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The New Bordeaux

Alphabet Wines at Spar by Stephen Barrett

by | Latest Plymouth, Living

In this guest post, Stephen Barret discusses the Alphabet Wines range from Spar.

W is for Wine and a spankingly fresh parcel of delights from Spar convenience stores.

Now there’s a name – Convenience Stores – we all know what they mean or stand for; lots of us use them but have you ever considered buying wine from them?

Apart from the usual brands that seem to be the staple for most of them it was a great surprise to me to find my long-time wine colleague Philippa Carr MW has put together a range of quality wines with a no-nonsense livery of – yes you’ve guessed it, it’s the Alphabet!

12 Samples to Sip

Philippa has assembled twelve single (grape) varietal wines from France, Romania, South Africa, Spain and Italy labelling them with their prime alphabet capital letter smack bang in the middle of the white label. As the man said “it does what is says on the tin!” but does it and would you purchase this amazingly simple wine for a mere £6 a bottle? Some of you won’t, some of you will! If your cash strapped and require a decent drop these wines could be for you.

Having 12 samples to sip I vox popped (with wine) some known wine drinkers at an Art Exhibition Preview, shared with neighbours over supper and asked around if anyone had tasted or more to the point enjoyed them!

Philippa has some history in a previous Supermarket chain with her award winning Atlas series from Asda. I travelled to Romania with her 18 months ago where she tasted and tasted, talked about the blends of different vats, and would the wines last for eighteen months etc. These are questions that the wine maker loves to hear as the best samples are always offered, tasted in situ then back at home (for authenticity) and finally negotiating a price point. Labels notes followed by the reds.

Label Notes

“P G” Pinot Grigio – 2016 Pavia, Italy – zippy and designed, capsules chosen and on the shelves.
So to the wines! I will offer the white wine tasting fresh with classical apple and pear notes. This is a 12% wine for casual sipping.

“PG” Pinot Grigio Rose – 2017 Romania – Harvested from ripe Pinot Grigio grapes when the skins sport a gentle pink hue. The resulting wine is crushed, left on the skins to taint the wine pink. Again a lovely off-dry gentle red fruited wine with distinctive pear notes to the finish – proved a hit.

“SB” Sauvignon Blanc – 2016 France – hailing from a quality producer in the Pays D’Oc this Sauvignon Blanc is classically gently. Green and grassy and not at all pungent but with a seaside French (not New Zealand) style. Bring on the Oysters!

“CB” Chenin Blanc – 2017 South Africa – From tight, ripe, clean, mechanically harvested grapes of the Western Cape comes this weighty Chenin offering depth of flavour Great to sip on its own.

“C” Chardonnay – 2016 France – another ripe and delicious medium- bodied Chardonnay from Pays D’Oc. Beautifully made with ripe fruit showing trademark creaminess. This is the Chardonnay for non – drinking Chardonnay drinkers! Go try….

“PN” Pinot Noir 2016 – France – bottled and probably sourced from the Loire Valley where Pinot Noir comes with a defined Raspberry note. This does just that so serve it on the cool side with gentle dishes for best results.

“M” Merlot 2016 – France – classy, gentle, spicy plum notes are all over this wine. A trusty sipper no food required to enjoy this.

“M” Malbec 2016 – France – Richer and dryer than the Merlot, blackberry notes and chewy tannins shout for a warming casserole to match.

“T” Tempranillo 2016 – Spain – A cool Spanish grape offering a Blueberry scent over a spicy richness. Chill for summer sipping with tasty Tapas.

“G” Garnacha 2016 Spain – A whopper of a wine, just the job for those of you yearning for a N. Spanish wine of quality. Rich and full flavoured.

“S” Shiraz 2016 France – A rather different style of wine has appeared in this cross – regional Shiraz. This one is for casual drinking and great with the last of the season’s game dishes.

“C” Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 – ripe blackcurrant notes define this well-made fullish wine from Pays D’Oc grapes. I saved the best ‘til last! Mouth-filling and elegant, all rolled into one.

So there you have it. Alphabet wines from Spar all very well made and all just £6.00/£6.50 (at time of writing, check shelves for latest prices) for 75 cl. They get my vote…


About Stephen Barrett

Stephen BarrettThis is a guest article written by Stephen Barrett. Stephen Barrett is a Wine, Food and Travel Writer based in Plymouth.

Stephen welcomes correspondence via his website stephenbarrett.com

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