Supermarkets such as Waitrose and Tesco have gathered a reputation over the years for the range and quality of their wines whereas supermarkets such as Asda tend to be better known for their value for money groceries. This may be because Asda, unlike many of the other supermarkets, does not have a separate wine website with an extended range where wine can be ordered by the case and delivered to the house. The only wines available are those found in store or on the groceries online shopping website.
However, those in the know head to Asda when they want good value supermarket own label red wine. Wine writers such as Ned Halley and Oz Clarke sing their praises and several of Asda’s own-label red wines have won medals at the top international wine awards.
Asda has two ranges of own-label red wine. The standard range features many well known grapes and varieties and most of the wines cost less than £5. The prestige range is sold under the “Extra Special” label. These red wines cost more but are made by reputable and often well known wine estates around the world offering the customer high quality wines at affordable prices.
Recent award winners include Asda’s Marques del Norte Rioja 2010 which won the trophy for regional red Rioja under £10 at the Decanter 2011 World Wine Awards as well as gathering bronze medals at the 2011 International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) and International Wine Challenge (IWC). This red wine costs just £4.43 and is described as “smooth, spicy and chocolaty”.
Asda’s Extra Special Crozes Hermitage 2008 is an IWC gold award winner. This red wine is from Northern Rhone and is made for Asda by well known producer Cave de Tain. It’s partially aged for around eight months in French oak barrels resulting in a fragrant wine with characteristics of brambles, fruits and pepper. The alcohol level is 12.5% so it won’t knock you out but the price may – just £8.37.
IWC silver award winners include the Extra Special Barolo 2006 and the Extra Special Malbec 2010. As well as the IWC silver medal the Barolo also won a Decanter bronze medal and this double award winning red wine can be bought for £10.98 – substantially cheaper than most branded Barolos. The Malbec is from Argentina’s Mendoza region and is produced by the Trivento winery. For £5 you get a red wine full of “ripe berry flavours” which complements roasted meats and spicy foods.
Many of Asda’s own-label red wines feature in the numerous guides to the best wines published annually by some of the UK’s top wine writers. Ned Halley’s 2012 guide The Best Wines in the Supermarkets lists several own label red wines such as the Extra Special McLaren Vale Shiraz 2009 which is produced by well known McLaren Vale winery Tatachilla. Halley says this dark and spicy red wine has “well-judged weight” and scores it 8/10. At its current price of £7.98 it costs substantially less than a Tatachilla-branded Shiraz. Another Aussie red wine recommended by Halley is the Extra Special Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2008. Produced for Asda by Katnook Estate winery this “intensely blackcurrant, chocolaty red” shows why the region is so well known for its Cabernet Sauvignon and you won’t find many Coonawarra Cab Sauvs for the £8.48 this is currently priced at.
Halley recommends a number of Extra Special label French red wines including the Beaujolais Villages 2010 and the Fleurie 2010. He scores both eight out of 10, describing the Beaujolais Villages as a “vigorous raspberry red” and the Fleurie as “juicy and plump”. The Beaujolais Villages won an IWSC silver award and despite its Extra Special label costs just £5. The Fleurie, which costs £7.57, won an IWSC bronze award and is described by Asda as “elegantly fruity and flowery”.
Halley also recommends the Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 from the Languedoc region and the Chateauneuf du Pape 2009. The Cabernet Sauvignon is made by award winning producer Domaines Paul Mas and is described by Asda as “a stunning red with fabulously spicy and blackcurrant flavours”. Halley calls it “hugely ripe”, scoring it as 7/10. It usually retails at £6.97. The Chateauneuf du Pape is at the upper price range of Asda’s own label red wines at £13.37 but Halley scores this “lavishly ripe and developed” red wine 9/10, pointing out that despite the relatively high price it is still cheap compared to most Chateauneuf wines.
Four Asda Extra Special red wines from Italy make it into Halley’s guide, all scoring 8/10. The Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2010 is described by Halley as a “breezy purple lipsmacker” and costs £6.98. The Valpolicella Ripasso 2009 costs £7.18 and won an IWC bronze medal. Asda describe it as “a warm, full-bodied, elegant wine”. The Chianti Classico Riserva 2007 usually costs £8.98 and is a “beautifully perfumed, elegant red” according to Asda, whilst the Barbera d’Asti 2009, which has Decanter and IWSC bronze medals and costs £7.28, is described by Halley as “safe, juicy and very ripe”.
Many of Asda’s standard own label red wine range also make it into Halley’s guide and all appear to be remarkably good value.