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Jane Clare: A great collaboration that has produced something extra special

Our intrepid wine buff plunders the shelves of her local supermarket to discover some surprisingly delicious vintages...

Jane Clare
Jane Clare

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!”


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