Sunday, April 14, 2024

Around the World in… Bottles of Wine? The Best International Drops You Can Get From the Supermarket

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Expert judges have swirled, sniffed, sipped, tasted and debated their way through more than one thousand different wines to find the 20th annual New World Wine Awards Top 50 drops under $25 and let’s face it, we bloody love a good (cheap) drop that you KNOW is going to be good – and we’re all after the best supermarket wine!

This year’s Top 50 list is a go-to for top drops from all around New Zealand as you’d expect – but there are some epic winning choices from around the world too. With gold-medal wines from Australia, Argentina, France, Italy, and Spain you can experience the sense of place without having to pack a thing – BLISS!

We spoke to Jen Parr, the Co-Chair of Judges (where do we apply for that gig) and discovered our favourite picks for if you’re keen to try something new and expand your vino horizons on your hunt for the best supermarket wine:

ARGENTINA: Trapiche Oak Cask Malbec 2021

Malbec originated in France, but has really carved out a home in Argentina which now produces the majority of the world’s Malbec wine.

Most comparable to Merlot, its ability to hold its own alongside a sizzling steak is perhaps one reason it’s become a such a staple there and loved around the world.

Sourced from the foothills of the Andes in the southern half of the country, this Malbec really captures the spirit of Argentina – vibrant, passionate and determined, it has an intense red colour, warm fruity aromas and a firm finish.

Tasting notes: Malbec can be easy going or a full throttled heavyweight. This sits somewhere in the middle, showing dark berry, nutmeg, olive and toasted nut flavours with velvety texture. Slightly firm on the finish, making this a gorgeous accompaniment to steak topped with a rich mushroom sauce.

ITALY: Vigneti Romio Romagna DOC Sangiovese Superiore Riserva 2018

While perhaps not as trendy as it’s younger brother Prosecco, Sangiovese (pronounced san-joe-vei-zay) has been a sought-after Italian classic for centuries.

Indigenous to Italy, Sangiovese is a red wine grape varietal most similarly mirrored here in New Zealand by a lush Pinot Noir.

This wine, grown in northern Italy between Milan and Florence, would be a great addition to recreating a relaxed and sunny Mediterranean afternoon, or romantic Italian evening.

It’s the perfect accompaniment to savoury and salty dishes – think antipasto platters or decadent pastas.

Tasting notes: From the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, between Milan and Florence, this is a solidly- built Sangiovese/Syrah blend showing dark plum, cigar box and sweet leather notes. With a generously weighted palate displaying savoury nuances with sweet berry flavours. Try it with charred  vegetables, pork and fennel sausages, or everyone’s favourite – spaghetti Bolognese.

FRANCE: La Vieille Ferme Rosé 2021

This sophisticated drop comes from the Perrin Family in the south of France, who have honed their Rosé making skills over five generations.

It’s a perfect example of what the home of Rosé can offer, with a lovely balance of traditional farm to table charm, elegance and vibrancy.

Pair with deliciously fresh seafood or goat’s cheese on warm toast for an effortlessly chic and delicious meal straight off the Champs-Élysées.

Tasting notes: A modern Rosé from the Rhone Valley in the south of France, the wine exhibits the palest of pink colour with fresh strawberry, lemon candy and delicate floral notes, together

with a finely flowing zesty palate. This offers the best of both worlds – traditional charm and elegance combined with modern bright fruit flavours. Delightfully good with goat’s cheese on warm toast.

SPAIN: Vina Borgia by Borsao Organic Garnacha 2020

Although it sounds similar to a decadent chocolate icing, this flamboyant Spanish red is loved by winemakers around the world for its versatility and often features in blended red wines.  

It’s from the Aragon region in Spain, midway between Barcelona and Madrid, an area is known as the Empire of Grenache with rows of vines under the hot Spanish sun.

Family holds a special place in Spanish culture, and this particular wine is unique in that it’s not just one family, but nearly 400, who work and pool their fruit together to create this brilliant award-winning wine.

Tasting: From the north-eastern region of Spain, this is a richer, bolder style of Garnacha (Grenache). Dark berry, game and cedar notes lead the way to a richly textured, weighty palate, finishing attractively spicy and savoury. It will be a great match to food with strong flavours – think  ratatouille, roast lamb and blue cheeses.

AUSTRALIA: Grant Burge Fifth Generation Cabernet Merlot 2021

With hot, dry summers, the Barossa Valley is a playground for winemakers, especially those looking to create a deep, sumptuous red wine.

Although just 25km long, this valley produces 21% of Australia’s wine and this New World Wine Awards Champion Red Blend is a classic example of a Barossa Valley red. The hot climate of the valley ripens grapes quickly with little time for winemakers to intervene on the vine, meaning each harvest is a true representation of the season.

As one of the first founding families in Barossa wine region, Grant Burge work with some of the oldest vines in the region – some being over 100 years old.

Enjoying it on a warm summer’s eve with a classic barbeque meal could conjure the feeling that you’ve nipped across the ditch (even if just for the night!).

Tasting: Grant Burge is Barossa Valley royalty, now in its fifth generation, and knows exactly how to  blend two noble grapes. This Champion Red Blend offers harmony, balance and complexity, displaying dark fruit intensity with cedary oak, cocoa and subtle herbal infusion. Duck confit is surprisingly good with Bordeaux blends, and so are fully-loaded burgers and slow-cooked pulled pork.

Liked this compilation of the best supermarket wines? Click here for the full list!

(And also guys heads up – the wine glasses are BACK! New World’s much loved Christmas campaign starts October 31, and they’ve once again partnered with the fancy guys at Spiegelau. Get collecting those stickers!)

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