Another fine tasting from the Charteris Wine Society. This time the presenter was Andrew Bird, a brand manager from M&S, and the wines he was presenting were all from their own label Spanish range. Not only did we learn about their wines but also got a fascinating insight into both the wine trade and Marks & Spencer's own culture.
It would appear that all their wines are own label and, unlike some supermarket chains who simply buy wines from the producers and relabel them, M&S employ their own winemakers to work with the producers on the assemblage. As a result what you are tasting is a wine unique to M&S.
It would appear that M&S (or their customers) are very Euro centric with the countries most heavily represented being France and Italy with Spain coming number three. Whereas most supermarkets tend to lead on the USA.
1. Vintage Rosado Cava, Pinot Noir, 2006. GBP 9.99
Dark pink with a fresh fruity nose with elements of green strawberry and red currants, brut on the palate. We then got an interesting history of Cava and its reliance on indigenous grape varieties.
Also interesting to note that the more conservative M&S customers drink proportionally less than do the customers of other supermarket chains. And in France overall they drink a far greater proportion of rosé than do the UK public.
2. Val do Salnes Albarino, Rias Baixas, 2007. GBP 9.99
Pale lemon colour and a green straw or grass, knows with a hint of grapes and melon. On the nose it seemed quite round and unctuous and sweet but I found it tad flabby.
3. Campo Aldea Rioja Riserva, Graciano, 2005. GBP 9.99
Cherry red with a dark wood, blackberry nose. Very soft and fruity. In my view one of the better Riojas, with a good length.
4. Marques de Grinon, Calzia, Syrah / Petit Verdot, 2006. GBP 8.99
Dark cherry colour with their distinct Murillo Cherry nose. palette blackberry jam with a hint of tang. We were regaled with tales of vine smuggling when the producer introduced French vines into Spain in contravention of their laws.
5. Bellmunt Priorat 2006. GBP 12.99
An inky red colour with a nose both floral and cheesy at the same time. The tannins were much more marked than in previous wine and not merely as jammy a flavour. A mongrel blend of grape varieties: cabernet sauvignon merlot, garnacha negra, syrah and carignan. I learned that the garnacha is the world's most planted grape.
6 Pena del Infierno, Ribera del Duro 2006. GBP 19.00
Very inky with a hint of brown and definitely not as clear as the other wines. Jammy and alcoholic at 14.5 ABV with plenty of tannins. I have to say not for me I preferred number five there was something of the farmyard and metallic about it.
7. Lustau Palo Cortado Sherry. GBP 9.99
Light caramel in colour and on the palate also with a velvety toffee flavour. But drier to taste than the nose might have led one to believe.
An excellent and educational tasting.
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