I was sent a press release and two samples from Sainsbury’s the other week, telling me that they had introduced 5 new wines to their Taste the Difference (TTD) range, and that they were the first major supermarket to sell the indigenous grapes, Marzemino and Brachetto. Having read the press release I got quite excited and had a look at the samples I’d been sent, I was surprised (and a little disappointed) to find that I’d been sent the TTD Verdicchio Classico dei Castelli di Jesi and TTD Barbaresco, not the Marzemino or the Brachetto, but never mind, I still had some interesting wines to taste.
As you do, I went for the white first, which had been billed as an alternative to Pinot Grigio, which for me at this price point, is a great place to start, as there are far too many one dimensional and uninteresting Pinot Grios on the market. Produced in the Marche region of Italy on its Adriatic coast, it’s vinified in stainless steel to help keep its freshness.
On pouring you got a pale straw colour, with the fresh aromas of apples and cut grass, on the palate these all came through, with a good level of acidity making a really refreshing wine. It was an uncomplicated, but very pleasant wine which I have to agree is a good alternative to Pinot Grigio.
Moving onto the Barbaresco, this comes from the Langhe hills in the Piedmont region of northern Italy, produced from the indigenous grape Nebbiolo, which is also used in one of the great wines of Italy, Barolo. For its DOGC status it must be aged for a minimum of two years, with a minimum of 12 months must be in oak.
In the glass it had a deep red colour, not quite as dark as I’d have expected being Barolo’s “baby brother”, it did have quite pronounced aged aromas of red fruit, cherries and currants, after the fruit you got the sweet spice of liquorice. On the palate you got the fruit and spice coming at your taste buds in waves, combined with fine, silky tannins and a reasonable amount of acidity, this was all combined perfectly.
These were two interesting wines, the Verdicchio; fresh, fruity and a great alternative to Pinot Grigio all for £5.99, while the Barbaresco was rich and starting to show real signs of complexity for the princely sum of £9.99.