Christine Austinpicks her top 20 bottles at Morrisons for under a tenner in her hunt for bargains.

Tasting over 100 wines in a day is the kind of thing I do on a regular basis, especially during the ‘tasting season’ when the big supermarkets open their new vintages and new wines to the press.  There is no better way to get an indication of how well the buyers are buying and how good their blends are than by swirling, sniffing and spitting my way through the lot.

That was how I managed to assess the work done this year by the Morrisons team, and it seems like they have been busy.

‘Many of our customers don’t realise that we actually create all our own-label wines,’ said Mark Jarman, senior wine sourcing manager of Morrisons.  ‘We are not just waiting for ready-blended bottles to arrive at our headquarters in Bradford.  Instead we are out in the wineries making the blends, adding a few more per cent of Syrah here or a splash of Viognier there to add a fresh dimension to a blend’.  It means a lot of travelling for Mark and for his colleague Clive Donaldson, both of whom have been steering the Morrisons range for several years.

During this time they have built up strong relationships with their suppliers which results in better wines and from the prices they are charging, it seems like they are getting better deals too.

Having swirled my way through all 166 wines on show at the Morrison’s tasting I was deeply impressed by the sheer quality they manage to fit inside many of their bottles for not a lot of money.

Here are my top twenty wines, ten whites and ten reds, all of them limbo under the £10 mark and in the case of some wines, you get two bottles for that.

Whites

Morrisons Sauvignon Blanc, Aconcagua Valley, Chile 2018, £4.50

The label on this wine is so boring you might just walk past it, but pick up a bottle and bang it in the fridge.  It is crisp and lively with tropical fruit notes of pineapple and pink grapefruit and it is totally refreshing.  A great aperitif.

Les Richoises White 2018, South West France, £5

Definitely worth a try for its fresh, crisp, apple blossom and lime character.  Great with shellfish, or just with sunshine.

Sorso Grillo 2018, Sicily, Italy, £6.50

Sorso is a new range of Italian wines, and the name translates a ‘sip’. All of the wines in this range are definitely worth sipping, in particular this Grillo for its floral, lemony fruit with herbs and a rounded texture. Try it with grilled fish.

Klein Street Grenache Blanc 2018, South Africa, £6.50

This Rhône variety manages to give citrus freshness as well as savoury complexity, making it a real food-friendly wine.  Try it with chicken or salmon.

Morrisons The Best Trentino Pinot Grigio 2018, £6.75

So many Pinot Grigio wines taste of nothing but this one is different.  With ripe pears a touch of cream and then a fresh citrus finish it makes a good anytime wine.

Morrisons The Best Rioja Blanca Reserva 2015, £7.50

White Rioja is a style all on its own, with lemon, honeysuckle and apricots and an underlying texture from oak. Not splinters, just hints of vanilla, and this one hits the mark perfectly.  Try it with gazpacho, roast chicken or pork.

Morrisons The Best Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2018, New Zealand £8.25

Fresh and citrussy with pineapple and guava notes adding complexity.  The perfect summer aperitif.

Morrisons The Best Vouvray 2017, Loire, France, £8.75

There are not many supermarkets that still list a Vouvray, but this slightly sweet wine, balanced by fresh, linear acidity is glorious alongside a sticky pork rib or spicy pulled pork served with apple sauce.

Morrisons The Best Pouilly-Fumé, 2018, Loire, France, £8.80

Sauvignon Blanc from the limestone and flint soils of Pouilly Fumé.  The wine has all the right crisp, herbaceous character of good Sauvignon Blanc, underpinned by minerally, crunchy flavours.  A serious wine for a serious piece of fish.

Morrisons The Best White Burgundy 2017, £9

100% unoaked Chardonnay so that the creamy peachy and pear notes shine out without oak getting in the way. Elegant and long.

Reds

Morrisons Malbec 2018, Argentina, £4.50

Simple, straightforward, gluggable chunky, dark mulberry fruit that will go down a treat with a barbecue.

Raoul Clerget Beaujolais 2018, France, £5

I have no idea how Morrisons manage to get so much ripe juicy fruit into the bottle for this price. Buy lots and pour it on a sunny Sunday morning while the barbecue is heating up.

Sorso Montepulciano 2017, Abruzzo, Italy, £6

Full of soft, dark cherry and plum fruit with a touch of herbs and a savoury tobacco finish.  Try it with a meaty pasta.

Morrisons The Best Fairtrade Cabernet, Swartland, South Africa, £7.25

Blackcurrant-filled flavours from the sunshine of South Africa, with enough structure to partner roast meat, but supple and rounded too.

Morrisons The Best Côtes du Rhône Villages 2017, £7.50

Serious Côtes du Rhône for a very good price.  Not sweet, not flabby, just straight-down-the-line rounded red fruits, spice and a good finish.  Great value.

Morrisons The Best Carmenère 2018, Rapel Valley, Chile £7.75

Carmenère used to be mistaken for Merlot, so it was never allowed to ripen properly.  Now this is fully ripe with bramble fruit, a touch of spice and silky tannins.

Marqués del Atrio Rioja Gran Seléccion, Spain, £7.75

Ripe raspberry fruit from 80% Tempranillo and a lovely lift of cherry from 20% Graciano. Rush to snap this up while it is at its offer price of £5.50 until 21 May.

Morrisons The Best Chianti Classico 2015, Tuscany, Italy, £8.25

Black cherry fruit, a touch of spice and just a hint of truffles in the background make this a wine to team with any pasta or tomato-based dish.

Morrisons The Best Chilean Pinot Noir 2017, San Antonio Valley, Chile £8.50

Elegant Pinot Noir with cherry and strawberry fruit and an edge of serious style. Team it with salmon, duck and charcuterie.

Morrisons The Best Crozes-Hermitage 2017, Rhône, France, £9

From the vineyards surrounding the hill of Hermitage, this 100% Syrah wine is dark and full of chunky damson and black fruits with black pepper, spice and a long elegant finish.

 

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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