The Morrisons Taste Test

POSTED ON 06/04/2013

The Morrisons’ annual press tasting is normally to be approached with a degree of trepidation. Its insipid selection of brands has never been much to write home about and its own-label range even less worth the second class stamp on the envelope. But the Leeds-based national supermarket chain with its 479 stores has been up to something. It has carried out a 2000-strong survey in which its key finding was that only one in four of us is confident we will enjoy the wine we buy. Since we spend £6 billion a year on wine, and since most of it results in risky purchases, Morrisons has devised, da-da, The Taste Test to accompany the new Morrisons Cellar.

Answer three simple questions and you’ll find out if your preference is for ‘sweet’, ‘fresh’, ‘smooth’ or ‘intense’. Armed with your flavour profile, you will then ‘confidently and easily’ find the wine you’re most likely to enjoy. Normally, I am immune to such surveys as so much marketing hogwash. I wasn’t encouraged when I took The Test to find myself labelled as ‘smooth’. ‘Intense’ or at the very least ‘fresh’, I had hoped, but I must be in denial. ‘Smooth’, says Morrisons, harrumph, is what most women like.

Nonetheless, the real proof of the pudding, as it were, is in the tasting. So it was on a cold Spring morning that I entered a world of flavour signposts, plant sculptures, finger foods and other atmospheric props aimed at nailing my preferences. Despite being pigeonholed as ‘smooth’, I was pleasantly surprised, no, amazed to find that these were not the Morrisons wines of yesteryear but a step-change in quality from anything Morrisons had previously thrown at me. Aha! The penny dropped. All this is a way of halt the ebbing wine tide of the Morrisons’s range, an ‘undertrade’ in the jargon.

Once through the Looking Glass, I found myself in ‘Fresh’, enjoying a smoky, refreshingly citrusy 2011 Loimer Kamptal Grüner Veltliner, £14.99, a pungently passion-fruit infused 2011 Jackson Stich Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, £12.49, and a peachy, stonefruit-rich 2011 Mara Martin Godello, £10.99. Amazed, I sashayed into ‘Smooth’ flavour profile and found a characterful lemon-fresh 2011 Planeta Grecanico, £12.99, and a superbly perfumed, strawberryish 2010 Cono Sur 20 Barrels Pinot Noir. On into ‘Intense’ and a complex, Burgundian 2011 Wirra Wirra 12th man Chardonnay, £16.99 and a vivid Cuatra Pasos Bierzo, £9.99. and then onto ‘Sweet’ with more, many more.

If you’re thinking abnormal Morrisons’ wines at abnormal Morrison’s prices, that’s what I was thinking too until I came across a steal of a succulent Vaucluse Syrah Grenache at £3.99 and a spicy, cherryish 2011 Terroir du Midi Fitou at 4.99. It turns out that Morrisons cellar is the first stage of an overhaul with the once-dreary own-label range to be re-launched in the autumn. So far so good then, a promising work-in-progress. Of course the $64,000 question is whether Morrisons’ customers will bite. If they do, Morrisons will hold its head high alongside its rivals. Respect!

Something for The WeekendSomething for The Weekend

Something For the Weekend Saturday 6 April

Night In

2012 DB De Bortoli Australia Chardonnay.

Pale, attractive fresh nose, appetisingly dry, nice juicy fresh appetizingly peachy fresh fruit quality with touch of oak chip rounding it out a bit with nice balancing freshness. Quite strong alcohol. £6.49, Asda.

Dinner Party

2009 Domaine Les Grandes Costes, Pic Saint Loup.

Pale in colour, very fragrant and spicy with a succulently soft supple red berry character and juicy albeit slightly rustic tannins, though juicy. £12.99, The Co-operative.

Splash Out

2010 Yarra Valley Estate Grown Pinot Noir, De Bortoli, Yarra Valley.

Good colour, quite gamey nose, quit Burgundian in style with attractive fraise du bois fragrance and good fresh raspberry and cherry fruit with elegant fresh acidity. £17.15, Philglas & Swiggot.


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