Asda spring/summer wines

Of all the major supermarkets, Asda isn’t usually at the top of my list for the weekly shop (the one near me is always packed with terrifying shoppers on the hunt for a bargain and it just stresses me out), but having tasted some superb wines at their spring/summer tasting and blogger food and wine matching event last week, I may have to brave the crowds every once in a while!

As a relative newbie to the world of wine, I can sometimes find press tastings a little intimidating – faced with a room filled to bursting with hundreds of bottles of wine and people who REALLY know their stuff, my palms have been known to get a little clammy! Asda’s evening blogger event however, was both relaxed and informative.

A small group of us began the evening with a food and wine matching masterclass with Asda Wine Selection Manager and Master of Wine Philippa Carr. With a passionate and non-judgemental approach, Philippa talked us through some basic guidelines on getting the match just right…

Acidity

Food
Lemon wedges

Wines tasted
Etoile de Nuit Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Gascony (£5.98)
Louis Bernard Brut NV Champagne (£21.98)

Acid (felt on the edges of the tongue) in food appears to lower the level of acidity in the wine, so the wine should be equally or more acidic than the food, otherwise it will cease to taste crisp and refreshing and become flabby and fat on the palate.

Salt

Food
Salted cashew nuts

Wines tasted
Etoile de Nuit Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Gascony (£5.98)
Louis Bernard Brut NV Champagne (£21.98)

Salty foods lower the perceived acidity of the wine, so opt for a crisp, fresh wine such as Champagne, Sauvignon Blanc or fino sherry with salty snacks and tapas dishes.

Intensity

Food
Prawn and rice sushi roll

Wines tasted
Dr L Riesling 2011, Mosel, Germany (£7.16)
De Bortoli Reserve Chardonnay 2010, South Eastern Australia (£7.98)

The intensity of the wine should match the intensity of the food. German Rieslings have fruity aromas and characteristically lower levels of alcohol so are ideal alongside the delicate flavours found in sushi. A fuller flavoured Chardonnay needs more powerful food so a spicy curry would be ideal.

Spice

Food
Bombay mix
Ground black pepper

Wines tasted
Asda Beaujolais 2011 (£4.48)
La Maison Elyse Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, Languedoc (£5.98)

I tend to find with spicy food, highly tannic wine can create an unpleasantly ‘grippy’ effect on the palate, so the light and fruity Beaujolais worked better for me. With black pepper, the fuller bodied Cabernet Sauvignon won hands down (think rare peppered steak and you’ll see why).

Sweetness

Food
Milk chocolate
Custard cream
Roquefort cheese

Wines tasted
Asda Asti Spumate NV (£5.13)
Château Haut Bergeron Sauternes (£10.07 for 50cl)

Sweet dishes require wines with equal or higher levels of sweetness, otherwise they take on an unpleasant tinny edge. The Asti worked well with a chunk of Dairy Milk as the bubbles cut through the cloying effect of chocolate, and the lusciously sweet Sauternes was dreamy with the creamy Roquefort cheese. As for the custard cream, I think I’ll stick with a cup of tea!

Following the masterclass we were set free to taste some (or all if we so wished) of Asda’s range. A nice touch at this stage was the addition of little tags from Asda’s wine experts to let us know which were their top picks. This allowed me to taste through some of the wines, without overwhelming my palate in a short space of time!

Asda’s wines in The Imagination Gallery

Of the range, here are my favourites –

Three Choirs Regalia 2011, Gloucestershire, England – new to the Asda range, created by Philippa Carr MW and Asda wine selector Katie Thompson from a selection of hand-picked grapes (44% Madeleine Angevine, 21% Phoenix, 15% Schonberger, 17% Siegerrebe, 3% Seyval Blanc) , this English wine is floral and delicious with lemon citrus and delicate elderflower flavours – perfect for a Jubilee party!

Lugana 2011, Italy – made from 100% Trebbiano di Lugana grapes this white wine is supremely smooth with peachy flavours, and would be perfect alongside a summery asparagus dish.

I didn’t get very far through the reds (and I fear I’ve harped on for long enough), but stay tuned over the next few weeks as I’ll be making a trip to Asda very soon!

If in doubt, try one of their ‘Extra Special’ wines – superb value and with some real gems, the Extra Special Chablis was crisp and delightful, and the Viognier was full of flavour and surprisingly complex.

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