Swizzing around M&S wines

Just marking time before going out for what may be a troublesome evening with Robert Joseph and potentially Adrian Atkinson, ex-Oddbins buyer and now a man breathing life into the Pernod Ricard wine portfolio. But the day has been taken up with a delicious lunch at Chez Bruce (veal cheek to die for) accompanied by wines from Domaine Gayda surrounded by a tasting of wines represented by one of the UK’s top wine PR companies, Westbury Communications.

Will get on to Gayda some time soon, but in the mean time, a brief appraisal of some of the Westbury wines. Or maybe more accurately an appraisal of the big boys they represent – Oddbins, Nicolas and Marks & Spencer. Perhaps it’s not the most critically accurate means of assessing the wines of these three giants of the High Street, but it was perhaps telling that only M&S’s Jo Ahearne turned up to try the wines. ‘I just thought I’d come and say “hello” to everyone, and while I’m here, I’ll have a swizz round the competition.’ Yes, I checked that word “swizz” – that’s what she said. And “swizz” she did, unlike anyone from Oddbins or Nicolas.

Maybe Jo’s “swizz” was a negative (or a swindle, as any fule kno). Maybe not. But it’s perhaps telling that the wines selected by her and her cohorts stood out from the competition. So if you’re swizzing round M&S in the near future, here are some gems to seek out…

Marin Ridge Shiraz 2007 (£9.99) – Tender, spicy berry fruit, with a tangy herby finish
Brothers & Sisters Shiraz 2005 (£9.89) – Buxom, but never OTT, with sweet and savoury plum and damson flavours
Domaine des Garennes Minervois 2006 (£9.99) – Stylish, herby wine, packed with dark fruit with earthy intensity and a fine, balanced finish
Les Orris Blanc 2007 (£7.99) – tinned pear and rhubarb flesh infused with aromas of fennel and herb
Collioure Blanc 2007 (£9.99) – Plump and creamy, but with a minerally streak to rein in the voluptuous fruit.
Fox Hollow Single Vineyard Verdelho 2008 (£9.99) – Wonderfully tangy citrus and passionfruit flesh, punchy and forward, yet with some grippy restraint

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