With the festive season upon us, Waitrose & Partner’s wine shelves are already showing a spirit of celebration with an interesting and diverse sparkling, sweet and fortified selection. But the retailer’s autumn/winter line up also has fantastic everyday-drinking additions.
This is the time of the year when retailers usually invest firmly on their sparkling ranges. Waitrose’s bubbly section is looking as healthy as usual, with great options across styles and price points. Champagne lovers will be spoiled for choice – from Waitrose’s own Blanc de Noirs Brut (see below) at £25.99 to Krug’s Grand Cuvée 170ème Édition Brut at £195 – but it’s well worth looking beyond the classic French region.
French Crémants, such as Cave de Lugny’s, Spanish Cava, and South African Cap Classique are great traditional method alternatives of undeniable quality and value.
Waitrose also continues to invest firmly in the English sparkling offering with cuvées from Hambledon and Gusbourne showing particularly well.
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Fortified diversity and value
Waitrose’s fortified range goes from strength to strength, with consolidated diversity and quality at fantastic value. Outstanding releases from iconic names – such as the superb Apostoles VORS Palo Cortado from González Byass – sit alongside the must-buy own label options. At just £7.69 the Fino and the Manzanilla deserve a place in every fridge.
On the Port front the choice is also fantastic. Standouts include vintages from Warre’s (Quinta da Cavadinha 2005) and Taylor’s (Quinta de Vargellas 2013).
Most Waitrose customers will be familiar with the ‘£10 Fine Wine’ which runs every Christmas and Easter. It will again be a unique opportunity to grab some truly fine bottles – such as Villa Maria’s Reserve Southern Clays Sauvignon Blanc or and Terroir Daronton’s Édition Limitée Rasteau – for a tenner.
There will be, however, other great buying opportunities with many of the wines below available, for limited periods, with a 20 to 25% discount.
Classics and discoveries
Buying wine always involves a balancing act between sticking to the classics one loves and venturing into unexplored territories. Waitrose is a great place for both. Winter cellars will want a value Chianti Classico (see Meleti‘s below), a reliable Rioja Gran Reserva (El Piadoso’s will be part of the ‘£10 Fine Wine’ offering) or a classic white Burgundy. But there are more alternative options deserving of attention. Like the excellent, moreish Greystone Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc or Johann Wolf’s very classy Pinot Noir.
Waitrose’s Love & Founded range remains a source of interesting and great value wines from lesser-known grape varieties, well worth discovering. The ever-changing range currently includes an elegantly saline Loin d’Oeil and a vibrant Albarossa. Delicious, interesting, excellent value and perfect conversation starters.
Waitrose & Partners: top buys this Autumn
All wines tasted 27 September 2022. Prices do not reflect any special or multi-buy offers.
Some wines might only be available from late October and/or in selected stores.
Wines grouped by style and ordered by score, in descending order.