When it comes to cookery schools there’s probably one which is most well-known in this country – Leiths School of Food and Wine.
So for one supermarket, Asda, it is a decent coup to have Leiths involved in the tasting and evaluating of its Extra Special range.
Their collaboration began in 2012 and it extends to tasting, evaluating and endorsing all of Extra Special wines.
So before you or I even think about opening an ES wine, a food and drink expert independent of Asda has given it the nod.
There are 48 Extra Special wines – I wish I could say I’d tasted them all, but I still need some feeling in my fingertips. Shame, but there you go.
It’s been hot hot hot outside but a mildly chilled beaujolais can take the edge off. ES Fleurie (£8.25 reduced to £7 from next Monday, August 2) is light and raspberry fruity from the gamay grape and oak agwing has added pepper-vanilla sprinkles.
ES Barolo 2009 (£15 but £10 from August 2-26). By law barolo has to be aged in oak for three years. It can be a pricey beast –so this is not bad, complex, smoky floral nose with menthol and a hint of clove.
My favourite red had to be ES Valpolicella Ripasso (£9). I love ripasso. It is made by fermenting dried grape skins used in making rich amarone in a young valpolicella. This is also partly aged in oak so has a yumm cherry fruity nose with a spicy raisin tingle.
Extra Special Gerwurztraminer (£8) from Alsace had a little lees contact so there’s a slightly creamy mouthfeel and murmurs of roses on the nose. ES South African Chenin Blanc is a worthy Fairtrade wine at £5, reduced from £7 until August 20. and with a midweek meal is crisp, fresh and OK at the price.
Extra Special Moscatel NV at a fiver is a sweet hit which some may find gloopy. But chilled it is incredibly moreish. Think the syrupy peach juice from a tin and you’re not far from it. Some moscatel wines are low in alcohol – this is 11% abv and is grown-up summer dessert sipping. Or try with blue cheese.
This year, Asda launched Extra Special Premier Cru Champagne (£19.75) and it has already been awarded a Gold medal and named ‘Great Value Champagne’. Asda’s Master of Wine, Philippa Carr describes it as “fine, floral and fruity ... outstanding quality bubbles and value for money too!”