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wine of the week 02/11/2008

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  I've just been tasting my way through new ranges of 'super-budget' wines that have started to appear on the shelves of the major supermarkets for thewinegang.com. We will give out verdict on those later, but the wines are a phenomenon: priced around £2.20 per bottle, the sums barely add up as taxes alone claim around £1.80 of that. So just exactly what does the remaining 40p buy, when it has to cover the entire production from growing the grapes to manning the checkouts, bottling and shipping, and presumably some sort of proft-margin for all concerned?

Asda Montepulciano d'Abruzzo (Italy) 2007
Meanwhile, this little Italian red has represented the previous low point (price-wise), available on the shelves for just £2.98. The truth is that precious few wines costing less than £3.00 would be suitable for 'wine of the week', but this is an exception: it is a light ruby colour, and a nosed of slightly spicy, red plum and cherry fruit. On the palate there is genuine personality here, and I have to say the fruit is excellent, with that slightly herbal edge and twist of typical Italian bitter cherry acidity to softer berry and plum flavours. It stays nicely balanced into the finish too, with soft tannins and a warming hint of earthy spice. Genuinely exceptional value this wine - there's no need to spend less... £2.98, Asda.