|De Bortoli (Australia) Semillon Chardonnay 1999
It is easy to forget that SPAR, the association of small grocers shops that covers the UK, is one of the biggest retailers of wine in the UK - and the world. The range is constrained within a certain budget, and in truth there are still a lot of rather mundane lines on their shelves. SPAR is making real efforts however, and I was recently sent a sampling case which, indeed contained some interesting and well-chosen bottles. I started with this, from the excellent de Bortoli. It has an elegantly-oaked, creamy ripe melon and pear-fruited nose. The palate is well-balanced at only 12.5% alcohol, with buttery, rounded fruit and mouthfeel, plenty of crunch from apple and pear acidity, and just hints of rich, more tropical fruit. That deft sheen of oak warms the finish and makes for a balanced, easy drinking white with some real style. £4.49 SPAR stores.