The UK’s largest supermarket retailer isn’t resting on its laurels, and showed at its recent press tasting of the spring/summer 2023 range that it is going from strength to strength in terms of its wine offering. The tasting showcased more than 150 wines – it was only a snapshot of the total range but it included a number of new vintages, and 30 wines that were completely new to the range, many perfect for summer drinking.
In a wine range as large as Tesco’s, you’ll always come across some wines that offer little interest. But as our recommendations below demonstrate, there’s genuine value, and excitement, to be found on the UK supermarket’s shelves.
Tesco Finest own-labels
As usual, Tesco’s own-label Finest wines, made in partnership with a variety of respected producers and cooperatives, feature prominently in our recommendations. The retailer works hard to ensure that these expressions of classic styles are priced competitively and show good typicity, and they’re a great way to explore different regional styles from both Old and New World, at all price levels. Highlights in the current line-up include the fragrant and fruity Prosecco Valdobbiadene DOCG NV, the vibrant, citrus-scented Viñas del Rey Albariño, the keenly priced Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and the fuller bodied Trilogy Malbec.
There are many leading estates behind the Finest own-label wines – Catena, for instance, who makes the Trilogy Malbec name checked above, and De Bortoli, renowned for its sweet wine and the big name behind the delicious and great-value Dessert Semillon. But beyond the own-labels, Tesco’s range includes many more wines from some of the world’s most respected producers, including three more great names from Australia in this selection: Penfolds (with its Bin 28 Shiraz), Wynns in Australia’s Coonawarra, famous for its terra rossa soils (here with the new vintage of The Siding Cabernet Sauvignon), and Howard Park, here with a brand-new-to-Tesco, keenly priced Margaret River Cabernet. Meanwhile, California Rhône ranger Bonny Doon is fielding its cracking New World take on red and white Rhône blends. These are all top estates with a great reputation, and worth seeking out.
It’s taken its time but finally the sun seems to have come out, and we’re all looking forward to lazy days in the garden, or eating al fresco, with a nice glass of something chilled to hand. And happily there’s plenty to choose from here.
Looking for something sparkling? The new Cava listing from Segura Viudas impressed with its sleek packaging, and toasty, yellow apple fruit flavours. It’s made using the Champagne method, but at Cava prices you can afford to crack open a bottle on the spur of the moment.
Light and refreshing whites include the delicious, peachy and steely dry Riesling from leading German estate Schloss Vollrads, and Cono Sur’s New World take on Riesling, from Chile’s cool-climate Bío Bío Valley. Meanwhile, the Petaluma White Label Chardonnay is made in a deliciously approachable and not overworked style, while LFE’s Gran Reserva Sauvignon Blanc from Leyda in Chile is bursting with green pea, asparagus and gooseberry flavours, perfect to accompany a goat’s cheese salad.
The rosé boom in popularity shows no sign of abating, and you’ll find a whole spectrum of shades on the Tesco shelves, ranging from pale Provençal to more deeply coloured. If pale is your thing, Gérard Bertrand’s Côte des Roses from the Languedoc is a good-value buy, made in a breezy Mediterranean style. At around the same price, Domaine d’Arbousset’s Tavel Rosé is a deeper shade of pink, a fuller style but still fresh, juicy and dry – paler definitely isn’t superior when it comes to rosé, so do experiment with these darker shades.
Just because it’s summer, doesn’t mean you need to steer clear of red. If you’re looking for a lighter, crunchier style of red – something that you could chill slightly and enjoy perhaps with a plate of charcuterie – don’t miss Tesco’s new Loire Cabernet Franc, Les Terrases, from the appellation of St Nicolas de Bourgeuil. It’s full of lively berry fruit and a hint of pepper, and only 12.5% alcohol – well done Tesco for sourcing such a great value example of the style, and hopefully it will lead those who aren’t familiar with Loire reds to explore the category further.
Lastly, a shout-out for white Port. Don’t switch off at the word Port. Cockburn’s white Port is delicious, and a great aperitif for summer, either served neat or mixed with tonic. An original alternative to a gin and tonic – just add a sprig of mint or a slice of lime.
Top wine buys at Tesco:
The recommendations that follow are a mix of new wines and new vintages tasted by Amy Wislocki in May 2023 at Tesco’s Spring/Summer 2023 press tasting in London, and wines tasted by the Decanter tastings team at previous press tastings that are still available. All bottle prices are correct at time of publication.