Marks & Spencer Monferrrato Chiaretto 2011

By | March 23, 2013

I don’t often go looking for wine at M&S, I tend to view it more as an underwear provider, or a lunchtime sandwich takeaway shop.  I’ll admit that does seem like a strange retail combo.

Now and then they have tempting offers in the food department for “Dine in for two – A main dish, a side dish, a dessert and a bottle of wine for £10”.  As the main I’ll usually choose is a couple of salmon fillets or a piece of haddock, it doesn’t leave a lot of change from £10 on its own, although I think the £10 deal is a loss leader designed to encourage you to pick up overpriced prepared veg and whatnot whilst you’re there.  For that reason I don’t expect a lot from the wines thrown into the offer, and they’re usually first in line for risotto duty.  This wine was pink, which does give seafood risotto a little festive flair.

This wine needs to be cold, very cold, but once it is, it’s actually not bad.  It has a little sweet strawberry on the nose, and it is a delightful salmon colour.  It’s zippy and fresh with a good zing of acidity and something minerally, but not like French flint, more like the silica that makes Italian mineral waters taste so good.  It comes from the area around Lake Garda in the north, and I’m sure if I drank it on the shores of Lake Garda on a warm summer evening it would be transcendental, in the kitchen of an English Midlands house on a snowy March evening, it was fine.

The regular M&S price for this wine is £6, which is OK, it puts it pretty much of a muchness with supermarket pinks a notable notch above the white zinfandel shelf.  When it comes in at effectively ~£3 as part of the M&S Dine In offer it’s a good choice.