I have to be quick to keep up with the ever-changing selection of wines on our High Streets and when I catch up with some wine ranges I wish I hadn’t.
But the newly-released Spar wines have had people talking. I gave a nod to The Alphabet Series Pinot Noir at Christmas and it is one of my absolute favourites in the new range. It also received multiple thumbs-ups when I shared it in a wine-tasting. I didn’t say where the wine was from or how much it was (£6, actually) until I’d scouted for opinions around the room. There were lots of “oooohs” when the pinot noir’s identity was revealed.
What’s appertaining then. Spar has set itself a mission to make choosing wine simpler for its customers and has begun its journey with the release of five entry level wines for £5 and, in the level above, there are a dozen varietal Spar wines in an Alphabet Series at £6 each.
One of the drivers behind the range is Master of Wine Philippa Carr who definitely has the “people touch”. When Philippa was at Asda she developed the Wine Atlas range which brings lesser-known, tasty, varietal wines to the high street shelves (many of them for about a fiver).
Philippa strikes again – together she and the Spar team have created a wine range definitely worth a look.
At a pocket-friendly price you’d be a fool not to seek out these Spar wines; and with a couple of thousand stores across the country it shouldn’t be too difficult. They’re jolly decent wines at the price. Here’s six of them.
Spar wines: Three Fruity Everyday wines
Bold Red (£5, 13% abv) is a Spanish wine made from 100 percent tempranillo, the grape at the heart of rioja. This wine has been aged for two months in American oak and despite its name, isn’t deep and gloopy. It is a medium-bodied red with a good nose of jammy fruits and a refreshing fruit flavour with just a hint of spice.
Fresh Rosé (£5, 11.5% abv) is another offering from Spain, cerise in colour from Bobal grapes and has pretty aromas of strawberry and citrus with flavours reflecting much the same.
Fruity White (£5 13% abv) This is a simple South African white, billed as “smooth and mellow”, made from chenin blanc. It’s a kitchen party pourer; not much else to say other than it is an acceptable white at the price to bring out when you need a cheery cheep chink chink!!
Spar wines: Three wines from the Alphabet Range
Pinot Grigio Rosé (£6, 11.5% abv) is in the Alphabet Series and for a £1 extra offers more of a pink sensation thank the Fresh Rosé . Call me a pinot grigio snob, but when I see the grape on a label I always sigh “oh, well, if I must”. But I really enjoyed this pink from Romania which has aromas of pear, stone fruit and fresh red fruits. It was tasty too.
Sauvignon Blanc (£6, 12% abv) New Zealand’s sauvignon blanc wines have set the tone for many people who enjoy this grape. Spar has sourced its grapes from the Languedoc region of France so you don’t get the punchy fruit notes of a New World version, but a gentler rolling style with citrus and apples. I tasted with a midweek cheese pie; very nice.
Malbec (£6, 13% abv) This Alphabet Series varietal is sourced from its homeland of France, despite Argentina making the grape its own in recent years. Try this wine with a weekend warming casserole after your toes have chilled from a football match or a dog walk. It has soft dark and red fruits and hints of chocolate.
First published in over 30 Trinity Mirror regional newspapers including:
Hull Daily Mail – Leicester Mercury – Cambridge News –
Liverpool Echo – South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales
– Huddersfield Examiner – The Chronicle, Newcastle
– Teesside Gazette – Birmingham Mail –
Coventry Telegraph – Paisley Daily Express