Owning Up

POSTED ON 03/10/2015

An own-label wine is a brand aimed at inspiring confidence and loyalty in consumers looking for good value wines. As such, its guarantee is in direct proportion to the reputation of the wine merchant whose label it is. Even before Sainsbury’s Allan Cheesman developed the supermarket own label in the 1970s, established wine merchants such as Berry Bros., Avery’s, Justerini’s and Corney & Barrow were shipping Bordeaux and Burgundy and bottling with their own names.

The wheel has turned full circle with new ranges of credible own-label wines emerging from Berry Bros and Corney & Barrow; only today the wines are bottled at source and transported overland. The best merchants are not just sourcing wines willy-nilly but taking the risk out of buying by securing relationships with quality suppliers. Berry’s new 46-strong Own Selection for instance carries the pedigree of many top producers, proudly trumpeting the fact on the elegantly re-designed labels.

Its 2012 Extra Ordinary Claret from Jean Michel Cazes, £13.65, is a fine modern Bordeaux , the Reserve White from Collovray & Terrier, £8.45, opulently peachy, a 2013 Sicilian Nero d’Avola from Valdibella, £12.45, lively and damson-fresh. From Bordeaux the cedary, cassis-rich 2012 Château Pessac-Léognan from Château Haut Bailly, £19.95 and appetising 2011 Pauillac from Château Lynch Bages, £19.95, are excellent. The voluptuous 2009 Gevrey-Chambertin from Rossignol Trapet, £29.95, is a star. Corney too have an enticing new range from which the classic, intensely flavoured 2010 Margaux (Maison Sichel), £20.95, the 2010 Pomerol (Jean-Pierre Moueix), £18.95 and scented, juicy 2010 Côtes du Rhône (Gonnet) stand out.

Taking a leaf off the wine merchant’s vine, Majestic has just launched 12 new own-label wines under the stylish Definition label. The 2014 Definition Chardonnay 2014 is a refined, burgundian-style dry white from Jean-Claude Mas, £12.99, buy two = £9.74, the 2014 Chablis, £15.99, buy two = £11.99, textured, creamy and bone dry, while the 2014 Sancerre, £17.99, buy two = £13.49, is fragrant, refreshingly zesty and mouthwateringly minerally. Fine reds in the new range include a perfumed, strawberryish 2014 Marlborough Pinot Noir, £15.99, buy two = £11.99, and a voluptuous, smokily vanilla-scented, rich 2009 Rioja Reserva, £12.99, buy two = £9.74.

Something for the WeekendSomething for the Weekend

Night In

2014 De Marcilly Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Nuit.

If you liked Lidl’s Rully, you’ll love this brilliant white Burgundy with its delish toasty oak veneer over ripe, stonefruit, textured chardonnay, all supported by a fresh spine of acidity and finishing appetisingly nutty and dry. £8.99, Lidl.

Dinner Party

2014 The Tea Leaf Chenin Blanc, Piekenierskloof

This is a finely balanced, zestily refreshing Cape chenin blanc with penetrating aromas of apple and tropical citrus fruits, an intense, rich tropical mouthful of mango, crisply focused by refreshing limey acidity. £12 - 12.49, Woodwinters, Noel Young.

Splash Out

2012 Aloxe Corton, Domaine du Pavillon, Albert Bichot.

Sumptuously moreish red Burgundy with a veneer of subtly smoky oak enveloping ripe, sweetly juicy cherry fruit balanced by a damsony nip of cleansing fresh acidity with satisfying depth for a village Burgundy. £34, Marks & Spencer.


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