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Jilly Goolden tries out some lesser known wines across Sussex

PUBLISHED: 12:59 03 April 2014 | UPDATED: 12:59 03 April 2014

Jilly Goolden at her East Sussex home

Jilly Goolden at her East Sussex home

Jim Holden 07590 683036

Each month, wine expert Jilly Goolden recommends great value supermarket wines as well as finds from our local wine shops. Let the tasting commence!

On your behalf, I’ve been out there round and about in Sussex visiting independent wine shops (it’s a tough job!) and tasting their wares. And my head has been turned. Of course, we all know that the supermarkets have to order wines in huge quantities most of the time to serve a large number of stores. This gives them great buying power, and enables them to peg prices down...but at possibly a huge price. And that is the risk of predictability and homogeneity.

On the contrary, what I’ve discovered in the independents is unusual flair and originality; brilliant little-known wines bravely stocked and highlighted by enlightened managers and owners. Take Quaff, for example, my independent merchant of the month, based in Brighton and Hove. Fabien Lemarchand, the Hove manager (between serving delicious coffee to me and the passing trade) fired me up with his passion for the unusual as we sped round his well-stocked shelves fingering new finds. A Menetou-Salon red, for example, a little known pinot noir red from the Loire, which I eagerly tasted and discovered to be the perfect ‘sipping’ red wine (it doesn’t cry out for food) with rose and crushed strawberry scents and prettily aromatic, mouth-wateringly fruity flavour. (£11.99). It could even be slightly chilled. Or the bigger though voluptuous Sottano malbec from Argentina, finer and more subtle than most supermarket examples, with plum and loganberry flavours tailed off with a hint of spice (£9.99). Inspiring stuff!

Shopping in a wine shop rather than trawling the superstore aisles, you don’t have someone like me sitting on your shoulder making suggestions of new things to try in the supermarket. In local independents such as Quaff, you will be gently led by the hand to discover treasures you possibly never even knew existed before.

The independents do also have offers, bringing prices down to excellent prices... but they never limbo as low as £4.99, the price you pay for the surprisingly attractive ‘Vibrant and Grassy Chilean White’ (that’s its name) from Waitrose, a surprising blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, with green notes from the Sauvignon and an attractive peachy note from the chardonnay.


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