Jilly Goolden's Sussex Life magazine wine column - January 2014
PUBLISHED: 15:31 13 January 2014 | UPDATED: 15:31 13 January 2014
Jim Holden www.jimholden.co.uk 07590 683036
Each month, wine expert Jilly Goolden will be recommending great value supermarket wines as well as finds from our local wine shops. Let the tasting commence!
We are blessed in the UK (...it goes without saying particularly in Sussex...!) with the magnificent variety and quality of wines at our feet, or more accurately in our shops. Pity the poor French and their French supermarkets, with only a fraction of the choice and a modicum of the quality.
I was reminded of the huge scope for vinous exploration while visiting the brand new (well, five-month-old) enterprise The Rural Vintner in the Trading Boundaries barn at Sheffield Park (open 10am-8pm Mon- Sat, 11am-5pm Sun). Here, the owner, Sam Devaney, is devoted to delivering ‘regional expression’ with every wine he stocks (350 at present, but the goal is 500 individual, ‘expressive’ wines from around the world, plus more than 50 unusual spirits and beers). He doesn’t sell online because he wants his business to be a person-to-person experience, and it very much is. He recommended I try the gorgeous oaked white rioja Pharos (£9.99, reducing to £8.99 if included in a mixed six bottle case) which completely hits the spot for me with its apple crumble fruit, coated with a sense of roasted nuts and cream. I love this style of wine, multi-layered in appeal – so different, Sam comments, from the homogeneity of supermarket offerings.
Different it is, but supermarkets deliver too... in a different way. I tasted a scrumptious peppery but voluptuous Gigondas from Aldi (£9.99) while Clos de los Siete 2010, is a surprising and impressive French-made Argentinian red in the Bordeaux style at about £14 in both Sainsburys and Waitrose; while if you’re tightening your belt (in more ways than one, post-Christmas) Gaston Tureau Bordeaux Rouge 2012 at only £4.99 from Tesco is a steal (aromatic and easy drinking with it).