Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Supermarket wines - they're not really bad, they're just boring

I read a recent blog yesterday from Jamie Goode, the Wine Anorak, in which he commented and reviewed one of Jancis Robinson's "Wines of the Week", a supermarket Chardonnay. Some of his comments reminded me of some issues raised at an Italian tasting I did on Monday night.

The issue was "what about supermarket wines?" in relation to quality. Given modern winemaking techniques, it is pretty difficult to make a bad wine today. Perhaps it will be thin, one-dimensional, out-of-balance (fruits, alcohol and/or tannins fighting with each other), or simply not to your taste, but there are very few BAD wines made today, provided basic good hygiene is observed in the vineyard and the cellar.

So why don't I like supermarket wines? Because they are BORING! To me they are the Coca Cola of wines. They taste the same today and they did last week as they will next year. They are made to a formula and you get no sense of place from the wines.

So celebrate diversity - drink wines from small producers made from unusual varieties in places you don't know well. But you won't find these at the supermarket or in the High Street shops. You'll have to look for them from specialists. But I can assure you that the search for them will be worthwhile.


Herry said...

Hear! Hear! And paying though the nose doesn't help either. I bought a £40 claret from Tesco the other day for a surprise party and it was so dull, you could have stuck it in a coq au vin!

paswines said...

Thanks, Herry. I know how you feel.

While people like my colleagues in the internet wine business and myself have some really terrific wines for pretty good prices, until everyone starts to shop on-line, consumers will be condemned to whatever the major supermarkets and High Street retailers offer. They are going for the common denominator so, at best, you get bland wines. If you must shop at the "majors", try Waitrose. They do try harder.

Or you could always shop with me - yummy wines! ;)