Given that the World Cup will be kicking off soon, the cannier wine retailers have placed their orders for South American vino early, so that those of us without a head for caipirinha can enjoy a bit of South American sunshine in a glass. Sainsbury's got the ball rolling with its all-encompassing southern hemisphere wine tasting; while Marks & Spencer focused more specifically on the wines of South America.
Marks & Sparks, however, failed to offer its Brazilian sparkler, Coconova Brut. We still await news of this much-anticipated blend from the São Francisco Valley. They compensated, in part, with a sparkling effort from the Carnival Sparkling Moscato, Saltón, £9.99. Nul points for originality of name, but if you like the sherberty lemonade and grapey sweetness of mosacto d'asti, then this perfumed, lowish-alcohol wine is for you. Just remember to chill well first.
The best of the M&S whites were from Chile. The 2013 Rapel Mestiza Viognier Marsanne from Emiliana, £9.99, is a crowd-pleasing floral dry white which is endowed with a full-bodied peachiness. While its elderflower-infused, gooseberryish 2013 Secano Estate Sauvignon Blanc, from Viña Leyda, £8.99, is as herbal, zesty and refreshingly dry as Sancerre.
Sainsbury's rivalled M&S for value, if not quite quality, with its herby, passion-fruity 2013 Winemakers' Selection Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, £7. But the star of the Sainsbury's whites line-up was the 2012 Taste The Difference Mudgee Chardonnay, £8.49, which was all juicy tropical fruit and mouth-watering pineapple freshness.
There's no contest between the two on the Brazil and Argentina red wine front. In the M&S range, Argentina scored highest with the brilliant 2009 Trapiche Terroir Series Malbec Single Vineyard, Jorge Miralles, £32, a violet-scented, berry-and-plum-fruit red. Hot on its heels is the Cornas-like 2011 Lucero Syrah, £15.99. It is rich, meaty, gamey and full of bittersweet chocolate and blackberry. Then there is the Crozes-like 2011 Los Molles Syrah, Limarí from Viña Tabali, £9.99.
More nimble on its feet for spring and summer sipping is Familia Zuccardi's 2013 Caleidoscopio, a distinctive blend of Sangiovese, Touriga Nacional and Caladoc, which is unoaked to bring maximum zing to the wine's vivid sweetness. The 2013 Intenso Teroldego, £9.99, M&S's red from Brazil's Saltón in Serra Gaúcha, put on a good display with a dark cherry scent and flavour. It rang rings around most of Sainsbury's reds, apart, that is, from the minty and cherry-like 2013 Taste the Difference Chilean Cabernet sauvignon, £7.99 and a spice-laden 2013 Winemakers' Selection Australian Petit Verdot, £5.Reuse content