Assero Bio Brut
This is a dry sparkling wine made from airén, Spain’s most boring grape variety, in the largely undistinguished La Mancha region in central Spain - which just goes to show that if you know what you’re doing you can occasionally make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear – or if not a silk one, then a very nice crisp cotton one. It’s light-bodied and as fresh as a breeze, with crisp, lime-juice flavours and a soft clean finish. 11%.
£8.99, Adnams Cellar & Kitchen
2007 Reuilly, Château Gaillard
I’m not sure how much longer M&S will have this vintage and it’s not in all stores, but you can order it online. Reuilly is one of Sancerre’s hangers-on, but sometimes it outshines more expensive Sancerre. Step forward Château Gaillard. There’s a wonderfully refreshing purity and intensity of flavour - green, herby and mineral, bone dry and yet with the sweetness of properly ripe fruit. 12.5%.
£9.99, Marks & Spencer
2003 Chivite Gran Feudo Reserva, Navarra
Bodegas Julián Chivite is Navarra’s biggest and deservedly best known producer: the Gran Feudo wines are reliably enjoyable, while the more expensive Colección 125 range includes a plush red and a fine barrel-fermented chardonnay. But back to this week’s red. It’s based on tempranillo (the Rioja grape) beefed up with 20% cabernet sauvignon and merlot and it’s been aged in oak (hence the Reserva designation). The result is medium-bodied and well-rounded, with plummy fruit and a touch of cassis and soft, spicy, chocolaty oak. Try it with the Sunday roast or some herby sausages. 12.5%.