FOOD & DRINK / Grapevine: Kathryn McWhirter's pick of the month's best buys

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The Independent Culture
THREE years ago you'd have been best advised to avoid Gateway's wine departments. But since the appointment of a new buyer two years ago, the quality of their wines has been vastly upgraded and they now range from sound to very good indeed. Gateway's new up-market sister-chain, Somerfield, stocks the whole range of 300, while Gateway, Food Giant and David Greg have smaller selections. (Wines labelled 'Somerfield' may also be available in the other outlets mentioned.)


*** 1987 Chablis, Cave des Vignerons de Chablis, Somerfield ( pounds 6.95). Rich, honeyed, flowery-grassy Chablis at a very fair price.

*** 1983 Oestricher Doosberg Riesling Kabinett, Schloss Schonborn ( pounds 4.99). Mature, honeyed German wine with a refreshing acidity.

** 1990 Somontano Montisierra Blanco ( pounds 2.99 until 17 August, then pounds 3.25). Crisp, lemony, floral and honeyed, unusually characterful Spanish white from the Pyrenean foothills.

* Baden Dry ( pounds 3.25). Honeyed and crisp, with gentle exotic fruit flavours.

* 1991 Bairrada Branco, Caves Alianca ( pounds 3.15). Appealingly fragrant, orangey, flowery wine from Portugal.

* 1991 Pinot Grigio del Veneto, Pasqua, Somerfield ( pounds 2.89). Excellent value, with food or without, light, spicy, lemony, musky Italian.


*** 1988 Raimat Tempranillo ( pounds 6.49). Rich, plummy, savoury Spanish red with toasty oak flavour.

* 1991 Merlot, Domaine de la Magdelaine, Vin de Pays des Collines de la Moure ( pounds 2.95). Very fruity, claret-like red with a hint of chocolatey flavour, for food.

* 1991 Oak-aged Syrah, Vin de Pays d'Oc ( pounds 2.85). Dark, spicy, raspberry fruit with hints of coffee and leather and firm tannin that requires food.

* 1991 Cabernet Sauvignon del Veneto, Pasqua ( pounds 3.25). Light but richly flavoured, grassily aromatic Cabernet made near Venice.



** 1991 Rowan Brook Sauvignon, Chile ( pounds 2.99 Asda). Remarkably full for this price, fresh, crisp and fruity.

* 1991 Culemborg Colombard, South Africa ( pounds 2.99 Waitrose). Well balanced, crisp, and fruity, reminiscent of apples and quinces.

REDS UNDER pounds 3

** 1991 Domaine des Fontaines, Vin de Pays d'Oc, Cepage Merlot ( pounds 2.85 Waitrose). Wonderful value, with concentrated cherry and plum fruit.

** Vin de Pays des Coteaux de Quercy Rouge ( pounds 2.95 Co-op). Lively, with a touch of tannin and strawberry fruit and an earthy and smoky character.


** 1991 Domaine Lapeyrouse Grenache en Vert, Corbieres ( pounds 3.99 Majestic). Fresh and fruity, with hints of lavender, lemon and spice.

** 1991 Chardonnay, Vin de Pays d'Oc, HDR Wines ( pounds 4.99 Sainsbury's). Young, pineappley, with a hint of oak.

REDS UNDER pounds 5

** 1990 Bourgeuil, Domaine du Petit Souper ( pounds 4.95 Fullers). Concentrated red, raspberry and grassy flavours.

** 1990 Berri Estates South Australian Cabernet Shiraz ( pounds 4.29 Augustus Barnett). Ripe blackcurrant and raspberry flavours, with a hint of leather.

** 1987 Raimat Abadia ( pounds 4.99 Co-op, Leos). Rich, blackcurranty and a strong flavour of new oak.