Wine: Here's to red noses all round

Thanks to Wine Relief, selling in volume is, for once, about more than pure profit

FROM NOW until Red Nose Day, 11 March, the major UK wine retailers are chipping in 10 per cent of the price of selected wines to Wine Relief, part of Comic Relief. Most have got their campaigns under way, while Asda gets under starter's orders next Saturday, and M&S and Morrisons the Monday after.

How much does Wine Relief achieve? The underlying causes of suffering may be too complex to be resolved by money alone, but aid clearly helps. According to Comic Relief, running costs met from government and corporate sources allow all funds raised to go towards alleviating poverty and suffering, through projects such as Send a Cow in Uganda and the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture.

The more they sell, the more they raise, so many of the retailers are concentrating on big brands (allowing them to go halves with the supplier). So, the likes of Kumala, Gallo, Wolf Blass, Mateus Rose and KWV feature heavily. Uninspiring, maybe, but selling in volume has a motive that, for once, goes beyond pure profit.

Other retailers have chosen wines they're proud to promote. They may not sell quite the same quantities, but they are offering the more interesting wines. Arthur Rackham, for instance, is showing two of its suppliers from the Adelaide Hills, one of whom, Longview Vineyards, produces the sumptuous 2002 Adelaide Hills Shiraz, with notes of coffee and tar and a juicy mouthful of peppery, brambly fruit for a reasonably priced pounds 11.99.

Booths too has carefully selected its Red Nose Day wines. All four reds are good value, starting with a bargain-basement 2001 Negroamaro Tenute del Sole, Salento (pounds 3.99), whose smoky, burnt nose and ripe, damson-plum fruitiness reek of Italy's hot south. Equally good value is the 2003 Les Ruffes, La Sauvageonne, Coteaux du Languedoc (pounds 4.99), a meaty southern- French blend stuffed with blackberry fruit and seasoned with spice. From Spain, the 2002 Inurrieta Navarra (pounds 5.99) is spicy and juicy in equal parts with a rich topping of vanilla oakiness in a rioja-esque style. And Jose Mourinho himself would get into Sir Alex's good books with the Portuguese 2003 Grand'Arte Trincadeira (pounds 6.99).

M&S deserves credit for its effort: the 2004 Lost Sheep Chardonnay (pounds 4.99) is a ripe, tropical Aussie chardonnay with restrained white burgundy-like fruit, and the crisp, grassy 2004 Gum Sauvignon Blanc (pounds 9.99) from the Adelaide Hills is a dry, aromatic white redolent of gooseberry and tropical fruit in an opulent Australia-meets-Sancerre style.

Oddbins too has a couple of juicy whites: the herbaceous and gooseberryish Zonnebloem Sauvignon Blanc (pounds 5.99) and the smoky, apricoty 2003 Etoile Filante Viognier (pounds 6.99).

Elsewhere, a handful of own-labels stand out from the big-brand crowd. The 2003 Sainsbury's Classic Selection Western Australian Sauvignon Blanc (pounds 6.99) is a characterful, Graves-like blend from Capel Vale - the sumptuous gooseberry fruit is utterly juicy and appealing. Its 2001 Classic Selection Douro from Quinta do Crasto (pounds 6.99) oozes damson plum richness. And the blackcurrant-sweet fruit of the 2003 Forest Hill Classic Selection Western Australian Cabernet Merlot is well worth pounds 6.99.

Still in Australia, Thresher does a good job of bringing shiraz to life with the 2002 Origin Reserve Barossa Valley Shiraz (pounds 8.99), a smoky, liquorice- spicy affair crammed with blackberry fruit and the surest way to bring out the colour in your cheeks (and nose) on 11 March. E

Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins win the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
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 General

    Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

    £6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

    Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

    Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

    £12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

    Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

    £32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

    Day In a Page

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor