One night back in May I had one of those Ancient Mariner-like evenings where I couldn’t find anything to drink. Pizza was on the menu. What was needed was a red that was not too heavy or too light, undemanding yet unboring. The kitchen was a mess of open bottles as I’d been tasting all afternoon but none hit the spot.
Then my eyes lighted on one I’d forgotten; Bodegas Castro Bergidium Legio Bierzo 2010. Bierzo is in the north-west of Spain and one of the country’s increasingly talked-about regions. This red, made from the mencia grape, wasn’t quite as wild or as spicy or as clove-y as Bierzo can be. In fact, it tasted more like a Spanish take on montepulciano, easygoing but not slack, with a neat little, mouthwatering kick to refresh you after a mouthful of pizza. We drank the lot.
I was surprised to hear, at the Waitrose tasting a couple of weeks later, that it wasn’t selling. “It’s really good isn’t it?” said one of the buyers (not the one who’d chosen it, either), his eyes lighting up. “But no one’s heard of Bierzo so….” I wrote it up in the Telegraph – here – but readers, and my parents who became big fans, clearly didn’t do a good enough job of hoovering it up because my dad said he found it yesterday being sold off in his local Waitrose – in Otley, West Yorkshire – for just £4 a bottle. And this a wine bought to sell at £6.74, promoted down from £8.99. “The only thing was,” said dad, “That they’d stuck the sale sticker over the label and it won’t come off which is annoying. But I still bought four bottles. I thought I’d leave a few there for someone else.”
Now look, this wine is out of stock online, and it’s bank holiday weekend so I can’t phone Waitrose to ask if it’s being sold off in other stores too. It’s probably the last clearance of a one-off parcel, a real bin-end, a few bottles here and there, a real find it if you can. But if you’re shopping anyway and are lucky enough to see some at this crazy price, it’s a buy.