Wine: single-serve bottles

25 October 2019

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WHEN I was doing my weekly shop in Sainsbury’s recently, my eye was caught by the range of single-serve bottles of wine that were on offer. As a consumer, my experience of them has largely been of quarter-bottles on airlines, but here there was a selection of quarter-bottles, cans, and glasses. This suggests that there is an ever-increasing demand for just a glass of wine at home.

What excited me particularly was that a number of these wines were of distinct quality: among the quarter-bottles were a couple being marketed under the Sainsbury’s “Taste the Difference” label. These were the Vinedos Barrihuelo Crianza Rioja 2016 (£2), and a Pinot Grigio 2018 from Trentino (£2.25). There was also the New Zealand star Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (£2.25). In none of these cases is too high a premium being paid for the size of the bottle.

In 250ml cans there is an interesting range under the Vendra brand, all selling for £2.50. This comprises a Chenin Blanc from South Africa, a French Malbec rosé, a Chilean Pinot Noir, and a Merlot Vin de Pays d’Oc. There is also a canned French Sauvignon Blanc under the Nice label selling at £2.80. From Italy, Minivino offers 187ml glasses of Chardonnay, Merlot, and Rosé for £2.

Lovers of sparkling wine are not forgotten with a Fairtrade Taste the Difference Moscato Rosé for £2.50, a TTD Prosecco Conegliano for £3, and Lanson Champagne for £9.

Although the proportion of wine that is drunk in these sizes may currently be small, it is exciting that it is being recognised as a distinct market. When one takes into account the extra costs involved in producing small sizes, I think there is real value for money here.

At the other end of the scale, Sainsbury’s do not ignore the magnum lover, as long as he or she likes red or rosé wine. For the former there is the Spanish Carta Roja Jumilla 2013, made from the Monastrell grape. At £11 the magnum, this is a great warming wine for winter drinking. The same might also be said for their two Malbecs from Argentina: Taste the Difference Fairtrade 2018 (£15 the magnum), and Zuccardi Mountain Vineyards 2015 (£17.50).

The drinker who buys wine by the bottle is not neglected, and there are some interesting wines available. My three choices among the red wines are: Condado de Haza 2015 (£13.50), from the Ribera del Duero region of Spain; from Mendoza in Argentina, Clos De Los Siete 2016 (£14.50); and, from Marlborough, in New Zealand, Villa Maria Pinot Noir 2017 (£15), with its rich, soft red fruit flavours.

For the white-wine drinker, here are two rather different wines: from the south of France, Baron De Guers Picpoul de Pinet 2018 (£8), and the TTD Austrian Riesling 2018 (£8.75).

At whatever size you wish to choose your wine, Sainsbury’s has much to offer as we begin to contemplate the run-up to Christmas.

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