This week was Marks & Spencer’s Spring tasting for wine educators and bloggers. I’m a big fan of M&S – their food is great (a favourite is the orzo pasta & roasted tomatoes with basil vinaigrette) – their stores are well-organized and the people are friendly. The fact they do so many things well, has always caused me to wonder why their wines aren’t better. I’m not saying they’re bad, they’re just not up to the standard I expect from M&S (IMHO).
Don’t get me wrong – I often buy wine from M&S and have found many a good bottle (after wading through rows and rows of Chardonnay & Sauvignon Blanc), but somehow overall, I just feel they could be better.
So I headed to the tasting looking forward to getting a proper look at the range and hopeful I’d find some interesting wines that would prove my impressions wrong. And I found some. But not enough.
The sparkling wines and Champagnes were very good (and well priced) and there were several others that caught my eye (and palate), but in general I’m sad to say, I found the wines rather underwhelming.
The majority of the wines I did like were priced at £8-£12 (the sole American wine, the Hahn Home Ranch Pinot Noir 2009 from California at £9.99 was lovely) while those priced less were hit and miss – a few nice surprises and others really average.
One thing I like a lot and they do very well, is the information they provide on the back labels. The tasting notes do a good job of explaining the wines in terms everyone can relate to and the icons on every bottle are very helpful in explaining more about the wine. They show how dry the whites are, how full-bodied the reds – as well as indicating which wines are vegan, the kind of closure used, and suggesting the correct serving temperature.
The next time I’m in my local store, I’ll stop over at the wine wall in search of my preferred selections from the tasting – wonder which one would go best with the orzo salad…
Do you have a favourite wine from M&S? Leave a comment below and let me know.
Here’s to trying something new, learning something new and enjoying every glass a whole lot more.
Tara – Wine Passionista