Le Froglet Rose wine review

Step forward M&S in the search for 50cl wine bottles

I AM very pleased  to announce that my  wine column has  a reader – and one prepared to put pen to paper for me.

He writes: “My wife and I like to share a bottle of wine. We  like to stick to the   combined daily healthy limit of around six units. This corresponds almost exactly to a 50cl wine bottle, whilst  75cl  contains nine units or more. I am sure you understand how difficult it is to leave that final third untouched.”

Indeed I do, Mr Reader. The point is, he’s challenging more retailers to supply 50cl wine.

There are various reasons why you may want to buy 50cl wine –  either midweek  to avoid the temptation of a full bottle, or for fewer alcohol units.

I asked some questions – and discovered that Marks & Spencer appears to offer the best range.

Andrew Bird, M&S Head of Trading, Drink, explains: “The range came from customer research showing that for many couples a full 75cl bottle was a little too much to drink in one go, yet they were unwilling to re-stopper the wine in case they didn’t come back to it for several days (not to mention that the wine might have lost freshness).

“We also liked the fact that the 50cl size allowed us to sell really good wines from quality producers at a lower price than the 75cl equivalent – such as a good claret for under £5 or a great Sancerre for under £8 – and we thought it might be an innovative way to introduce customers to higher quality wines.

Le Froglet Rose wine review
Le Froglet Rose

“The one inescapable fact is that a 50cl wine bottle, the stopper, the label and the cost of putting it down the bottling line all cost the same as the 75cl equivalent. Even though the bottle uses less glass, it is a relatively unusual size so the glass manufacturers do charge more.

“It can be difficult to sell the product at exactly two-thirds of the price of a 75cl bottle, which is perhaps why other retailers don’t really try. At M&S we think it’s worth investing a little to allow customers to have the extra choice – after all we’ve sold small 25cl bottles very successfully for many years.”

Here are some 50cl wine options

Châteauneuf-du-Pape les Closiers  2009 (£11.99). A famous blend from  southern Rhône. This one has  grenache, syrah, mourvèdre and cinsault  at its heart.  It has ripe fruits  on the nose with a fleck of white pepper and  soft, rounded  red berry, herby fruits to taste. Add a touch of class to supper.

Fleurie 2010 (£6.99) is from one of the 10 crus villages, which produce the  top notch wines from Beaujolais.  This  is an avalanche of fresh red fruits, typical of the gamay grape, but with an added refined elegance.

Sancerre Les Ruettes, Marks & Spencer 50cl
Sancerre Les Ruettes, Marks & Spencer 50cl

Sancerre Les Ruettes  2010 (£7.99) is fresh with subtle citrus and hints of Loire Valley minerals. I had a glass with a  bowl of  herby, lemony,   musssels and (I’m proud to say)  pasta made with my own fair hands. It was a delightful match.

My culinary ego moved over to make room on the table for Southern Winds Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (£5.99). A zingtastic New Zealand SB with typical  gooseberry, grass and lemon flavour flashes.

Finally, a  pink to match my Bank Holiday sun-shocked nose.

Le Froglet Rosé 2011 (£4.19) combines syrah and merlot  from Languedoc and has a wispy rose perfume with crisp red cherries to taste which say “we won an award you know” and indeed they did –  a silver at the 2012 International Wine Challenge.

Other 50cl wine choices? At Asda, First Cape lines are on offer until June 20, at £3 from £3.98 and 50cl Blossom Hill bottles are available at £3.98. At Waitrose, Cave de Lugny Chardonnay 2011 Macon – Villages is £5.99.

Also in my glass

In my search for good 50cls I came across a terrific selection of half bottles (35cl) from Tanners Wine Merchants  including Tanners Douro Red 2011 (£4.45). It’s a  deep red packed with the punchy grapes which in another life are the base of port.

2 thoughts on “Step forward M&S in the search for 50cl wine bottles”

  1. Brilliant article Jane. You have certainly done your research and M&S have shown their professional colours again

    1. Thanks! M&S also told me…

      “M&S puts a strong focus on selling smaller format bottles, whether for the ‘on the move’ consumer, buying one of their 20cl PET miniatures or customers wanting to downsize to the 50cl wines. In fact sales of the smaller format bottles have increased by 10% year on year, with January seeing +60% growth!
      “The main driver of the smaller format sales actually comes from the 50cl category which has been growing +22% year on year, and they are continue to look to add new lines to this range due to its popularity. “

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: