The Tab Guide to Sainsbury’s Wines
CHARLIE DOWELL reviews Sainsbury’s budget wines for your own swapping enjoyment.
It’s swap time and you’re standing in front of the booze shelves in Sainsbury’s baffled by the selection of gut wrenching alcohol. Each bottle seems as bad as the last, with the wine selector’s notes on the back being dubiously optimistic and voyeuristic: claiming one goes well with ‘salads in summer’, or another ‘with steak at your Mum’s house.’ All you really want to know is whether it can be easily downed, can wash away the taste of a curry and will not put you off wine for the rest of your life. Fear not pretty ones, we’ve done the research for you.
Eight wines, eight willing volunteers, a small amount of sick: welcome to the Tab guide to Sainsbury’s Wines.
Pinot Noir 2012, 12.5% vol, £4.50
Smell: The initial smell was one of wine, which upon further sniffing morphed into a vinegar tang that almost made one of the subjects sneeze.
Taste: Tangy, drinkable and light, with an overall lack of flavour. Good for people who hate red wine.
Downability: 7. Strong downability for a red, due to its watery taste and lack of punch.
Celebrity Comparison: Ed Miliband- bland and lacking substance.
Montepulciano 2012, 13% vol, £4.50
Smell: A surprisingly rich smell, with overtones of coffee and chocolate.
Taste: Rich and full texture with a hint of bitterness. Would go well with red meat. To quote one subject, “ You’d have it with a meal if you were poor”.
Downability: 5. A rich red is always hard to down, though it did not provoke a gag reflex.
Celebrity Comparison: Alan Sugar – rich and bitter
Côte du Rhône, 13% vol, £4.50 (it had a cork!)
Smell: Raspberry and fruity. Enticing like Victoria Beckham.
Taste: The first impressions were sick making and strong, slipping down the throat like a slug. It left a burning sensation on the roof of some subjects’ mouths.
Downability: 6. Despite the poor flavour it was easy to down, though left a metallic aftertaste.
Celebrity Comparison: Katie Price – pretends to be classy and alluring, but in the end is cheap.
Chardonnay, 12% vol, £4.50
Smell: a slight strawberry smell, a bit like a frube.
Taste: This one was a paint stripper, leaving my teeth with considerably less enamel. To quote one subject, “This is a properly wank wine”
Downability: 6.5 Easier to down than most reds, though burns the insides.
Celebrity Comparison: Lindsay Lohan- could have been so much, but in the end is a failure in all respects.
Soave 2012, 11.5% vol, £4
Smell: Nail varnish, airfix glue and old lady’s perfume.
Taste: Strongly flavoured, fruity and sour (a bit like toxic waste).
Downability: 8 simply downed on account of its watery texture.
Celebrity Comparison: A pedestrian in Vice City – easily downed.
Pinot Grigio (from Hungary), 12% vol, £4
Smell: Like the sick from a 14 year old girl who has tried alcohol for the first time, mixed with peaches grown on a soviet collective farm.
Taste: Simply awful. To quote one of the subjects, “It tastes like something died in the fermenting vat”. Perhaps one of the Hungarian vineyard workers lost a toenail while mashing the grapes (presuming they used grapes).
Downability: 4 poor, especially poor for a white.
Celebrity Comparison: Piers Morgan – no one likes this wine. If it had a mother even she would hate it.
Dry Rosé, 11.5% vol, £4
Smell: like normal wine, with a hint of fruit.
Taste: Not as delicate as expected, with an effervescent vinegar flavour. I would recommend leaving an open bottle in a cupboard for a day, then splashing it on some chips.
Downability: 5 poor for a Rosé. Most subjects were left with an excessively watery mouth afterwards.
Celebrity comparison: Charlotte Church- an unexpected slag of a wine.
Dessert Wine (37.5 cl), 9.5%, £4
Smell: Strong alcohol scent.
Taste: A sweet and sour taste, with a hint of Parma Violets. It compliments blue cheese and dark chocolate surprisingly well. A more expensive dessert wine is still a lot nicer.
Downability: 4. Dessert wines are always hard: the sticky liquid can provoke gagging.
Celebrity Comparison: Pippa Middleton- sweet and fun, but a slightly less classy version.
Despite all of the wines being considerably subpar, we’d encourage you to take heed of our ratings, and note that some are considerably better than others. So next time you’re in need in Sainsbury’s and equipped with less than a fiver, whip out our list to make sure you buy a wine which is just that little bit less shit than the wine you were going to buy in the first place.