If the Alsace Pinot Gris is my ‘white’ choice for September, the ‘red’ is in a much humbler bracket – a real surprise discovery from the hinterland of a supermarket bottom shelf! There’s no elevated classiness here, merely good value at a bargain price, and I can’t see anything wrong in that. One is probably right to be a bit suspicious of any wine selling in the £5 bracket– but my discovery certainly avoids any pejorative suggestion of its being ‘vicarage mouthwash’ … sorry, vicars, though I confess my own father was one. In terms of the wording on its house label the wine ‘does exactly what it says on the tin’: Waitrose Chilean Soft & Juicy. A Merlot based blend from that country’s Central Valley, a wine which turns out to be a dependably honest partner for simple grills of meat, lamb especially, I’d guess. The smaller percentage of Cabernet riding shotgun in the wine gives the wine an initial firmness, but the overall impression that eventually develops in the mouth is of the fleshy soft juiciness advertised, with suggestions of a chocolatey depth of fruit on the back palate. One doesn’t expect much complexity at this price point, neither does one find any, but this bargain ‘find’ has a good typicity of fruit and the wine is well assembled. Honestly made short-term drinking – generously coloured, and with a typically rounded taste that even boasts a good finish too – and all for just a fiver a bottle. Enough said.
Country of Origin: Chile (Central Valley)
Name of Wine: Waitrose ‘Soft & Juicy’ Chilean Red
Style: As described above
Alcohol: 13% Vol.
Price: £ 4.99
John Ducker – Member of the Association of Wine Writers