Welcome to part two of my reflections on the Tesco Wine Fair in Manchester. I think what really surprised me about the Tesco Wine Fair was the wide selection of quality champagnes and sparkling wines on offer. Nothing I’d heard of before the event, mind, but certainly worth trying!
Today I am going to be reflecting on my experience with the sparkling wines and champagnes I had the pleasure of trying.
A Note on Ratings
A 5* rating does not necessarily imply it’s the best wine I’ve ever tasted; All of my ratings are relative to the other wines being discussed in that section.
Sparkling Wines Galore
I had the pleasure of trying many sparkling wines at the Tesco Wine Fair – There were far more available that I had imagined there would be! Here are the three best ones that I tried.
“Oh, I like Codorníu” said my dad as we passed the stand. No more bigger hint could have been said with the exception of “Let’s go to that stand”.
We were tempted to try the “Codorníu 1551 Vintage Brut 2009″, although a Rosé was also on offer. It was a reasonably good start to our journey around the sparkling wines. It was sweeter than other sparkling wine, but by no means “sweet”. It was very gassy. Slightly fruity. Definitely very drinkable. Overall: 3/5 Price: £14
(Annoyingly, this stall had a Rioja Crianza and a Reserva that I’d have liked to have tried, but missed…)
The next one we tried was the Italian “Montalto Sparkling Pinot Grigio” by Off-Piste Wines. The wine had a light scent, and was not overly gassy at all. Although it was fruity, it was dry as a bone. Overall: 3.5/5 Price: £15
Finally, we tried the Marlborough offering “Oyster Bay Sparkling Cuvée Brut NV”, made entirely with Chardonnay grapes. This was a new offering in the Oyster Bay line of wines. It was a dry sparkling wine, with a smooth fruity flavour. A very easy-going sparkling wine for everyday drinking, I would say. Would go nicely with a creamy dish. Overall: 4/5 Price: £13 (Cheapest of the bunch, too!)
The conclusion of “you get what you pay for” was coming on nicely with the price trend of the first two we tried, but Oyster Bay has shown that you can get a good sparkling wine for as little as £13!
A Toast to Champagne!
There were a few champagnes being given out – quite liberally I might add – at the Tesco Wine Fesival, predominantly from a brand I had never heard of – “Jeepers”.
We started over at the “Free Run Wines” stand with a sample of the “Champagne Jeeper Premier Cru NV Brut”. Now, I’ve never heard of Champagne Jeepers before, and trying to find more information on them, I am presented with a French website. So… I’m guessing it’s a bit of a debut, perhaps?
Either way, the champagne had a strange raw quality to it… Something I couldn’t identify, but with a bit of prompting was told this flavour was “biscuit”. To me, it was a unique, yeasty, bready, biscuity kind of flavour. Would I reach for it over a bottle of Veuve? Maybe… Overall: 4.5/5 Price: £36
Next up, “Champagne Jeeper Grand Reserve Millesime 2006″. I was made aware that 2006 was a very good vintage, and this bottle was something particularly special. It was. It had the same qualities as the first Premier Cru, except the whole thing had that “finished” quality to it. It was a very rich champagne, with a very rich and powerful flavour. Demanding; I believe I could only drink one glass of it in a single sitting, though I imagine that’d all I could afford… Overall: 5/5 Price: £45
We were made aware of the existence of another offering by Champagne Jeepers over at the Tesco Finest stand. The “Jeeper Grand Reserve NV Brut Champagne” is a Champagne made exclusively of Chardonnay. It has a little bit of that biscuity quality that the Grand Reserve and the Premier Cru have. It had that acidity and dryness that normal champagne has. It had a lasting aftertaste, but we’ve got to say – We would have liked to try this one first. Put into perspective it just wasn’t as good as the other two – and for the price, pay the extra to get the Premier Cru. Overall: 3/5 Price: £33.34
Another Champagne on offer was the Leo Deviory Brut NV Champagne. It was supremely dry with a strong green apple flavour. Pretty standard champagne in comparison, on par with the 100% Chardonnay Jeeper Grande Reserve Overall: 3/5 Price: £28.
We tried as many as we could, and these were our definite favourites. The one thing I’ll remember for next year is if I want to buy champagne, this is the place to do it. The difference in price between in-store prices and at the fair are drastic, and it kind of makes me wish I’d had more money to buy a box. Here’s a little break down:
- Champagne Jeeper Premier Cru NV Brut – In store, £36. In fair, £18.70.
- Champagne Jeeper Grand Reserve Millesime 2006 – In store, £45. In fair, £23.80.
- Jeeper Grand Reserve NV Brut Champagne – In store, £33.34. At fair, £17.
- Leo Deviory Brut NV Champagne – In store, £28. At fair, £11.90.
As you can see, that’s some drastic reductions. Got a big event coming up next year? Pay the £10 entry fee and stock up here!
But until next time, when we review Sherries and Dessert wines on offer, thanks for reading!