Why Waitrose own label wines are such good value
By Master of Wine, Christopher Burr
Waitrose have two Own Label Ranges, ‘No.1’ and ‘Blueprint’.
The No. 1 range is a more ‘up market’ selection of sixteen wines, where the wine buyers have collaborated with some good producers to create an exclusive range. The No. 1 range applies in Waitrose to most sections of the store, not just wines.
I know most of the producers that Waitrose have partnered with over their No. 1 wine range, indeed I have worked with some of them, Joseph Drouhin in Burgundy, Symington's in Port and Lustau in Sherry. These are all excellent wines, classic, with good class, not cheap, but very good value for money for what they are.
But the range I wish to focus on now is the Blueprint range, which is a selection of thirty eight wines, all selected for being good examples and classic of what they should represent.
These thirty eight wines are the most popular, mass market wines in the British Market, from Prosecco to Pinot Grigio, Rioja, Argentinian Malbec, Chianti, White Burgundy, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Claret, Cotes du Rhone and Provence Rose. It also feature Port, Sherry, English white wine, Soave, German Riesling and Albarino.
The prices range from £3.39 for a half bottle of Italian Pinot Grigio, to £9.99 for the English Dry White Wine (more expensive than the good White Burgundy Chardonnay at £9.45). Most of the range fall into the £6.99 to £7.99 price point.
How good are they? Well, they certainly do what they promise - they taste like good examples of each production area, and moreover, they represent good value for each wine.
For me, there are a number of stars. I loved the Vina Taboexa Albarino £8.29 from Galicia in North Spain. Classic and well made, it’s crisp with salty complexity, perfect with shell fish and all fish dishes.
The Cotes du Rhone is very typical, a juicy complex blend of the local grape varietals, and at £6.99, probably the best value for Cotes du Rhone on the market. Typical young wine, with some good complexity and nice, lifted fruit.
Where do you find a half decent red Bordeaux Claret for £5.99? The Blueprint Reserve Claret is young, fresh with typical complexity and a nice bite of leathery tannin on the finish. Ideal to clean the palate with grilled or roasted meats.
Bravo Waitrose, your customers should be most appreciative of a good selection of everyday wines, well made and typical, and all good value.
Christopher Burr, MW,
14th June 2021