Wine for your shopping list part III: Spar....

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Spar shop front

I’ve been putting off writing this review not really knowing where to start. As my third piece on wines for your shopping list this one is on Spar. Having previously recommended a couple of top bottles from Asda and The Coop I did toy with the idea of calling the series ‘Excellent wines in unlikely places’ but apart from that sounding mean I honestly do enjoy popping into The Coop.

To be fair, comparing Spar to Asda and The Coop isn’t exactly a fair playing field. But as with all statistics it depends which ones you look at. In terms of buying power they’re wine worlds apart, but if it’s shop fronts you’re after then Spar has a very impressive 2,600+ stores around the UK making it our leading convenience store group.

The last time I drank wine from Spar it was after what started as a civilised Sunday roast with friends that turned into a dry house and a late night hunt for more wine. It was the bottle that tipped us over the edge, a £4.99 Malbec something-or-other. That was one long Monday. Although my Sunday roast story doesn’t have the happiest ending, the signal that Spar’s convenience gave us to carry on the fun is one at the time we all treasured. And that’s one reason why Spar’s wine selection shouldn’t be swept under the carpet. 

I'll be honest, it was a true evening of discovery when I went along to their press tasting to find that they didn’t just do the bargain basement stuff but some pretty serious bottles too. Barolo, Châteauneuf-du-Pape and a Haut-Médoc were all wines I would never have previously gone to a convenience store for or put in the same sentence as Spar but, clearly, what do I know? Of the three big guns the Barolo was by far the best, earthy and savoury on the nose, roast meat and redcurrant jelly on the palate, a bit too sophisticated even for that Sunday roast and a price tag that most hardcore Barolo fans would scoff at, £14.99.

Of their affordable range Spar’s own label Gavi was very good, with fruity garden apple characters and a pleasant round and creamy texture, chilled well you’d be hard pushed to guess its £6.99 price tag!