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"Different" wine recommendations for the supermarket wine drinker


Hi all,
I’m off to Brugge in July for a friends birthday. There are 6 of us going and travelling from all over the UK. My friend has asked me to run a tasting while we are there and is happy to go with whatever I suggest. I am flying so I’ll be sending the wine to her to distribute between the others who will be o the Eurostar. I’m looking at doing 6 wines. I think that’s more than enough.

I want to take the ladies outside their comfort zone which is NZ SB, Pinot Grigio, Oz shiraz and Merlot. I thought looking at wines from regions they most likely will never have had was a good theme, so thinking Eastern Europe, ESW, Greece, South America etc… etc…
I’m definitely adding this kadarka after the success of the the first guerilla tasting last week.
I have some ideas for other wines too but I would love to hear your suggestions? White and red no rosé apparently :unamused:. Have you tried anything off the beaten track recently?? Let me know what you think, thanks


Perhaps a ‘you all like NZSB, so try this’ type thing might help focus the theme? So you can start with a list of 6 they would normally drink, and begin replacing?


What a fun thing to do for a friend’s birthday! :+1:

I am often on the search for the road less travelled - call it novelty seeking!

A couple suggestions come to mind:

This is currently in my basket, after reading an interesting feature in Decanter about Romanian wine (this particular wine got a very good review):

Keeping with an Eastern European theme, how about an alternative to PG in the shape of this Furmint?

Or a fresh Savoie white?

Though this might be above your budget, perhaps.

The NZ SB drinker might also find Verdejo, Vermentino and Albarino/Alvarinho a bit of a revelation…?

Red might be a trickier one, especially if they like the easy-going plummy nature of Merlot - in my experience friends who are used to reds on the fruity/sweeter style struggle a bit with more acidic reds, but maybe a Zweigelt, or a Beaujolais Village from a warm vintage might be an intetesting way to challenge the ‘how do you pronounce this?!’ and/or ‘But isn’t Beaujolais crap?’ sort of perception…

Sounds like fun, even if people do end up retreating to their comfort zone :wink:



I’ve always found Godello a great success with people who haven’t tried it before. Doesn’t seem to be any at TWS at the moment but there are others around.

Torrontes also can be a pleasant surprise for many.


^^^^ LOVE all of those mentioned above, and Godello is a great shout.

It might sound a bit boring but I’ve often found success with Loire vs NZ SB. Brings people slightly out of their comfort zone but it’s still a relatable grape. This has always been my go to for a comparison between the two:

And if you want to go off piste then the Tandem is brilliant!

If you get the chance as well, I’d definitely recommend a restaurant called Bruut. Laura and I went last year and it was easily one of the best places we’ve been to!


McManis Petite Sirah was the hit of our recent tasting

and what about an English wine?

and again at my recent tasting this Scheurebe was a delight (and not what we expected from a German wine). Although Germen wines enjoyed market dominance when I started with wine, you barely see it on supermarket shelves…


Graillot Tandem is a very good shout. What about Naoussa Jeunes Vignes or do we want to keep that all for ourselves :wink: ?

Elsewhere, an Alsace PG or Gewurz maybe?

German Pinot Noir? SW France Jurancon?


I had some fantastic wines from Tenerife while in Bilbao recently. That said I have looked already and can’t find them, so that isn’t much use to you


This one is a cracker - never heard of the grape before, and it knocked my socks off, being really flavoursome and complex (something to do with the volcanic soil?):

There’s also red made from Negramoll, but I am yet to try it.


Spanish whites but not vina sol, I am thinking Verdejo from Ramon Bilbao, Beronia or Riscal, all available in UK or possibly white Rioja. Our other favourites are Italian Verdichio and Falanghina.

Lastly Aussie Riesling from Clare Valley or the Great Southern…have a great time sounds like fun


They will be familiar with wine bar Pinot Grigio - the beverage of choice for ‘Ladies who lunch’ (not to suggest your friends fit that description). So how about offering a variety of Alsace Pinot Gris - finishing with a Vendange Tardive?

