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Wines at the The Co-operative Food

Phillip Hamer checks out the The Co-operative Food's wine offering and picks out the best buys

Published on January 14th 2010.


Wines at the The Co-operative Food

In its advertising The Co-operative Food claims to be 'good with food'. But it has also developed a considerable reputation for its wines. Visiting the new city centre store on High Street recently, I was impressed with a range that has been nobly enhanced by the own-label Fair Trade wines from Chile and Argentina. As a result of astute buying, and an avoidance of the bulk-buying discount offers that blight many supermarkets, The Co-operative Food now actually has a better selection than its bigger rivals.

It hails from California’s central coast and teaches the Italians a thing or two about producing brilliant Pinot Grigio at an affordable price.

My mission was to find something that was good but a little bit out of the ordinary, and The Co-operative Food, as you will see from my chosen selection, provided plenty of options.

Cycles Gladiator Pinot Grigio (£7.49)

The Co-operative's own label Fair Trade Carmenere 2008 (£4.99)

Five Hills Pinot Grigio (£5.99)

Banish from your mind the current glut of thin, weedy, predominantly Italian Pinot Grigios being flogged at about the £5 mark (Tesco currently offers seven of these nonentities) and grab this beautiful, full-flavoured version of a grape variety from Gisborne in New Zealand. At a recent tasting I attended, this country revealed some of the finest white wine varietals available right now.

Cycles Gladiator Pinot Grigio (£7.49)

This is stunning in so many ways: vineyard name, label, and the wine itself. It hails from California’s central coast and once again teaches the Italians a thing or two about producing brilliant Pinot Grigio at an affordable price. Perfect on its own, it should enhance most light cuisines. Or if you fancy some vinous fun, you can taste it alongside the Five Hills.

Washington Hills Merlot 2006 (£6.49)

UK supermarkets do little to promote wines from Washington’s prime wine producing area in the Columbia Valley, so it's congratulations to the Co-op for unearthing this delightfully plumy, medium-bodied Merlot. The selection of USA wines found here is impressive.

The Co-operative Food's own label Fair Trade Carmenere 2008 (£4.99)

The Co-operative Food has every right to be proud of its Fair Trade wines and this Carmenere is its best-selling. Arguably it’s the finest red wine at this price that I’ve recently tasted. Carmenere, an obscure Bordeaux grape variety, was mistaken in Chile for Merlot for years and bottled as such. Recently it has been bottled under its own name with great success. This version is a notable bargain.

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boo zee dozeeJuly 21st 2009.

the biggest problem with co-op is the nasty and untrained staff. have never come across a polite one yet. Ask for wine advice and you will be told there are reds and there are whites.Oh and try and find a drinkable bottle of co-op own brand champagne - impossible.This is a low class supermarket with pretensions way above its abilities.

boo zee dozeeJuly 21st 2009.

the biggest problem with co-op is the nasty and untrained staff. have never come across a polite one yet. Ask for wine advice and you will be told there are reds and there are whites.Oh and try and find a drinkable bottle of co-op own brand champagne - impossible.This is a low class supermarket with pretensions way above its abilities.

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