Today I have mostly been judging beer – home brews, no less – in deepest Derbyshire but every so often a brief flicker of 3G signal would deposit a handful of emails asking what wines would be good to buy in the Waitrose 25% off ALL WINES if you buy 3+ bottles (in store) or 6+ (online at WaitroseCellar.com). This promotion runs until Tuesday (12th August). Here, in brief, are a few pointers. Just please don’t expect too much from me. Did you know beer tasters don’t spit? *gulps*
The rules of engagement
The best wines to buy on offers like this are:
a) More expensive wines that don’t usually go on offer
b) Very cheap wines that don’t usually go on offer because the margin just isn’t high enough. Waitrose probably lose money when you buy them at 25% off.
c) Stuff you like so much that even though it will be on offer at some other point you might be tempted to buy it at full price because you’ve run out.
A few wines
Waitrose Brut Special Reserve 2004 Champagne, France (£30.99/£23.25) If you had to buy this wine under the label of the people who make it rather than Waitrose’s own it would cost you at least £50. The champagne house behind it is Heidsieck. For years, they were champagne’s best-kept secret and fantastically under-priced. Now they’re getting a bit grander they don’t make supermarket own-label any more so this is a bit of a last-chance saloon.
ONE CHEAP RED
Cuvee Chasseur 2013 Vin de France (£4.99/£3.75) It’s pretty light, fruity (strawberries) and breezy, based on grenache, and it’s a buy at a fiver. What more can I say.
ANOTHER CHEAP RED
Waitrose Rich and Intense Italian Red NV Puglia, Italy (£4.99/£3.75) I happened to be sitting next to a friend who works in the Waitrose booze department this afternoon and it turns out that this cherry-scented, smooth red from Italy’s hot heel is a go-to budget-day wine for both of us. I like it with hot pepperoni pizza. Also sausage and red wine risotto.
Catena Malbec 2012 Mendoza, Argentina (£12.99/£9.75)
Big, beefy, rich, violet-scented malbec. Needs a char-grilled steak. And if not a beef burger, maybe one that’s still pink in the middle.
SPLASH OUT SYRAH
Mullineux Syrah 2012 Swartland, South Africa (£18.99/£14.24) What a glass full. I’d say this oaked Swartland syrah wouldn’t be disgraced if you tried it alongside a northern Rhone. But actually at this price it would disgrace the Rhones. Superb, chiseled, classy stuff – sort of granitic. Like you can feel edges of rock in there.
Robert Oatley Finisterre Chardonnay 2011 Margaret River, Western Australia (13.5%, Waitrose, £18.99/£14.24) Ringingly clear chardonnay, made in Margaret River, on Australia’s western fringe. Glossy but also fresh, like lemon curd with cashew nuts, it’s braced by the toasty new French oak barrels in which it spends a winter.