I’ve bought a lot of wine from co-ops in France, some of it very classy like that from Hunawihr. And, if the wine is ordinary, at least it is cheap and not too alcoholic so perfect for holidays. But, looking back I can recall just one instance of buying wine from The Co-operative in the last forty odd years. Lots of reasons – not often reviewed, no big shop nearby and, of course a perception that the wines are average at best.
However Geoff and I were en route to Tamworth and called into a large Co-op in Lichfield. A smallish fine wine section – rather claret dominated I thought, and 15% off any four wines, so we took the plunge. Not easy to find reviews on line but Supermarket Wine gave me some ideas.
There of the four are shown above (the fourth was a Savennieres, not yet tried). All were, I’m afraid, rather ordinary. The champagne (£25, less 15%) was the greatest disappointment since it is the one Co-op wine that is consistently well reviewed, especially in the non-vintage version (this was the 2006). A few 2004s were in stock, perhaps I should have gone for one of them but the bottles looked rather tatty. Anyway pleasant, good mousse but not very long and without much character.
All I could find out about the chianti was a favourable mention of the producer (not the wine) by the Observer wine critic (not someone I rate) but this was dull, lacking even a faint hint of sangiovese. Just about acceptable with a mid-week pizza but not worth £10 (less 15%). The ‘chianti minefield’ exposed again.
Finally the Rioja. I’ve included a shot of the neck label since, as you can see, Decanter gave it 95+ points, a ludicrous score. There are several suggested reasons for this on Cellar Tracker – most of them borderline libellous. I couldn’t possibly comment on that but this is an inoffensive red in the modern style. Also overpriced at (I think) £11 etc but I’m not sure as the Co-op website, uniquely in my experience, doesn’t list the wines it sells.
So, looks like another forty years – I should live so long – before the next visit.