The downside, is that your average Pinot Grigio will thereafter never be as good.


Whatever you decide - I would always do it blind.

It’s fun, and destroys misconceptions and preconceptions.

Sounds great BTW.


Thanks for all your great suggestions so far.

Great idea, I know my friend obviously really well but I have only met one of the other ladies going, so I’ll definitely be replacing the “prosecco” with this English Sparkling wine. Made by Ridgeview and tastes great .
Thanks @inbar, great suggestions, who doesn’t love a good savoie and i’ll have a look at this Romanian wine too :wink:.
I also think a Pinot Gris needs to squirm its way in there somehow too nd I love your suggestion of a Godello @Andy999. I have a few bottles of this one on order from Vinissimus as TWS are out of it.
Thanks @MrLaura, I have a bottle of this in the cellar so may bring it, its a great call and I like the idea of a Schreube @peterm. Doubt any of the ladies will have tasted one before.

This is the plan, as like you said people have preconceived ideas of what they like and don’t without actually trying something.
I’ll let you all know the final line up, thanks for the input :wink:


I bought a bottle of the red (Vinatigo) at random earlier this year. I thought it was really interesting for a wine that didn’t quite work for me. It had a really interesting salty and slightly metallic edge, but a lot of slightly cloying dark fruit, and didn’t really seem to connect to my taste. Maybe not the right time for it, but it didn’t seem to have the tannins and acidity to be worth trying to age.

I’ll look out for the white.


What about a English White rather than sparkling, sparkling gets a lot of press but not much said about the White…appreciate there are reasons for some of that but it’s something different which most probably wouldn’t have tried before


I’d second the Tandem and definitely the Nassau Xinomavro.

Or on the other hand I’m quite happy if we keep al that for ourselves also


@Leah These are my suggestions - dry or off-dry Riesling (similar acidity to SB) and still loads of flavour, oak-free white Burgundy - again loads of flavour, richer and fuller, but nothing too ‘challenging’ to it. Similarly the white Rhone, but only had the 2017 (which was glorious). I recently enjoyed a surprisingly rich tasting, but very dry Gruner Veltliner from Schloss Gobelsburg (unfortunately no longer for sale)

The South African red is superb - so smooth and tasty with great aromas. Similarly the two Rhones, neither with too much or any tannin which can put people off when they try something new.

Definitely taste blind


Pondering this in a the deeply profound way you can only do when very drunk, I hit on a scheme of such drunken brilliance that I need to write it down before I wake up hungover and realize it’s utterly banal or complete codswallop. It also goes in a completely opposite direction from what you want, so before I propose it, let me contribute moschofilero, etna bianco, or one of the Pittnauer reds as Society possibilities that might actually fit your idea.

But I wonder if staying somewhat within the comfort zone while hinting at wider possibilities might be as effective? So if you’ve settled on English fizz, you’re left with 2 whites and three reds or vice versa. Since 2 doesn’t seem to be enough for a satisfying range, I wonder if it would be fun to have similar examples at different prices and have everyone guess which is more expensive. Since it’s both a style that’s hard to dislike (though not my favourite) and since the society has 2 I think are very well made for the respective prices (though I haven’t had the 2017 Coffele) perhaps


And then for reds - especially since the cheap merlot and shiraz are a lot more similar than pub pinot grigio and NZ sb, perhaps something like a rioja with reasonable oak, a fresh beaujolais and an unoaked carignan/carinena might give some nice sense of the range of styles available without straying too far from more familiar flavours.

On the other hand, I’ve on the whole had much more luck weaning people from commercial lager with hop bomb IPAs than with well made more flavoursome lager, so I may well be completely wrong.


Coteaux du Giennois Villargeau…terrific SB
If you pardon the sporting analogy
Marlboro SB versus Coteaux du Giennois

NZ Jonah Lomu (rip) in your face, powerful…

France Vincent Clerc, dashing footwork, change of pace.

both get you 5 points, take your pick…I go for style and finesse.


I miss that France … maybe one day they’ll come back to wow us again.