Tue, 12 Apr 2011
Good Wine?

However much the bottle cost, or wherever it's from, how the wine tastes to you is all that matters

I don't drink as much wine as I used to (sometimes staying alcohol free now) and am certainly not a wine connoisseur, but I like a glass or two of red wine with a meal, a civilised accompaniment. When I mentioned that I buy wine at my local supermarket, Sainsbury's, a friend made the comment that "you can't buy a good bottle of wine at Sainsbury's".

That seems completely wrong to me, but did set me thinking about the difference between the varieties of wines available in the supermarket versus the wine shop.

For a change, I decided to buy some wines from Laithwaites (Borough branch). It's a fairly large wine shop with a good range and helpful staff.

The three I chose are ranked as the best customer recommendations :

All Australian, all shiraz but worthwhile for comparison to wines I might buy in Sainsbury's - like a Shiraz from Hardy's, a Lindeman's or (from California) a Gallo.

Results so far : The Black Stump is very highly rated and is certainly a lovely, smooth red wine. It's a few pounds more than a Hardys Stamp Shiraz-Cabernet and probably worth it. But the Hardy's is not a bad wine and worth drinking. If you visit a site like supermarketwine.com you can see that some Sainsbury's wines are reviewed and rated quite highly (e.g. The Guardian).

It's good to try the occasional non-supermarket wine because even though their range seems large, it's actually tiny compared to the choice available. But for your day to day wine needs, the supermarket's perfectly acceptable.