Tesco wines sweep the board and win Own Label range of the year

It should be written in law, the Magnum Charter, that every weekend a girlie has to have a glass of bubbles. I know Prosecco is the “in thing” as far as sparklies go, but hey, a glass of Champers is still my sparkle of choice.

You can’t beat it, layers of flavours and aromas that you don’t get with a glass of simple-drinking Italian prosecco.

Tesco finest* Vintage Grand Cru Champagne (£24.99) has swept the board at the International Wine Challenge, winning both the IWC Great Value Sparkling Under £25 trophy and the IWC Great Value Champion Sparkling trophy.

It’s a delight, with fresh red apples and buttery brioche on the nose; a never-ending fizz and zesty apples to taste, with a dip of cream. It’s a blanc de blancs style, which means it is made entirely from Chardonnay grapes.

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The vintage champagne is just one of the Tesco wines that have led the way for the retailer this year. The IWC has awarded Tesco the title of Own Label Range of the Year to reflect that 98% of its wines won a medal in the 2015 competition. Its the fourth time in five years Tesco has won.

It would be rude of me not to try some of the other gold medal winners.

Tesco finest* special selection Amontillado (£6, 50cl) is great value for a champion sherry; it has a spicy nose of burnt sugar (think the crunch of crème brulee, but without the crème brulee), orange rind and walnuts, and to taste dried fruits with an uplifting finish. Sherry isn’t just for Christmas. Create a platter of hams, cheese, olives and pull-apart bread, sit outside and enjoy the flavours of Spain. (Once you’ve opened it, drink the sherry within seven days; don’t keep it for the carol singers).

Tesco finest* Chablis (£9.99) is a classic Chablis. Aromas of green fruits float above the wine, then to taste green apples balance on a knife edge. The soil in the region was once a seabed and fossilised oysters add a distinctive minerality which cuts through the wine and tingles the tastebuds. It also means this wine is great with seafood.

Tesco finest* Dessert Semillon (£6.79, 37.5cl) is one of my secret loves. This Australian sweet wine is a consistent winner for Tesco. Special growing conditions cause a “friendly” rot, noble rot, to change the grapes so they become raisiny on the vine. The resulting wine is, to me, one of life’s luxuries. This has citrus aromas, embraced by honey and peaches; to taste, apricots and a good burst of citrus which balances the sweetness.

Tesco finest* Sancerre (£11.99) is intense and can taste a bit too acidic if drunk on its own. But a cold, crisp glass sipped while I tucked into a plate of paella after a heavy day at work was a revelation. It had strong aromas of citrus fruit and the flavour worked well with the chicken and seafood.

Also in my glass

Some spritzy things low in price and low in alcohol. Sainsbury’s Winemakers Selection Elderflower Lime & Mint Fizz (£3, 4%abv) is a pretty mint green sparkle with a popper topper which makes it feel special. A brushed hedgerow of elderflower takes centre stage, lime adds a zesty spike, and mint finishes the flavour trio.

I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Perisecco® Cucumber (RRP £3.99,Tesco, 5.5%abv) is described as “delicate floral elderflower with a hint of cucumber”. Sweetness isn’t the word I’d use to describe elderflower or cucumber, but this was sweet.  Aromas of elderflower pop up but I struggled to find a hint of cucumber freshness.

Published in the saturday extra magazine August 8, 2015

Liverpool Echo – South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales – Huddersfield Examiner – The Chronicle, Newcastle – Teesside Evening Gazette – Birmingham  Mail – Coventry Telegraph – Paisley Daily Express