What food are you planning to serve for a Valentine’s meal? I only ask because I was chatting with my colleagues in the wine team about which menu we think would most impress a loved one and these are the dishes we all agreed on, so I’ve partnered the dishes with some gorgeous drinks for maximum romantic impact. Have a lovely evening!

Valentine's Day drinks

Proposal Pink

If you’re planning to pop the question on the 14th Lanson Rosé NV Champagne £25 is the perfect rosé to celebrate (well, I hope the answer will be yes!) It’s a favourite of mine for sentimental reasons – it was served at my wedding and we still celebrate anniversaries with a bottle of Lanson pink.

Seafood Starters

It could be prawns or scallops or even mussels but whatever your fishy favourite there is one wine which I’ve always loved and really deserves a renaissance and that’s Muscadet. From the mouth of the Loire Valley, close to the Atlantic, this bright and breezy, fresh as a daisy white was made to match fish – try our Château Salmonière, Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine, Sur Lie £6.50 and read our customer review with a brilliant 5 out of 5!

Steak with a Creamy Mushroom Sauce

We all voted for steak and that calls for a rich red with some tannin but plenty of bold fruit flavours. I am always bowled over by the quality of Viñalba Malbec Syrah, was £9 now £6, from Patagonia because it is just so smooth and that makes it a match made in heaven with the creamy sauce.

Chocolate Fondue

Dipping fresh fruit in chocolate sauce has to be major fun and I noticed the other day that a fondue restaurant has just opened down the road from where I live so I’m thinking there must be some kind of 70’s revival going on. Fancy a retro fizz? Try Martini Asti Moscato Spumante £7.75 – grapey, sweet and frothy fun.

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Posted by Philippa on 07 February 2014

This year the Chinese New Year falls on a Friday, so what better way to celebrate the Year of the Horse than with a tasty Chosen by you selection and a glass of something refreshing.

Perfect wines for the Chinese New Year

We don’t have any Chinese wine in the range at the moment as the quality hasn’t always been the greatest – but as 5th in the rankings of world wine production and top end wines winning stellar medals in competitions, I’m sure you’ll be finding more Chinese wine on supermarket shelves in the future.

I feel that Chinese food needs wine which will do two things: firstly, cut through the richness of the dishes based on duck or pork and secondly, enhance delicate flavours and not completely swamp them with tannin or oak or alcohol. So my advice is to go for something which is light and refreshing, be it white or red, so if you fancy a glass with your crispy duck or spring rolls here are a couple of suggestions from the Asda Wine Shop:

Fruity Reds

Extra Special Beaujolais Villages £6.50
Gamay has to be one of the fruitiest grape varieties around and until the Aussies turned up with their juicy brambly numbers, Beaujolais was one of our favourite easy-drinking wines. Rediscover Beaujolais! Not too alcoholic (around 12.5%) so it won’t dominate the food and can be lightly chilled so more refreshing – it has just enough acidity to cut through food richness. What’s not to love?

Aromatic Whites

These are the wines where the smell just leaps out of the glass – in a good way, of course – so I’m thinking here of Sauvignon Blanc, really nettly and gooseberry-like; or Riesling, prettily floral or pungently petrolly or even that Turkish Delight scented grape, Gewurztraminer. The two I’d pick today would be:

Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, was £14.98 now £10
Miraculously smooth but deliciously spring scented.

Jacob’s Creek Reserve Riesling, was £10 now £7
A seriously dry and limey Australian choice which pairs brilliantly with Asian or Eastern cuisines.

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Posted by Philippa on 31 January 2014
Philippa's Wine Blog

Noster Nobilis Priorat, Extra Special Gavi, Extra Special Barbera

Peter Richards MW is a star – not only does he champion the great wines of Portugal (of which I am also a fan) but he also talks enthusiastically and un-stuffily about wine on that hugely successful TV programme, BBC One Saturday Kitchen.

I just can’t resist passing on his views on two of Asda’s lovely, lovely wines – thank you Peter!

Extra Special Gavi – £8
Peter said that this gorgeously fruity, flavoursome Italian white from the Piedmont region of Italy was “subtle and also herbal” and had “crispness and weight”. I’d love to drink a chilled glass with creamy pasta dishes or winter salads.

Noster Nobilis Priorat – was £8.75 now £7.50
Oh my, just listen to this: “Step forward the absolutely delicious Noster Nobilis Priorat from Spain. It’s not easy to find decent Priorat under £10, as it’s not cheap to make, which makes this one a bit of a bargain. When you smell it, you get these lovely heady aromas of roasted fruit… It’s got fine, firm juicy acidity… It’s also got a lovely fruity but savoury generosity… Finally, there’s also a roasted herbal and earthy quality.” Just add a hearty casserole and your winter drinking is sorted.

And Helen McGinn has to be one of my most favourite wine writers: not only is her style very friendly and fun, but she is also a really lovely lady. An all round jolly good egg then!

Extra Special Barbera – £8
Helen said: “Barbera is the grape and Asti is the place. Put them together in the hands of a top wine producer like this one, called Araldica, and the result is brilliant. Really juicy bramble fruit loaded and earthy (in a good way), it provides instant central heating for these long, cold, dark nights.”

