Super French wine sale at Superquinn

MY column in the Irish Examiner this week (Saturday 4, 2010) is about the pretty impressive French Wine Sale on now at Superquinn. All the usual caveats apply. Ignore the price reduction. All that matters is the fun-per-euro of the bottle at the price you’re paying. However, it is interesting to ask yourself if you would pay the “full” price. In some instances in today’s selection I’d happily pay more than the stated pre-sale price, while others have earned their place here solely on the sale price.

As of October 2012, I am no longer drinks columnist with the Irish Examiner Weekend. See the home page of this blog for more details. I’m leaving much of the info I posted here in case it might be helpful. Thank you.

 

The sale runs until October 5, 2010 in stores and online. They deliver to Carlow, Dublin, Kilkenny, Kildare, Laois, Limerick, Meath, Offaly, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford, Wicklow.  Here’s my shopping list. Note that there is a further 5% discount on any six bottles.
Note: This post went up in Speptember 2010.  At the time I didn’t bother typing in the vintages simply because they referred to whatever was on the  shelves at the time. I now see this was a mistake as, unlike print, readers may stumble upon this post and presume it’s all still current. 

It is not.

One vintage is not the same as another, and I have had no reasonable opportunity to assess subsequent vintages of the wines below as the store appears to have scrapped tastings. I was invited to PR launches instead but such events are of no use whatever. In a protracted correspondence I did my best to persuade Superquinn to resume holding tastings as they had done for years but have given up.

Just so you know.

 
 

Superquinn's Ugni Blanc

1 Rare Vineyards Ugni Blanc Vielles Vignes €9.99 €6
I love this smashing fresh white for its sprightly arc between savoury nutty notes and tangy grapefruit, and its pleasing, slightly waxy texture.

You may not have heard of the ugni blanc grape but you’ve certainly tasted it if you’ve ever tippled a tot of brandy – it’s one of the principal constituents of Cognac. A cousin of trebbiano, it is also used to make some smashing affordable fresh white wines in the south of France, often blended with colombard. Another example on the Irish market is Cuvee Jean-Paul Sec Cotes de Gascogne (€8) at Curious Wines.

6 Classic Collection Sauvignon Blanc €7 [three for €20]
A fresh and vibrant middle-of-the-road sauv blanc.

8 La Croisade Reserve Chardonnay €15.99 €8.
Big, generous, warm and buttery chardonnay.

Dom Begude Chardonnay

9 Domaine Begude Vdp D’Oc Chardonnay €10.99 €8  [three for €20]
This is a classy chardonnay with a lovely, unexpected savoury backbeat which on further investigation turned out to be due to blending in a bit of chenin blanc.

10 La Baume Sauvignon Blanc €10.65 €8 [three for €20]
Generous easy-drinking floral sauvignon effortlessly skips along the spectrum from chippy minerals to floral scents.

12 Macon Lugny Les Coteaux des Anges Vielles Vignes €11.99 €8.
Fine, crisp, citrussy chardonnay with a whisper of southern Burgundian warmth.

13  Chateau Cabannieux Graves Blanc €11.99 €9
Hang on a minute. The next time you hear the fuss about fashionable white wine matches to go with shellfish such as Albariño, pause and sip a decent Bordeaux blanc such as this taut, complex sauvignon blanc semillion blend.

Note: This post went up in Speptember 2010.  see extended note near top of page.

As of October 2012, I am no longer drinks columnist with the Irish Examiner Weekend. See the home page of this blog for more details. I’m leaving much of the info I posted here in case it might be helpful. This post dates back to September 2010. Thank you.

SQ La Grille chenin blanc

17 La Grille Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc €12.99 €9
Chenin is a most underrated grape, and in this case it’s had a workout in the oak-barrel gym: big rich, broad-beamed and complex.

18 OVNI Sauvignon Blanc VdP de Val de Loire €11.99 €9
A fantastic nose gives way to a good everyday sauvignon.

OVNI, by the way, stands for Objet Viticole Non-Identifié – a pun on the French term for UFO. So it could be a useful companion to New Zealand’s Spy Mountain (named after a nearby satellite tracking station) which is periodically priced at around €8 at Tesco.

20 Crémant De Loire Rosé Premier Cru €17.99 €9
I wasn’t overly impressed by the white Loire crémant at the tasting, but really enjoyed this, its pink counterpart – a fun and funky cabernet franc rosé at a party price.

