A first look at Spar’s latest wines

Continuing his covid convenience retailer romp, Peter Ranscombe runs the rule over Spar’s latest bottles.

AS WE explored earlier during lockdown, staying local to do the weekly food shop is nothing new for many of us in Scotland.

In most rural areas, our choice of grocery store won’t be the “big four” supermarket chains or the German discounters.

Instead, it’s the convenience retailers, like the Co-op, Scotmid and Spar.

That’s why I’ve always taken a key interest in those chains’ wine ranges.

Scotmid shares the same buying group as the Co-op, and so we see the same bottles in both shops.

You don’t have to look far to see the shops’ wines turning up in the Wine to Dine column or The Grape & The Grain drinks blog.

Spar may have a smaller range, but there are still some crackers hidden away in there, many of them picked by the brand’s wine consultant, master of wine Philippa Carr.

Spar’s latest bottles have been arriving in stores over the past few weeks, and there are some bargains to be had…

Perlezza Rosé Extra Dry Spumante (£8)
Fruity and easy-going pink fizz that will hit the spot on sunny days. Attractive strawberry, lemon and castor sugar aromas on the nose, more strawberry, raspberry and spun-sugar on the off-dry palate.

Spanish White Wine (£4.89)
Once the UK’s taxes and duties have been stripped off the price, there are just pennies that have been spent on producing this wine, but the results are surprisingly credible. It might be a bit airy-fairy on the nose, with whiffs of clean sheets and green apple, but it’s far more expressive on the palate, with red apple, pear and lemon to balance its fresh acidity.

Orbis Organic Verdejo Sauvignon Blanc (£7)
A blend of organic sauvignon blanc and verdejo from Spain delivers another simple and fruity white, but with a – small – step-up in complexity, with a squeeze of lime among the lemon on the nose and then a more savoury lemon rind flavour to balance the squeaky acidity.

Spanish Red Wine (£4.89)
Sadly the red is less credible than its white twin, but it still has merit, with lots of raspberry jam and spun sugar flavours and just enough freshness for balance. If it was the other side of the £5-mark then I’d look elsewhere but serve it with a fresh tomato sauce on pasta or pizza and it’ll sing.

Orbis Organic Tempranillo Shiraz (£7)
Investing an extra £2.11 delivers the fresher acidity that’s needed for a better balance, but without compromising on the ripe fruit flavours. Here, the black cherry and blackcurrant jam from the shiraz dominate for me. There’s enough tannin to handle a bit of food too, maybe as far as lamb chops or a roast chicken.

Read more of Peter Ranscombe’s wine, beer and spirits reviews on his drinks blog, The Grape & The Grain.