Wine for your shopping list part II: The Co-op....

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Coop wine tasting invite

The only Co-op store I used to know was in Peacehaven in Sussex, near Brighton. It’s a great big store where time seemingly stood still, in a nice way. I’d go down there during school holidays and we’d stay at a little flat by the sea that my Nana owns. The Co-op fitted so well with The Flat. A slow pace, nothing fancy, nothing complicated, everything you needed in one space and somehow trustworthy at the same time.

I had some great British summers down there with my family (at The Flat, not at The Co-op!) Not only because of the penny sweet shop that was almost next-door, but for the pebble beach, the 99’ers, the temperamental weather and the crabbing. I don’t get to go down there much these days but its still there and it’s still the same, simple, honest and homely place it was back then.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed the same where you live but there are Co-ops popping up all over the place. I live and work in SW London and there’s one in Clapham, one on Wandsworth Road and in Parson Green. The one on Wandsworth Road is miniature and attached to a Petrol station and interestingly the wine section takes up a tenth of the isle space. I’ve always found that an uncomfortably mixed message “Don’t drink and drive but do pick up your booze en route.”

Whether it sits right with me or not, the fact that wine takes up so much space in such a little store is testament to the importance The Co-op place on their wine range, and since acquiring Somerfield there’s a slow but progressive blend of their wines which makes it eclectic, interesting but still competitively priced.

Here’s a red and a white under £10 that are worth popping in for:

Cono Sur Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2011, San Antonio, Chile: £7.99
I hadn’t come across this organic range before, the label is so au naturel that it’s the sort of packaging I’d imagine the characters in The Good Life coming up with if they had Nick from The Apprentice as their business mentor. The wine itself is penny sweets in a bottle – all sherbet and green opal fruits and a great freshness….. made to make your mouth water!

Eos Petite Sirah Reserve 2008, Paso Robles, California: £9.99
California as a wine category gets over looked too often, it’s a region that at the £10 to £15 price bracket makes some of the best value for money wines around. This one is full bodied and fruity with a lovely blackcurrant and blueberry aromatic nose, and raisins, blackberries and fruitcake flavours on the palate. It’s spent 20 months aging in French oak barrels giving it some great structure and potential for aging a little bit on your wine rack.