wines? Fan of Tesco?