FOOD AND DRINK / Grapevine: Kathryn McWhirter's wine choice

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I COULDN'T squeeze in all the wines I wanted to recommend this month - but that's due more to the sheer size of the Tesco wine range than its quality being universally high. (Many of the wines are disappointing.) Tesco's 700-strong range far outnumbers any other supermarket's, though they are still just second to Sainsbury's in terms of sales. The wines in Tesco's new 'International Winemaker' range (pounds 2.99 to pounds 3.99), created in Argentina, Spain, France and Australia by Bordeaux winemaker Jacques Lurton and stocked in larger stores, are wonderful value.

WHITES

**Tesco International Winemaker Rueda (pounds 3.49). Light, fresh Spanish white.

*Tesco Baden Dry (pounds 3.29). Fruity but dry.

*1991 Trajadura de Aveleda Vinho Verde (pounds 3.59). Fruity, dry vinho verde.

*Barramundi Semillon Chardonnay, South East Australia (pounds 3.69). Excellent value.

REDS

***1983 Chinon, Baronnie Madeleine, Couly Duteil (pounds 5.99). Mature Loire red.

***1985 Garrafeira TE (pounds 5.99). Tannic.

**Tesco Winemaker Argentinian Malbec (pounds 2.99). Incredible value, soft plummy-fruity.

**1988 Santa Rita Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon (pounds 4.49). Attractive, slightly oaky.

**Barramundi Shiraz-Merlot, South East Australia (pounds 3.69). Concentrated and tarry.

*1989 Borba Alentejo (pounds 3.29). Unusually soft, very fruity Portuguese red.

*1990 Tesco Monica di Sardegna (pounds 3.29). Fairly high tannin offset by cherry.

*1990 Grand Carat, Vin de Pays du Comte Tolosan (pounds 2.75). Delicious, lightish.

OTHER BEST BUYS THIS MONTH

DRY WHITES UNDER pounds 3

*1991 Oddbins White (pounds 2.99 Oddbins). Very fresh and fruity, lemony and appley.

REDS UNDER pounds 3

*1990 Domaine Comte de Margon, Vin de Pays des Cotes de Thongues (pounds 2.99 Fullers). Lovely, soft, rich flavour.

*Val du Torgan, Vin de Pays de Torgan, Producteurs de Mont Tauch (pounds 2.85 Thresher, Bottoms Up and Wine Rack). Very flavourful, medium-bodied.

*Sainsbury's Bulgarian Merlot, Haskovo (pounds 2.85). Quite rich, raisiny-fruity.

DRY WHITES UNDER pounds 5

***1991 Montana Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (pounds 4.99 Thresher, Bottoms Up and Wine Rack). Sancerre-like.

**St Michael Frascati Superiore (pounds 4.49 Marks & Spencer). Surprisingly appealing and characterful for a Frascati.

REDS UNDER pounds 5

**1989 Ciro Rosso Classico, Librandi (pounds 3.99 Asda). A Southern Italian red.

**1990 Santa Christina, Vino da Tavola Toscana, Antinori (pounds 4.99 Thresher, Wine Rack and Bottoms Up). Firm, elegant.

**1989 Faustino Rivero Ulecia Rioja Crianza (pounds 4.69 Unwins). Soft, enticing Rioja, remarkably mature.

DRY SPARKLING WINES UNDER pounds 6

*1989 Domaine de L'Amoure, Blanquette de Limoux (pounds 5.99 Unwins). Soft, fresh, dry.

*Sainsbury's Prosecco, Extra Dry (pounds 4.59). Attractive Italian fizz.

SWEET SPARKLING WINES UNDER pounds 6

***1991 Moscato d'Asti, Viticoltori dell' Acquese (pounds 2.89 Thresher, Bottoms Up and Wine Rack). Only just sparkling, with a slight purr of a fizz.

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