Anthony Rose: 'The cannier wine retailers have placed orders for South American wine ahead of World Cup'
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.
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