Honduran wine? I don't think so.
Swiss wine is dear to my heart, since I first found my passion for wine in that country, but supermarket availability is even less likely than these minnows picking up the trophy. Stick to the cheese and chocolate if you're a Switzerland fan.
So, France wins the Group E wine award by default.
Trying to pick a few highlights from the biggest wine-producing country in the world is like trying to pick your friend out in the crowd at the stadium on TV. But, my mission is to help you drink your way round the world, so here goes...
You'll surely know you're way around French Rosé if pink wine is your tipple, but if not, start with those from Provence. If you're looking for fizz, but can't justify spending out on Champagne just yet, never fear, because the "Cremant" wines provide a great alternative. Generally cheaper, you'll find versions from Loire, Alsace and Bourgogne fairly widespread, made from Champagne grape Chardonnay among others.
When it comes to French whites, it'll be no surprise to regular Purple Teeth followers, that I strongly favour the Alsace region. It can be a little daunting for the less experienced punter because of the wide range of styles from bone dry through to sticky sweet, and the grape varieties are rich and textured.
I've written about Gewurztraminer many times. It's a great pairing for Chinese food and Thai, and I've even enjoyed it with Indian food, where it held it's own. Strongly perfumed, the over-riding flavour is lychee with hints of rose. If florals don't do it for you, avoid. The bargains are the Sainsbury's Taste the Difference (around £8), and Waitrose own brand (around £10). Tested and revisited many times at Chateau Purple Teeth, both are dry in style. If you've got a bit more than £10 for a bottle, you'll be better served at a local wine merchant.
Pinot Gris (you'll have seen much more of it by it's Italian name Pinot Grigio) is another favourite, and again the Waitrose own brand at around £10 is a good starting point. You'll find a dry wine with ripe honey, pears and some spiciness. Warning. You may never go back to Pinot Grigio after tasting this Bronze medal winner. They're completely different in style.
There's a whole country to explore though, so let's head south. The Languedoc region makes some great rosé, and you'll find great value whites & reds from all the most common grape varieties. Current favourite is
Picpoul-de-Pinet. Fashionable doesn't need to mean expensive. Expect mouthwatering, "lip-smacking" zingy refreshing wines, with crisp apple, citrus and pear flavours. It's a winner whether you're chucking some crayfish on the barbie, or opening a packet of ham to have with a salad. You'll find an IWC silver medal winner at under £8 in the Tesco Finest range (20% off if you buy 2) and again at under £9 in Waitrose (25% off if you buy 6).
In the interests of research, I paired the Waitrose Domaine Haut-Bridau tonight with a challenging salad: peashoots, avocado, red cabbage, tomato, spinach - not your natural bedfellows for wine. The Picpoul worked really well. Mr Purple Teeth found it vibrant, zingy & slightly reminiscent of the tingle you get from Gruner Veltliner. It's cheaper, so give it a go!
Sauvignon Blanc fans might first think of Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé, both in the Loire valley. Finding these at £10 or under is a bit of a challenge though, so think laterally, and head to the Bordeaux Blanc. Here the Sauvignon is blended with Semillon and sometimes Muscadelle, to soften out the green edges, and Tesco are offering plenty of these on special offers at around a fiver. It's been a while since I drunk it, but I used to enjoy the Château Saint-Jean-des-Graves from Waitrose (now £8.49). The Graves and Entre-Deux-Mers regions should provide affordable but highly drinkable examples.
Chardonnay fans must head to Burgundy for the finest examples, and you can pick up cheap & cheerful Macon-Villages in Asda for just £6. We talked about the impact or Oak in World Cup Winners (part 3) dedicated to Group B, so if you want to steer clear, Chablis, or Petit-Chablis are the styles for you to look out for.
Chances are, when you think of red wine, you think of France. It's the biggest producer in the world (an honour it switches every few years with Italy depending on harvest yields) and wine is deeply rooted in the French culture. And when you think of French wine, there's no doubt that the big names of Bordeaux grab all the attention. For most of us though, we simply can't afford to drink those kinds of wines every day, so is it possible to get decent French red at an affordable price?
Yes! And even in Bordeaux (though that is a little trickier).
Claret is how you'll find the cheaper, simpler Bordeaux wines labelled in the supermarket. The blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and other grapes doesn't often feature on my wine rack, but IWSC Bronze medal winner "Good Ordinary Claret" (£5.49) is surely the one to try, if you like soft wines with ripe blackberry and plum flavours.
Look for the producer Calvet for similar wines in the other supermarkets.
Also at the low end of the price spectrum, this Tesco Merlot from Pays d'Oc (in Languedoc) was a hit with Purple Teeth fans last year. Read the review here.
It'd be wrong of me as Rhône prize winning student, not to mention the varied wines of this region.
You'll find mainly blended wines of Grenache (zingy red berry with a hint of spice), Syrah (elegant blackberry and violet), Mourvèdre (gamey, robust, fruity), and other grape varieties, often without any indication given on the label as what to expect inside. These wines can be hugely expensive, but there are some bargains to be had. At £5.69, the IWSC Bronze medallist from Waitrose looks like a soft and fruity version: Classic Cotes du Rhône
Having won a case of Rhône wines that I'm still working through, it'll be a while before I can write up any supermarket specials, with the benefit of tasting.
I can't complete any resumé of French wines without mentioning Pinot Noir. If you can find then, the Rosé made from this grape is by far my favourite. Light, delicate, and with strawberries and cream on the palate. The Tesco Finest Sancerre Rosé at £9.99 may just make it onto my list, sometime soon.
The home of Pinot Noir is undoubtedly Burgundy, but while it's possible to pick up cheaper Burgundian Chardonnays, my experience of low cost red Burgundy hasn't been quite as fulfilling. This grape is known for being lighter red, with a bit less body than many of the French reds I've already mentioned. The fruit flavours tend to strawberry, red cherry sometimes with green notes, and in the low cost versions, there's unlikely to be much oak aging, which can impart savoury mushroom, and complex earthy or leathery notes. Asda are the only supermarket offering anything in the sub-£6 price point:
PS you'll find all our wine picks for the World Cup on our main blog page