Have you heard of the Knackered Mother’s Wine Club? Helen McGinn…

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Posted in Philippa's Wine Blog on 17 January 2014
Philippa's Wine Blog

Everyone loves a bargain, especially in January when we’ve maybe gone a bit overboard at Christmas, so I thought I’d let you know about some lovely wines which are now at special lower prices. Even if you’re having a Dry January, you can tuck these little beauties away for when you are back to enjoying a glass of wine or two.

Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc – was £14.98 now £10
My goodness, what a cracking deal! Stoneleigh Vineyard is in the Wairau Valley in Marlborough, New Zealand, and I have long been a fan of its more subtle, restrained style – more tropical fruits than green and grassy flavours. Stunning with Asian and Thai style dishes.

Château de Lussac 2009 – was £17.98 now £12.50
January, February and March are months full of birthdays in my household so I am very, very happy that this wonderfully classic claret is so heftily reduced. Don’t let on but this classy Bordeaux will be everyone’s birthday bottles this year. And because I love this wine just as much, it’ll be on the menu for posh lunches too.

Cune Crianze Rioja – was £9.95 now £7
Spring, here we come! Well, maybe not just yet but Rioja is THE favourite choice to go with lamb. So, my advice would be to pop a bottle or two of this smooth, spicy and vanilla scented wine in your basket – and if you can’t wait for new season lamb, this would be just as delicious with roast chicken or vegetarian casseroles.

Wolf Blass Red Label Sparkling – was £8.45 now £5.75
Wow! Surely you must have something to celebrate, even if it’s only the weekend! At this stunning price this tasty Aussie sparkler would perk up any dreary day.

Cono Sur Bicycletta Pinot Noir and Viognier – were £7.50 now £5
Lovely Chilean stuff here at bargain-acious prices. Probably one of the best value New World Pinot Noirs – silky and pretty and a gloriously fragrant Viognier – both at a fiver. Either wine would taste brilliant with paella, Mediterranean dishes, pork or gammon. Yummy.

Moscato d’Asti Moncucco Fontanfredda – was £12.47 now £7.97
Happy birthday to me! Today, January 10th, is my birthday, so this particular Capricorn will be sipping this dinky bottle with my cake. It’s such a gorgeously grapey, sweet and tasty wine that I won’t mind the number of candles this year!

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Posted in Philippa's Wine Blog on 10 January 2014

Well, 2013 was quite a year for wine at Asda, so I thought I’d do a bit of a review with some of the wine team’s favourite wines of the year.

Philippa’s Faves

13 wines of 2013

1 Extra Special Prosecco It was s one of those life changing moments for the Carr family – our elder daughter set off for her first term at university with great brio and swiftly learned she really should have listened more to her parents about a) ironing b) budgeting and c) wine. Yes, knowing a bit about wine is quite useful and mum’s Prosecco is pretty tasty. Thanks, girl.

2 Wolf Blass Yellow Label Chardonnay I’ve been given this blind twice now and every time I get it wrong. I always talk it up simply because it’s one of the best-value low key, new wave Aussie Chardonnays on the market.

3 Laurenz V Silver Bullet Grüner Veltliner …because Grüner is my go-to grape variety at home with food (fish, chicken, sushi, Chinese, Thai) as well as my favourite ever-so-slightly-spicy Friday evening white. Delish.

4 Extra Special Yarra Valley Pinot Noir A new member of the Extra Special family and as silky and sexy as New World Pinot Noir can be. De Bortoli have done us proud and I’m loving it with roast duck.

5 Extra Special Louis Bernard 1er Cru Champagne Going for gold here and a beautifully elegant fizz for all sorts of family celebrations in 2013, from A level results to anniversaries, birthdays and seeing in the New Year at York Minster.

6 Domaine Sylvain Loichet Pernand Vergelesses Blanc Really serious stuff and one of the first wines I chose to go into Asda’s new online Wine Shop. This wine represents the quality we in the wine team believe in and who, by the way, doesn’t love white burgundy?

Wine Team’s Faves

13 wines of 2013

7 Megan’s Choice Megan is our Wine Marketeer and she loves the La Moneda Reserva Malbec because she’s never liked red wines in the past (“too much like drinking gravy”) but discovered this light and easy Malbec and has never looked back!

8 Emma’s Pick Emma is our Wine Buyer for France and is a huge fan of Maison Elysé Chardonnay because it’s light, creamy and super-lovely.

9 Ed B’s Best Ed manages the Wine Shop and his favourite is Zalze Chenin Blanc. This wine has single-handedly changed his view of South African white wines, it’s so delicious. Can’t say fairer than that.

10 & 11 Ed A’s Favourites Ed, Wine Buying Manager for wine, couldn’t decide between the block-busting Errazuriz Max Reserva Carmenere from Chile and Australia’s Zilzie Shiraz Viognier for its smooth fruitiness. Both are brilliant, so pick your meal and choose your wine, I’d say.

12 Louise’s Lovely bottle Louise looks after own-label wines and tastes Extra Special every week; so as a change she’s chosen our exclusive Paul de Albas Ribera del Duero because it’s gorgeously fruity.

And we all voted for…

13 Fossil Lisboa £8.50 An awesome wine from a young Portuguese winemaker, Pedro Marques. This gorgeous white is inspired by the fossil rich coastlines of Lisbon and is a brilliant food match. Portugal rocks!

So all it takes now is to wish you a very happy 2014 from all of us in the Asda Wine Team!

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Posted by Philippa on 06 January 2014