22 Classic Collection Petit Chablis  €10
Attractive, taut, nervy chardonnay. Bronze medal winner at the International Wine Challenge

24 Crozes Hermitage White Etienne Barret €14.99 €11
The polar opposite of the Chablis, this is big, rounded and complex.

26 Pouilly Fume Aoc Les Pierres Blanches €17.59 €12
Elegant sauvignon, yet another wine in this sale from the underrated Loire.

32 Pouilly Fuissé Dom Du Roure De Paulin €18.99 €14
I hold my hands up and admit I haven’t a clue why I’m recommending this. Like the guy played by Guy Pearce in Christopher Nolan’s excellent thriller, Memento, I generally cannot remember details unless I have some scribbled note I can consult later. I’m easily distracted, and must’ve moved on to the next wine before noting down any details worth repeating about this wine. I can’t recall what diverted my attention while sipping and spitting this one, and my wine-spattered, dog-eared tasting booklet records only a gnomic “this is pretty special.” However, that uselessly terse bit of wisdom is accompanied by an exclamation mark in the margin, which is my shorthand for “regardless of the comparative attractions of other bottles at this tasting, I really ought to recommend this one.” I now see that it won a silver medal at the International Wine Challenge, and they might still have their notes.

I find the whole memory mechanism fascinating — both when it works, and more especially when it doesn’t. Indeed I’m looking forward to seeing that film “Memento” which apparently is all about a guy who can’t remember things.

As of October 2012, I am no longer drinks columnist with the Irish Examiner Weekend. See the home page of this blog for more details. I’m leaving much of the info I posted here in case it might be helpful. Thank you.

SQ carignan

34 Rare Vineyards Carignan Vielles Vignes Vin de Pays d’Herault €9.99 €6
The red partner to the fabulous ugni blanc above is made with the carignan grape, long regarded as the lantern-jawed ruffian of the wine world, mostly destined for the notorious EU wine lake. It is best known for rustic, undistinguished reds but can turn up some undiscovered little gems, not least when it comes from some of the ancient vines in the deep south of France, as this one is. I’d be tempted to pay the fare for the scent alone, a massive, heady fruit bowl that beckons you from ten paces. The palate is less obviously expressive, which I’d regard as a fault, a lapse of  balance, in more expensive wines. But there is an attractive arc of dark stewed fruit through to fresher tart flavours in this joyous, friendly wine.

There is a nice faintly cocoa coffee edge and brisk tannins in its partner malbec, also priced at €6, but I’m not as convinced of it. I found it over-simplified and possibly (it can be difficult to judge) too sweet.

37 Domaine Cristia Cotes Du Ventoux €14.99 €7 [three for €20]
A decent, affordable tart and spicy Rhone red should be in everyone’s repertoire, and this one suffices nicely. I wouldn’t go near it at its full price but think it’s smashing at €7.

42 La Croisade Reserve Cabernet Syrah Vin de Pays d’Oc€15.99€8 [three for €20]
Tight and firm at first, this opens up a handsome array of dense fruit.

As of October 2012, I am no longer drinks columnist with the Irish Examiner Weekend. See the home page of this blog for more details. I’m leaving much of the info I posted here in case it might be helpful. Thank you.

48 Chateau Le Mayne Bordeaux 10.49 €8 [three for €20]
Lovely deep dark aromatic red slowly evolving in the glass with flourishes of mint and leafy herbs.

SQ Vacqueyras

56 Domaine De Brunely Vacqueyras €17.99 €12
Lovely spicy fruit set against a fine, firm taut structure.

57 SQ Saint Joseph 2009 15.99 €12
A classic Rhone red at a great value price.

62 Chateau Cotes du Gros St Emilion 25.99 €13

Like a flower bud, this lean red is certainly beautiful and elegant but doesn’t fully deliver on its promise. It could flower in a year or two. Or alternatively try my final selection…

49 Chateau La Perriere €17.99 €8 [three for €20]
A fab crisp and well-balanced red. Made down the road from St Emi
lion. 

As of October 2012, I am no longer drinks columnist with the Irish Examiner Weekend. See the home page of this blog for more details. I’m leaving much of the info I posted here in case it might be helpful. This post dates back to September 2010. Thank you.

€9.99
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3 Responses

  1. […] ground, Cork. They’re below the picture.  This week’s other post is about the fab Superquinn French wine sale.  There are also news/listings items on this blog about the season’s most promising open […]

  2. […] our Twitter friend from Cork, Blake Creedon, so vividly puts it, Carignan was “long regarded as the lantern-jawed ruffian of the wine world, mostly destined […]

  3. […] our Twitter friend from Cork, Blake Creedon, so vividly puts it, Carignan was “long regarded as the lantern-jawed ruffian of the wine world, mostly destined for […]

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