Wine columnist Rose Murray Brown picks ten great wines for you to try from the Co-op

Supermarkets are all vying for our attention when it comes to wine deals, but one seems to like keeping a low profile when it comes to promoting its wine range – the Co-op.

A quick glance at the website gives you barely a handful of wines in each style – and no prices to tempt as they do not sell online. When you pop into a branch of this convenience store you find a muddled shelf listing of just a smattering of their range, often different in each store. So you might be surprised to hear that the Co-op actually has 326 wines in their range – and some of them are rather good.
The Co-op wine team are keen to change our perception of their wines, starting this month with a sparkling new line-up of promotions – and to highlight this they have done a bit of research on champagne drinking, which will be of particular interest to Scottish readers.
In their recent UK-wide survey across the Co-op branches, two Scottish cities came out on top in the whole country as the biggest buyers of champagne in their stores. Aberdeen – despite plummeting oil prices – came out first, closely followed by Glasgow. In third place was Brighton, followed by Newcastle, Nottingham, south-west London, Plymouth, Sheffield, Warrington and …Paisley.
To celebrate this – and the forthcoming new royal baby – the Co-op have cut the price of their very drinkable own label non-vintage Champagne Les Pionniers to £16.99 until 28 April – with both their prosecco and vintage cava also slashed in price, reduced to £6.99 each.
When you hear this news you might think that the Co-op would be heading down the cheap and cheerful route. However – like Aldi and Lidl – the Co-op are also keen to try to go upmarket to attract a new clientele. The Co-op have also managed to keep some interesting wines on their new list, like one of my favourite white Bordeaux, delicious dry white Clos Floridene 2011, a blend of sauvignon blanc/semillon/muscadelle from the Graves region at £17.99 bt.
The frustrating thing is actually tracking down certain bottles in your local Co-op store.

SPARKLING WINES
CORDONIU GRAN CREMANT BRUT CAVA 2012
Region: Penedes, Spain
Price: £6.99
Alcohol level: 12 per cent
This is rather creamy and a pretty good buy as a vintage cava at under £7. Snap it up to celebrate the start of summer.
STAR VALUE BUY

CHAMPAGNE LES PIONNIERS BRUT NV
Region: Champagne, France
Price: £16.99

Alcohol level: 12 per cent

You can get cheaper champagne in other supermarkets, but this passes muster with its proper biscuity aromas and creamy palate. There is a touch of hard green apple fruit mid-palate but it is pretty good for this price (unless Tesco Premier Cru is on offer, of course).

THE CO-OPERATIVE PROSECCO
Region: Veneto, Italy
Price: £6.99
Alcohol level: 11 per cent
I didn’t rate this quite as highly as their champagne, but it’s perfectly pleasant and acceptable, a light sparkler made from the glera grape.

DRY WHITE WINES
PINOT GRIGIO/KIRALYLEANYKA 2013
Region: Neszmely, Hungary
Price: £4.79
Alcohol level: 11 per cent
I rated this 6 out of 10 – there is nothing wrong with it, it’s just not very exciting and I was hoping for a little more aroma and spice from the popular indigenous Hungarian grape, kiralyleanyka. Note the moderate alcohol at 11 per cent which makes it a very palatable summer lunch quaffer.

TRULY IRRESISTIBLE PICPOUL DE PINET 2013
Region: Languedoc, Southern France
Price: £6.99
Alcohol level: 12 per cent
For those who like a ‘lip-stinger’ this is very good for the price. It does have the characteristic sharp acid, but makes a more than acceptable aperitif
or mussels match.
STAR VALUE BUY
ROSÉ
LA VIEILLE FERME ROSE 2014
Region: Rhone, France
Price: £5.99
Alcohol level: 12.5 per cent
Made by the Perrin brothers who own the famous Chateau de Beaucastel in Chateauneuf du Pape. Fruit for this blend of cinsault, grenache and syrah comes from the Ventoux. Fresh, fruity and very quaffable – another good buy at under £6.

RED WINES
CORTE MAYOR RIOJA CRIANZA 2010 Baron de Ley
Region: Rioja, Spain
Price: £9.99
Alcohol level: 13 per cent
I found this disappointing. I think there are better rioja buys at £9.99, to be honest. I have spotted that Co-op have a different rioja (valido) on special price in April at £5.99 so try that instead.

TRULY IRRESISTIBLE CASABLANCA VALLEY PINOT NOIR
Region: Casablanca Valley, Chile
Price: £7.99
Alcohol level: 14 per cent
I tasted Co-op’s light herby Chilean pinot noir alongside Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Casablanca pinot noir. I much preferred the Sainsbury’s offering, which had more character and complexity.

MONTGRAS SPECIAL SELECTION CARIGNAN SYRAH 2012
Region: Colchagua Valley, Chile
Price: £6.79
Alcohol level: 14 per cent
The Co-op do a couple of good wines from Chilean winery Montgras. I prefer their carmenere, but this is better value this month.

TRULY IRRESISTIBLE CHINON 2012
Region: Loire, France
Price: £9.99
Alcohol level: 13.5 per cent
Domaine de la Noblaie in the Loire Valley has made a rather irresistible cabernet franc for the Co-op. It’s not the leafy raw examples we usually find from this appellation under supermarket labels – but succulent, ripe and rather good. Serve lightly chilled as a summer red.
BEST BUY

• Join Rose’s Volcanic Wine Tasting at 28 Queen Street, Edinburgh, Wednesday 17 June, £40,
www.rosemurraybrown.com

 

About The Author

Rose Murray Brown

Rose Murray Brown is one of only 323 Masters of Wine worldwide and is the only one to host wine courses and regular wine tastings in Scotland.

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