My Top 10 Wines From Asda
by Angela Mount
The wine team at Asda have made a great many changes to their range this year, ringing the changes and bringing in both well-known names and some new, exciting discoveries. Headed by the very astute, and well-respected Master of Wine, Philippa Carr, the team showcased a selection of their 750 strong range at a recent tasting in London. There has been some very clever buying, with a number of delicious wines at very affordable prices.
Here are some of my favourites:
For a real treat, at a cracking price, get a bottle or two of this deliciously ripe, vintage Champagne. Vintage Champagne is only made in very good years, and needs far longer to mature, so that’s why it’s often so expensive. The Asda team have snapped up this gem, from the very promising 2009 vintage. It’s bright, bold and fresh, with lots of red berry and lemon peel flavours, mingled with creamy, toasty elements. With a stream of tiny bubbles, and warm, biscuit aromas, it’s an elegant, award-winning Champagne, which would be a delicious aperitif, but has enough depth and character to work with smoked salmon and canapés.
This wine has long been a favourite of mine, and hats off to Philippa Carr, who heads off each year to blend this little gem. A consistent award- winner in just about every wine competition out there, it’s a very elegant dry white, from the northern hills of Piemonte, in north west Italy. It has a lively, vibrant style, with smoothness and poise. Made from the Cortese grape, it’s fresh, and zesty, with a swish of scented herbs and a twist of lemon peel. Taste it and it has flavours of ripe orchard fruits, mixed in with a citrus tang and a hint of almonds and sweet spice. It’s a really versatile food wine, and sashays easily into most party gatherings too - try it with seafood linguine, herb and lemon-dusted sea bream and chicken Caesar salad.
This reliable Burgundy producer seldom fails to deliver. Wines from the southern Macon area of Burgundy generally offer great value at a fraction of the price of Cote d’Or wines, yet deliver real style and flavour. Elegant, and smooth, with a fresh, citrus bite, this is completely unoaked, so the creamy, baked apple and ripe pear fruit really shines through. Clean and clear, it has an enticing warmth and smoothness about it, with a gentle, creamy finish, which lingers. A great, classic white to serve anytime with salmon, roast chicken, creamy mussels, and braised pork loin.
Gorgeous. Perfect. An absolute delight. That sums up what I think about this wine, which scooped a very well deserved, and rare gold medal at this year’s International Wine Challenge. The high hills of the Clare Valley, just north of Adelaide are producing world class Rieslings, and this is a classic example. If you haven’t discovered top notch Australian Riesling before, this is about as good a place to start as any. First of all, it beguiles you at the first whiff of its fresh lime and apple blossom scents, with its subtle, underlying waft of lemon peel and rose petals. Try, it and you are whisked into a delightful world of loveliness, as this wine seduces the senses. Fresh, bright, and supremely elegant, it has a racy, thoroughbred style, with intense, yet super-bright flavours of citrus, honeysuckle and green apples, with just a hint of acacia honey on the finish. Ideal with smoked salmon, Thai- inspired seafood curries, and most dishes with a hint of spice. Well worth the extra spend, and a very special treat.
This perfumed, light, fresh as a breeze red from the Loire Valley is a juicy delight. The raspberry leaf-scented Cabernet Franc grape is the star here, and works well in the cool Loire wine region – if you’re looking for a lighter, gentler style of red, this fits the bill. It’s a delicate and very pretty wine, bouncing with bright, lip-smackingly fresh redcurrant and raspberry fruit, with a lick of fresh herbs. Enchantingly soft, and silky, it’s delightful on its own, or a delicious wine to savour with charcuterie, soft cheeses, chicken casserole, and it’s a great red to go with fish, especially monkfish.
One of the problems with Bordeaux wines is that they can often be either overpriced, or not very good. Here’s one that ticks both these boxes. It looks good, it tastes great. With a very smart label, this is a clever buy from the Asda team; it has all the hallmarks and characteristics of decent Claret, and at a snip, at under £9.00. What you need from a decent claret is lots of ripe, blackcurrant and cedary fruit, with bold, plummy flavours, hints of tobacco, and a lingering finish. This is impressive in its richness and concentration, with real depth and hints of prunes, figs and a gentle smokiness mingling with all the other flavours – perfect with roast lamb, rib of beef, or a plate of top quality cheddar.
A top quality and great value northern Rhone red, resplendent in all its inky, dark, Syrah gorgeousness. Rhone wines are food wines, no question about it. This one beguiles, with its bold, yet perfumed richness. Swirl it around the glass and enjoy the wild herb, black cherry and licorice scents; taste it and it’s brimming with fat, rich, bruised blackberry, dried fig, mocha and cardamom spice flavours. It’s full-flavoured, but at a decently modest 13% alcohol level for a Northern Rhone red. It has presence and a lovely, generous texture and taste – perfect for winter, savour this wine with braised lamb shanks, venison sausages, or peppered steak.
A joyful, expressive, completely unoaked red, is always a welcome addition to any wine range. Spanish wines are going from strength to strength at the moment, across a variety of styles, and there are some very exciting developments in terms of types of wine, both red and white. Gone are the days of over-oaked, over-aged wines, now’s the time for freshness and verve. The Bierzo el Pajaro is one such example; named after a small bird, and with a smart, modern label, it’s made from the local Mencia grape up in the northern part of Spain. It’s a wine to make you smile – bright, bouncy and juicy, and brimming over with delicious scents of fresh raspberries and summer pudding. Packed with lively, damson fruit flavours, enjoy this on its own, or with Moroccan tagines, and spicy Asian beef dishes.
I love wines with a story, and this is certainly one of those. It’s a gloriously rich, opulent red from Chile, made by an Italian winemaker, far up in the most northern wine region of the country, in desert-like conditions. Dark, intense and opulent, this full- bodied red bowled me over with its glorious, silky sweet blueberry and blackcurrant fruit, overlaid with flecks of dark chocolate and warm spice. Dazzling and concentrated, it’s a stunning example of plump, dusky Chilean Syrah, which is just the ticket for slow-roast lamb, rich beef casseroles, and spicy Mexican dishes.
With its bold, cerulean blue label, the bottle alone certainly stands out on the shelves. In terms of what’s in the bottle, especially at this give –away price, it’s pretty smart. The judges at the 2014 International Wine Challenge certainly thought so, as they awarded this a coveted silver medal. From the chilly, coastal, Atlantic wave-battered Rias Baixas wine region in north west Spain (it sits directly above Portugal), the now highly fashionable Albarinho grape comes into its own; it’s bright and breezy, but it also has real depth and character – with vivacious aromas of citrus peel and lemon thyme, it’s delightfully tangy and refreshing in flavour, with lingering flavours of peaches and russet apples, with a racy elegance. One to enjoy with the freshest of pan-fried fish, bowls of steaming mussels and little Spanish tapas bites.
*This article is showing the prices and stock available on 08/12/2014.
Please note some of the vintages tasted by Angela Mount have not been added to Asda's website yet.