The Co-operative range is fairly small and fits somewhere between the budget ranges of Aldi and Lidl and the more expansive range in Waitrose, in terms of prices.
But of course size isn’t everything, and while the offering can be a little mixed there are interesting wines to be found on the shelves.
Well known for their approach to ethical and Fairtrade products – around two thirds of all Fairtrade wines sold in the UK are sold through their stores – the wine range has more to offer than that.
‘Irresistible’ is not a brand name I’m keen on as some wines don’t quite reach that level. However, Irresistible Gavi Broglia 2017 (Co-op £8.50) is one of the little gems within the range.
From Piedmont in north western Italy, this is made from the local cortese grape and, like much of the range, is both vegetarian and vegan-friendly.
It’s quite delicate with notes of green apples, orange peel and maybe almonds on the nose with a crisp, citrus-led, refreshing palate.
This is a lovely summer wine and would work well with simple steamed or grilled asparagus.
Les Breloques Rouge 2017, Sud de France (Co-op £8) is a new wine to the range and a blend of grenache, syrah and a little merlot from the Languedoc-Roussillon region.
It’s certainly not a shy wine and has dark fruits, some spice and mocha along with a little dried herbs on the bouquet, followed by a fairly chunky palate with more dark fruit and chocolate on the finish.
It’s good value and is definitely a summer barbecue red and is going to work really well with smoky, chargrilled sausages or lamb chops.
Cop de Ma Fort 2016, Priorat (Co-op £11 on offer from £13 until May 14– selected stores only) is not a wine I was expecting to find within the Co-operative’s range.
Priorat is a small mountainous region west of Barcelona and while the wines are quite fashionable within the wine trade, this is a very small region in comparison to the likes of rioja.
I was there a few years ago and it left a deep impression on me, small vineyards often on terraces cut into the mountain sides, with many of the vineyards almost entirely covered in slate with old vines sticking up through.
Cop de Ma translates to ‘lend a hand’ in Catalan, underlying the region’s proud and powerful sense of community, which I really like.
Unlike much of the rest of Spain there is little or no tempranillo here and this is a blend of garnacha, carignan and syrah which has been aged in older French oak.
It’s very dark in colour with red fruits, spice and earthy notes on nose, followed a dense, concentrated palate with a long finish.
It’s a great introduction to the wines of priorat and would work well rich casserole.