Christine Austin presents her pick of the top 20 tastes for summer from Morrisons and the Co-op

Fridge space is always at a premium ahead of any party or event, so if you need chilled wine, delivered to your door, then Morrisons will do it.  They only have a handful of wines that can be delivered chilled but their Morrison’s Champagne Brut at just £19 is perfect for a Saturday evening party or Sunday lunch.  They also have a selection of Prosecco that can arrive chilled, but instead I suggest you head for The Best Cava Brut at £8.25.  It has managed to shake off that dull mid-palate thud that afflicts many cavas and its rounded, fresh, white floral and pear notes will accompany a whole selection of canapés.

The wine buying team at Morrisons are clearly taking note of the competition from other retailers and have made sure that there are perfectly good wines at the affordable end of the market, in particular in their own-label range. However they are not prepared to lose quality for the sake of a few pence.  It means that, across most of the range there is good value for money, even if prices have crept up a little as the value of pound has gone down.

I recently tasted through a large chunk of the Morrisons range.  Drawing the line at a modest £10, here are my 12 best buys. If your local store doesn’t have all of them, then check online.

Whites

Morrisons Soave 2017, Italy,  £4.35

When Duty and VAT account for around half the cost of this wine, then it is clearly terrific value for money.  It has a clean, green herbal freshness with light lemon note.  Perfect with a bowl of pasta and pesto.

The Best Verdicchio 2017, Italy, £6.25

From the rolling hills of the Marche region of Italy, this has light lemon and grapefruit flavours with a touch of almonds on the finish.  This will happily go with seafood pasta.

The Best Trentino Pinot Grigio 2017, Italy, £7

Sourced from the beautiful region of Trentino in northern Italy, this has the flavours that all Pinot Grigio wines should have.  Light honeysuckle aromas with spiced pear fruit and citrus on the palate and a gentle finish.  Drink it on its own or with a lightly spiced stir-fry.

The Best Chilean Chardonnay 2017, £7

This comes from one of Chile’s best producers and they have managed to get lively citrus fruit backed by a hint of toasted almonds.  Pour alongside roast chicken.

The Best Albariño 2017, Rías Baixas, Spain, £7

This year’s most fashionable grape variety, it has all the right apricot notes on nose and palate, backed by white floral aromas and a bite of saltiness on the finish.

The Best Petit Chablis, France £10

Petit Chablis comes from vineyards that are on the edge of the main Chablis region. It means you get better value for money while still tasting wines from the same soil and climate.  This is good enough to pass as proper Chablis with linear citrus fruit and a touch of beach pebbles.

Reds

Morrisons Tempranillo 2016, Spain, £4

I have no idea how Morrisons have managed to get so much juicy strawberry-edged fruit into this wine for the money.  Perfectly good enough for the returning students.

The Best Montepulciano 2016, Abruzzo, Italy, £6

Packed with ripe red-berry fruit this is a lively, juicy wine with a touch of spice on the finish.  Perfect alongside a meaty pasts dish.

The Best Western Australia Cabernet 2015, £7

Tasting well above its price point, this has ripe plum and blackcurrant fruit with a creamy finish.

The Best Rioja Reserva 2013, Spain, £7.50

Stylish Rioja with enough, but certainly not too much oak blending with ripe raspberry fruit.  Pour alongside a slow-barbecued shoulder of lamb.

The Best Red Burgundy 2016 £8

Mainly Pinot Noir and a splash of Gamay to lift the juicy, raspberry fruit, with a rounded, smooth finish.  Good with any food where there are mushrooms on the plate.

Gérard Bertrand Merlot 2016, Languedoc, France, £9

Terrific flavour for money even at its full price, this has dark, mulberry and blackcurrant fruit, with a rounded, smooth, meat-friendly finish.  Down to £7 until 10 July.

CO-OP

I also managed to work my way through the much smaller but well-chosen range at the Co-op.  With £10 as my upper price point, here is what you should buy.

Whites

Co-op Irresistible Fiano 2016, Campania, Italy, £6.99

A delightful white wine with aromatic floral notes, a touch of honey and spice and ripe pears on the palate.  Rounded on the palate, it has the weight to take on grilled sea bass and salad.

Co-op Irresistible Explorers Sauvignon Blanc 2016, New Zealand, £7.49

From St Clair, one of New Zealand’s best producers, this has all the right gooseberry and peapod flavours.  A zippy, zesty summer thirst-quencher.

Indomita Gran Reserva Viognier 2017, Bio Bio Valley, Chile £7.99

From Bio Bio in the deep south of Chile where temperatures are low, this Viognier balances apricot fruit with orange zest.

VDV Organic Verdejo 2017, Castilla y León, Spain, £7.99

With lemon and herbs, this is close in flavour to a Sauvignon Blanc.  Drink it as an aperitif or team with fish.

Reds

Domaine des Ormes Saumur Rouge 2015, Loire, France, £7.49

Summer is the perfect time to try the leafy, crunchy, raspberry-charged flavours of the Cabernet Franc grape in Saumur Rouge.  Chill it down for an hour and then pour alongside any herb-spiked meat.

Ch. Vieux Manoir 2016, Bordeaux, France, £6.99

This is terrific value for money so make sure you buy several bottles, it will happily keep for several months, even into next year.  It has good leafy, blackcurrant fruit and enough structure to take on a Sunday lunch.

 Montes Alpha Syrah 2016, Chile, £9.99

From Aurelio Montes who makes stunning wines, this just sneaks under the £10 price point, and well worth trying for its dark damson fruit, layered with spice and creamy, long finish.

Running with Bulls Tempranillo 2014, South Australia, £7.99

Spain’s favourite red grape variety does well in Australia, keeping all its usual strawberry and spice flavours, but it also manages a bit more depth and lusciousness too.

About The Author

Christine Austin

Christine is a wine writer, broadcaster and a wine judge for several international wine competitions. She has a technical background and spent five years as a buyer for a major supermarket before moving to wine writing.She writes for The Yorkshire Post Magazine and organises the York Festival of Food and Drink. She has won both the Lanson and the Roederer prizes for wine writing.

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