Sainsbury’s basics red wine: for the table not the cellar
I have to say that didn’t approach this week’s post with any great enthusiasm. Tasting the very cheapest wine you can find is not entirely my idea of fun, especially when you are buying them in the UK. Searching the shelves of J.Sainsbury, one of the UK’s largest supermarkets and our nearest store unearthed a few basic wines.
These wines are quite far removed from David’s post on 29th February 2016: Vin de France : une catégorie trop souvent ignorée for the simple reason that the UK’s high excise tax regime means that none of the world’s best selling branded wines are cheap. Following this year’s budget the excise duty and VAT (TVA) on a 75cl bottle of wine is effectively £2.50 – £2.08 (tax) + 20% VAT. So selling a bottle of wine for less than £4 is a real challenge – by the time you factor in packaging, transport plus the supermarket’s profit there is little left to pay for the wine.
This means that all of these best sellers that David cited are well north of £5. So what did I find for less than £4 that wasn’t either without alcohol or alcohol-lite, which attract less duty as this is calculated on the level of alcohol? I give you Sainsbury’s basics red wine that comes in a squidgy plastic bottle with plastic cap and will set you back £3.65. Basics red wine comes from Spain and has 10.5% alcohol. The package is remarkably unattractive – either designed by a fervent prohibitionist or Sainsbury’s really would prefer you to trade up to a wine with a better margin….
It has light, greenish fruit that is slightly reminiscent of the old gros rouge but in a more modern style. Rightly or wrongly it stirs memories of a night in May 1966 I spent in a wood near Bruges at the start of a three month European adventure accompanied by a cheap and rough bottle of red wine.
Paying 35p more moves you onto Sainsbury’s House Red Wine (£4) in a glass screwcapped bottle . This also comes from Spain but has 12% alcohol and is made from a blend of Tempranillo, Monastrell and Grenache. Both of these reds are bottled by J. Garcia Carrion in Ciudad Real. The House Red has sweeter but rather confected fruit, greater texture. Two dimensional I might well use it for cooking but this is far from what got me interested in wine.
Pierre-Jacques Druet, a bottle of Bourgueil Rosé
and Marc Vanhellemont: 1st February 2011
celebrating the first anniversary of Les 5 du Vin
It was sad to learn last week that Pierre-Jacques had gone bust. It is never good to learn that a talented producer has run into financial problems but Pierre-Jacques going into liquidation is particularly poignant for Les 5 du Vin as he rather unwittingly acted as midwife for this blog. Actually to be rather more precise it was a bottle of his very individual rosé that facilitated the birth of Les 5 du Vin. It was an easy birth at a lunch in the press office at the 2010 edition of Salon des Vins de Loire over a glass or so of Druet’s rosé shared by Michel Smith, Hervé Lalau, Jacques Berthomeau and Marc Vanhellemont. I was seated at another table and on my way out to starting tasting again I was invited to join the putative blog – I agreed even though I didn’t have even a sip of Pierre-Jacques Bourgueil Rosé.
Pierre-Jacques made some excellent Bourgueils as well as a Chinon. Tasting with him was a fascinating and long drawn out process but definitely worth it even though it meant calculating how late one would be for the next producer rendezvous. I fear his commercial acumen and organisational skills didn’t match his winemaking talents. Very sad!
April frost – fingers crossed!
As I finish this post a number of Loire producers will be passing an anxious night with frost forecast overnight with temperatures falling to -2˚-3C in the small hours of the morning. It is ironic that after a very mild winter with almost no frost that April frosts may well strike once again. Fingers crossed!