The High Street Edit…. The Coop

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

They say it’s what’s on the inside that counts but when it comes to wine the first taste of most bottles we buy is with our eyes. For me there is no denying that the label, bottle, closure and price all contribute to my first impressions and overall enjoyment of a wine but with the exception of the Harpers Design Awards, which judges wines on initial impact and overall aesthetics, even the most respected wine competitions are held blind which means judges are critiquing wines using a system completely alien to the reality of actually buying bottle..

What we need is a half way house; a competition that judges wines holistically, to ensure that packaging, wine quality and price are aligned so that what we see is what we get. The Coop has done well this year for wine quality and design, picking up a plethora of medals for both genres. Here are three of their honestly priced, well presented reds that are quite literally all in good taste.

1. Saluti Sangiovese 2012, Rubicone, Italy – RRP £4.99
I thought the days of drinkable £4.99 wines were gone but this cheeky little tinto proves otherwise. Mulberry, plum, rhubarb and lavender pez sweets fill your glass, it’s as cheap and cheerful as you could ever hope to find, but in the nicest possible way. An everyday glugger that’ll be hard to mismatch with anything.
2. Jour de Nuit Merlot/ Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, Pays d’Oc, France – RRP £9.99
This robust southern french red won a Harpers Gold for its ‘clear, clean and eye-catching design’. The wine inside has chunky tannins to match the hefty weight bottle, it’s fresh with spicy purple fruit characters, sweet liquorice, violets and a colour as deep as the nuit is dark. Try with hearty stews and red meat dishes.
3. Louis Jadot Fleurie ‘Poncereau’ 2011, Beaujolais, France – RRP £14.49
Worth opening a bit in advance to allow the wine to mellow and for the blue plum, raspberry coulis and pencil shaving nuances to express themselves. It’s one of the more serious Beaujolais cru and has the presentation and depth of flavour to prove it’s a classic and classy little number.


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