While I've spent the better part of 15 months waxing lyrical about delicious wines, they've been continuing with the same wine behaviours they've always had. It was a little disheartening to hear that some of my friends don't even read my blog because:
a) they only buy wine in their local supermarket
b) they're much more likely to buy wine on a half price offer
c) their price point is Â£5 and under
This saddens me, and not just because it means they're not reading my blog, which is written for them more than the cognoscenti. But in wine terms, they are seriously missing out.
We've discussed here that the Chancellor takes so much from the price of a bottle that Â£5 on the shelf means you're drinking less than 50p worth of actual wine. And just how much does it cost to produce an amazing embossed cork such as this one? There's also been a large amount of coverage on how the supermarket "half price" deals are little more than a marketing scam, with most of the prices grossly inflated outside of seriously extended offer periods.
Still, I love my friends, and I want to help them experience the joys of better wine. So, on this drizzly Tuesday evening, I've decided to sample an Asda wine at Â£6. I hope it's not stretching the price point too far.
In 2013, this wine was awarded a commendation by the International Wine Challenge, and a bronze medal by both Decanter and the International Wine and Spirits Competition. It must have something to recommend it, then.
Of course, the key is, will you enjoy it? It's got deep bramble fruits, youthful and mouthwatering acidity and some vanilla creaminess coming from it's time in oak. It's medium bodied but still with a rich mouthfeel and enough tannin to give texture. At 14% alcohol it's going to get your buzz on fairly quickly if that's your main reason for drinking wine.
As reserva Rioja goes, this isn't a particularly complex specimen. It's nevertheless drinkable and would pair well with your midweek lamb chops. The label implies it would match well with Mexican food, though I found the spices I paired it with flattened it and brought out some bitterness, so I'd stick to simpler dishes, or just drink it on it's own.
If you like your Riojas fresh and fruity, then you might find the Â£4.75 entry level bottle more to your taste. I haven't sampled it, but, then, if you're buying wine at Â£4.75, you probably don't need my opinion. On the other hand, I'd love to hear what you think if you do give it a go.
Please friends, even if it means drinking less, do try a bottle or two at a pound or two more than you usually pay. I think you'll find the difference is worthwhile. Mr Purple Teeth dispensed with this after a small glass and moved onto whisky. I've created a wine snob.