Cellar notes #45: The best online bargains

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Supermarkets are using the internet to sell small parcels of quality wines for which they wouldn't have shelf space. And it's happening more and more.

Supermarkets are using the internet to sell small parcels of quality wines for which they wouldn't have shelf space. And it's happening more and more.

The latest offer at sainsburys.co.uk includes a mouthwatering dry Spanish white for summer in the 2003 Ermita Veracruz Verdejo (£7.99). Intense and sauvignon-like, this is a richly textured dry white from Rueda, whose zesty, grapefruit-like richness could almost be mistaken for a Kiwi sauvignon. In New Zealand itself, the 2002 Spy Valley Pinot Noir, from Marlborough (£8.99), offers the ripe, juicy, cherryish fruit of burgundy's pinot noir grape.

Despite the wacky name, there are no gimmicks about Tesco Wine Warehouse's 2003 Starvedog Lane No Oak Chardonnay - £44.95 for six at tesco.com, that's 25 per cent off. This unoaked chardonnay from Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills has the peachy richness and opulence of first-rate Aussie chardonnay combined with the freshness and steely intensity of chablis-style dry white. Tesco.com also features a variety of clarets and burgundies not available in store.

Talk of clarets brings us to www.majestic.co.uk whose wheeler-dealer buying director, Tony Mason, has just plundered a massive Swiss cellar to pick up 108,839 halves, bottles and magnums of Bordeaux, ranging from 1994 to 2000. You'll find a few on the website, but the widest range is on offer at Majestic's Fine Wine store in London's St John's Wood, with a (dwindling) selection of cru bourgeois and second wines from the top classified châteaux at a branch near you.

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