Last Friday, when I was up to my eyes tasting 2010 primeurs samples in Bordeaux, we did not publish a wine of the week. Did anyone notice? Did anyone care? Should you have any views pro or con, do please express them in the comments box below - though for the moment, only Purple pagers can access the comments box. We may change this. Views...?
£6.99, reduced to £4.99 (or £4 if six assorted bottles are bought)
This has to be one of the best bargains in a British high-street store today, let alone from next Monday until 2 May, when the price drops by a further 20% if any six bottles of wine are bought from Marks & Spencer.
I was pretty impressed by the bright, breezy Chilean Paradiso Shiraz 2010 Central Valley even at the regular price of £6.99 a bottle, writing the following tasting note then:
'Very deep crimson. Full, rich, smoky and recognisably hot-country Shiraz. Attractive toastiness. Some sweetness but it's not sickly and the balance is not bad at all. Perhaps the oak is very slightly obvious rather than adding subtlety but this is good value.'
For what it's worth, I gave it 16 points out of 20 and reckoned you could drink it with pleasure any time over the next two years.
But from 4 April the price per bottle has been reduced to £4.99 and, as I say, the wine is also eligible for M&S's 20% off any six bottles offer that runs next week and the week after. If you were to take advantage of this offer, you would effectively be paying only £4 per bottle.
The wine is made by Nicolas Bizzarri and Christian Rojas at the much-improved Viña Luis Felipe Edwards, which has been investing heavily in the sort of better, higher-altitude vineyards shown here (although I would not expect more than a tiny proportion of the blend to have come from these sort of spectacular plantings at altitudes of almost 1,000 m).
The appellation Central Valley tells us annoying little about exactly where the grapes come from. M&S's technical specification is geographically vague but technically precise:
'Made from grapes grown in selected sites in the Central Valley. The low fertility of the soils limits the naturally high vigour of this variety. The harvest was in early April. Yields were between 10 and 14,000 kg/ha.
'The must was fermented for nine days at 25-26 ºC, the wine was kept on fine lees during malolactic fermentation. A portion of the blend was then placed in oak and back blended to add complexity. The wine has been minimally treated, receiving only a cold stabilisation and a filtration prior to bottling.'
Some might argue that a cold stabilisation and filtration is hardly minimal, but the results are certainly excellent value. The M&S version of this wine contains 5% Petit Verdot, which presumably adds a bit of backbone – though I do wonder why the Chileans are planting Petit Verdot when they already have so much Carmenère and the two varieties seem to add the same sort of streak of greenness and substantial tannin (though see MontGras' winemaker's refutation of this below).
It looks from the UK importer's specification of this wine that other, presumably non M&S versions of it contain 5% Cabernet Sauvignon rather than 5% Petit Verdot.
This particular bottling is available exclusively at 280 M&S stores in the UK, but the Find a wine like this link is for Luis Felipe Edwards Shiraz 2010.