FOOD & DRINK / Grapevine: Kathryn McWhirter on Spar

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The Independent Culture
YOUR local Spar, being an independent franchised retailer, doesn't have to stock wines from the Spar central buyers - but many more have done so since a new Master of Wine arrived five years ago. Some stores supplement the central range with wines they buy themselves - which may be brilliant, or from the cash-and-carry. Quality, even among the central range, is variable, but there are some good wines. Here are some of the best buys.


**1991 Bordeaux Cuvee d'Alban Dulong ( pounds 5.49). Full, ripe, peachy wine with an attractive, gentle oak flavour.

**1992 Sable View Chardonnay ( pounds 3.99). Ripe, honeyed and buttery.

*1992 Sauvignon Vin de Pays d'Oc, Hugh Ryman ( pounds 3.79). Tangy, ripe, and floral.


*1991 Frankovka ( pounds 3.25). A light, fragrant, grassy-fruity red with a touch of tannin, made in the Slovak Republic under British supervision.

*1992 Claret ( pounds 3.19). Simple, attractive summer claret, light and grassy.

*1988 Bulgarian Cabernet Sauvignon, Korten Region ( pounds 3.19). Full, blackcurranty, honeyed, slightly tobaccoey red, with mature flavours but still a lot of fruit.

*1990 Sable View Cabernet Sauvignon ( pounds 3.99). Fuller, blackcurranty, slightly tarry, with some tannin.


WHITES UNDER pounds 3.50

**1992 Chardonnay Gyongos Estate ( pounds 3.35 Thresher, Wine Rack, Bottoms Up, Sainsbury's). Lovely, crisp, honeyed Chardonnay, made in Hungary by an Australian.

*Domaine St Alain, Vin de Pays

des Cotes de Tarn ( pounds 3.29 Tesco). Light, appley-crisp wine with a

lovely honeyed character.

Comtesse de Lorancy, Vin de Table Blanc ( pounds 2.29 Liquorsave). Crisp and lemony, good for the price.

REDS UNDER pounds 3.50

*1989 Lovico Suhindol Reserve Merlot ( pounds 2.99 Sainsbury's). Coconutty oak and jammy, blackberry fruit.

*Val du Torgan, Vin de Pays du Torgan ( pounds 2.99 Thresher Wine Shops, Wine Rack, Bottoms Up). Excellent value, rich, smoky and raspberry-fruity. With some tannin.

*Vin de Pays de L'Aude ( pounds 2.99 Marks & Spencer). Light and raspberry-fruity with figgy flavours and a savoury character.


**1992 Chateau du Rival, Bordeaux Blanc ( pounds 3.75 Waitrose). A very attractive combination of grassy, gooseberry flavours and gentle oak.

**1992 Touraine Sauvignon, Domaine Gibault ( pounds 3.99 Waitrose). Lovely, light, floral white.

**1992 Chateau de la Jaubertie, Bergerac ( pounds 4.99 Thresher, Wine Rack, Bottoms Up). Crisp, creamy white with fresh, grassy flavour.

*Chardonnay del Piemonte, Castelvero ( pounds 3.79 Victoria Wine). Fresh and peachy.

1992 Sainsbury's Vin de Pays d'Oc, Domaine St-Marc, Sauvignon ( pounds 3.59). Fresh, crisp and creamy, with gentle, gooseberry fruit.

REDS UNDER pounds 5

***1991 Merlot, Lageder ( pounds 4.99 Oddbins). Rich, ripe, soft red from north-east Italy with flavouring of raisin and honey.

***1989 Copertino Riserva ( pounds 3.95 Sainsbury's). Raisiny, figgy and concentrated.

**1992 Domaine Barthes Syrah, Coteaux du Languedoc ( pounds 4.59 Thresher, Bottoms Up, Wine Rack). Yummy, richly raspberry and blackberry-fruity, with a touch of tannin.

**Cooks Endeavour Cabernet/

Pinot Noir, New Zealand ( pounds 3.89 Victoria Wine). Blackcurranty and slightly savoury.