Anthony Rose: 'There will be many good offers in the run-up to Christmas, but Waitrose’s will be hard to trump'

From a small but highly competitive shortlist comprising Sainsbury's, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose, the winner of this year's Decanter Supermarket of the Year was Waitrose. No surprises there. Waitrose won the gong last year and it's actually shifted into overdrive since then with a stronger selection from Australia and New Zealand. Forgive me, then, if I sound like an ad, but from today until this Wednesday, Waitrose will be offering 25 per cent off when you buy six bottles of any wine, mixed or unmixed, including fortified and sparkling wines, and delivery is free. Don't live near a Waitrose? Visit online at for a 12-bottle case with free delivery.

There will be many good offers from wine retailers in the run-up to Christmas, but Waitrose's will be hard to trump. The fact that its market share is 4.2 per cent but 6.5 per cent on wine (and 10 per cent on champagne) speaks volumes about the breadth and quality of the wine range. There are wines from over 24 countries, including Kosovo, Montenegro, Georgia, Lebanon and Cyprus, and many are made from locally indigenous grapes such as maratheftiko, kotsifali, moschofilero, traminac, plavac mali, vranac and vilana. This isn't a guarantee of quality in itself, but it shows that the Waitrose wine team is unafraid to stick its nose where others fear to tread.

It may be stating the obvious to say that a quarter of the price off a range of 1,200 wines in its 234 stores (700 in a typical one) across England, Scotland and Wales is precisely the sort of boost we're all looking for at this time of year. The cheaper the wine on the list, the less margin Waitrose makes from it, so you may need to search the website carefully for some of the wines that, at 25 per cent off, verge on theft-by-consumer. Take the 2010 Whale Caller Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon, £3.99, a Cape blend whose bright damsony freshness makes it an affordable glugger for the festive season, or the refreshingly appley, mini-Vouvray-like 2009 Ackerman Chenin Blanc, Vin de France, £4.99.

Waitrose likes to trumpet its expanded "entry-level" range labelled Virtue, but to my mind the best value in Waitrose's offer lies in its finer wines. At its recent autumn tasting, I found the 2009 Domaine Naudet Sancerre, £12.49, exceptional for its nettley-aromatic quality and intense gooseberry juiciness.

White burgundy included the mouthwateringly crisp, steely-dry 2009 Valmaison Chablis, £11.99, while the most delicious new white was the exceptional 2008 Domaine Saint Amant, La Tabardonne, Côtes du Rhône Villages Blanc, £12.49, a viognier/roussanne blend whose peachy opulence underscored by toasty oak makes this a sexy beast.

Seductive reds start with a ripe, black cherry-like gamay with a berry-like snap from the 2009 Château de Chénas 2009 Moulin à Vent, £10.99, with a red Burgundy counterpart from the Côte Chalonnaise in the mulberry-perfumed, delicately spiced 2008 Givry, Domaine Besson, Le Haut Colombier, £14.99. Bridging the old and the New World, the idiosyncratic 2003 Chateau Musar from Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, £17.99, is a cherryish, Rhône-style blend with complex balsamic characters. There can be little that's better gift-wrapped in time for Christmas than the 2006 Schubert Syrah, Wairarapa, £29.99, a Kiwi syrah with northern Rhône-like pepper and spice and a pristine blackberryish fruit quality.

Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Life and Style
food + drink
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Affiliate Marketing Manager / Affiliate Manager

    £50 - 60k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Affiliate Marketing Manager / Affiliate Mana...

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Day In a Page

    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits