The Tesco Finest range of wines has quite a few well priced hidden gems. One of the ways to prize these out from the crowd is to see who the winemaker is. Very good winemakers do not become ordinary just beceause they make a label for Tesco. au contraire.
Tesco recently held a very interesting Tesco Cheese and Wine Virtual event. Great idea. Whatever happened to Cheese and Wine Receptions? They sort of disappeared. The cheese for this event was taken from both the Tesco Irish Artisan Cheese and the Tesco Finest Cheese selections. Top class and portions sell at the very reasonable €4.00 each or 3 for €10.00 for the Irish.
My faves from the selection: Tesco descriptors. Not mine.
Tipperary Brie Wedge – €4
Handmade on the Maher family farm from pasteurised cow’s milk.
Mild and creamy with hints of butter, undergrowth and wet grass. Fully matured at 8-10 week
Finest Gorgonzola Piccante – €3.99
This Gorgonzola Piccante is a blue veined cheese made from cows milk. It’s a sharp, spicy cheese traditionally made in the heart of Northern Italy. A hand-crafted blue cheese produced close to Milan from the milk of selected farms using traditional methods. The cheese has a sweetness and complexity of flavour that is hard to rival. Note: the rind on this cheese is not edible.
The idea was to pair the cheese with the wine. For me this is one of those exercises that never works out! It always leads to generalities and encourages the average to become a dictat. Besides, good and established wine writers will always find a way to make pairings work. At least we were warned at this event to go home and practice for ourselves! Sounds good. You taste. You decide.
For me the wine that pairs to almost all cheeses is the Italian wine Gavi. Textural palate with a white stoned heart of rich fruit and fine acidity from the Cortese grape. Cuts into cheese and lifts the ‘cheese and wine’ thingy up a notch or two. The Tesco Finest Gavi is a good example.
Tesco Finest Gavi 2016 €10.00 (Tesco note, not mine)
Grown in the vineyards surrounding the small town of Gavi, Northwest Italy. Grapes are hand-harvested, destemmed and soft-
pressed before a cool, slow fermentation. The finished wine is then left on lees for 2 months before blending. A portion of the blend is fermented in oak barrels.
A point was made at the event that bubbles and especially Champagne bubbles and especially, especially, pink Champagne bubbles pairs with almost everything. mmm …. I’ll leave that to one side.
That said (and it’s an absolute truism – one of mine!) all of the Tesco Finest Champagnes are excellent and offer exceptional value.
The wine chosen to match the cheese(s) was the Tesco Finest Blanc de Blanc Champagne Vintage 2013. Superb style. The broad nature of this Chardonnay based palate complemented the spiced nature of the Gorgonzola to perfection.