£5.49; even fewer euros
Yesterday on purple pages I published my tasting notes on about 80 wines I tasted recently from the range of UK supermarket Sainsbury’s, and a generally rather dispiriting collection I found them. There were a few (very few) decent cheap wines - and of course these enormous supermarket groups score points at the bottom end of the price range over the much more interesting selections generally on offer from smaller retailers because of their buying muscle.
There were also one or two interesting wines slightly higher up the price scale such as their Taste the Difference 2008 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur lie at £5.99 supplied by Charles and Philippa Sydney whose La Grille range of Loire wines of all three colours taste much more authentic than most supermarket offerings. I also found a red counterpart to the No Added Sulphur Chenin Blanc I chose as a wine of the week in March, the SO Organic Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 Western Cape from Stellar at £4.99. Steve Pannell’s admirable Willunga 100 Grenache McLaren Vale also stood out, but that is £7.99 per screwcapped bottle.
But the wine that might be of most interest to visitors to this site who, I assume, seek out wines that taste of terroir rather than being made to a formula, was a keenly priced red bordeaux, Ch David 2007 Bordeaux Supérieur that is currently available at £5.49 in as many as 521 branches of Sainsbury’s, and at Leclerc in France, Delhaize in Belgium and various Dutch independent retailers, I am assured.
Obviously this is no substitute for a classed growth claret, but it is young red bordeaux with masses of personality that does actually taste of young claret rather than being a souped up Merlot/Cabernet blend made in the image of a New World varietal. Like most wines with the appellation Bordeaux or Bordeaux Supérieur (the Supérieur denoting a minimum alcohol level half a per cent higher than that for straight Bordeaux, so pretty meaningless really), this blend is made up mainly of the obliging Merlot that is so much easier to ripen than Cabernet Sauvignon. There is also just under 20% Cabernet Franc and just over 10% Cabernet Sauvignon in this blend from vines that are an average of 25 years old, quite a respectable age.
This large, 120-hectare property, also known as Ch David Beaulieu, is on the Villegouge plateau just north of Fronsac on the right bank of the Gironde – so pretty close to Ch Grand Village, the home farm of the owners of Pomerol superstar Ch Lafleur whose 2008 is so good. Look out for it at Armit when it is bottled and released next year (the 2007 is £116.40 a dozen in bond – see my 2007 tasting note, which is much less enthusiastic than my note on the 2008).
As you can see from the image of the 2006 on the right (as opposed to the rather grey close-up of the 2007), the bottle looks the business but, more importantly, it also tastes it. My notes say ‘Very firm and earthy and proper red bordeaux with some real personality. This tastes farmed as opposed to industrialised. Lots of tannin and this seems as though it will last pretty well. Neat, clean finish. Good balance and reasonable persistence.’
The wine is just 12% alcohol and, I think, great value for £5.49. Drink it with a meal any time over the next two or three years.