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Philippa

Around this time of year I have a sort of Dame Helen Mirren moment – not that I have delusions of grandeur or anything or imagine myself re-imagining the Queen – but because this is awards season in the wine world!

It feels a bit like the Oscars, the Baftas, the Tonys, the Golden Globes and not forgetting Cannes all rolled into one big, tearful, smile though your heart is breaking, “hooray I’ve won!” sort of moment. Without the designer frocks. Or the acceptance speeches.

Award winning wines

So here, lovely readers, are some rather splendid medals that we’ve won for some very special wines, exclusive to Asda.

For those of you who love your Italian reds with richness and oodles of smoothness then Amarone is the top pick – and you don’t get much better than the Asda exclusive Amarone della Valpolicella that has also won an IWC Gold medal, plus the Amarone Trophy, plus the Veneto Trophy. Wow! Catch it now for under a tenner.

And if you love fizzy, frothy, sweet and grapey sparklers that are truly delicious with strawberries and cream then Extra Special Asti Spumante is the star in your summer sky. It’s won two Silver Medals (IWC and IWSC) plus the IWC Great Value Award for sparkling wine. Prosecco? So Last Year…

And if the Wine Atlas range has caught your eye (the labels are fun, aren’t they?) I am very proud to announce a Silver Medal for the Wine Atlas Frapatto from Sicily.

A wine that Tom Cannavan describes online on the Huffington Post as his Wine of the Week and “very gluggable, very gentle”. Bring on the tomato and mozzarella salad and chill down the red! Thank you to all my lovely suppliers and here comes summer!

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Posted by Philippa on 25 June 2015
Philippa

Wine is Geography. Wine belongs to where it comes from – the landscape, the weather, the vines and the people. The best wines show a real sense of place and real wines taste great with the local food.

The Wine Atlas

You see, when I go travelling around the wine regions of the world I come across so many exciting, different wines that I just can’t wait to say to wine drinkers “Yes! Pinot Grigio has its place, but how about this really tasty Feteasca Neagra from Romania, I’m sure you’d love that just as much. Or how about this awesome Cigales from Spain – it’s Tempranillo, but maybe not as you know it…”

Now here’s some news: we’ve just launched a new range of wines called The Wine Atlas, a selection of wines that celebrates the Hidden Gems, the Undiscovered, the Indigenous.

Wines with lots of different flavours across all sorts of styles so there’s something for everyone. Well, we hope so anyway, and because I firmly believe that beautiful wines come from beautiful places we’ve designed some gorgeous, eye-catching and award winning labels to complement the loveliness of the wines.

The Wine Atlas

So pack your passport wine lovers, and travel with The Wine Atlas to some of the tastiest destinations in the world.

The Wine Atlas Catarrato 2014
Friday night is Chinese ready meal night in my house and this fruitily refreshing Sicilian white goes fabulously with Eastern flavours. But you don’t have to stop there, you can travel further to different cuisines! So I love this too with Greek halloumi cheese. A little bit spicy, smooth and tasty this is summer sunshine in a glass.

The Wine Atlas Cotes de Thau 2014
Here’s a real holiday wine, a bright and brisk white from the French Mediterranean coast, close to Picpoul de Pinet but made from a mixture of grapes including Sauvignon Blanc. So if you’re after a dry white that’s delish with grilled sardines, stunning with salade nicoise or just the perfect sundowner at the weekend, here’s the bottle for you.

The Wine Atlas Marzemino 2013
Well, this is special. It’s a fresh, savoury red from Northern Italy, a region called Trentino up near the Dolomites (that’s where we source our Extra Special Pinot Grigio from and it’s a cool place). If you’re looking for a chillable red that’s brilliant with grilled tuna or tomato pasta and is packed with ‘barbecue-friendly freshness’ – according to Anthony Rose in The Independent – then grab a bottle of this cherry fruity number.

We’ll be at Taste of London this June showing off some of our lovely wines from Wednesday 17th to Sunday 21st, so be sure to pop in and see us if you’re heading to the event!

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Posted by Philippa on 17 June 2015
Philippa

Sorry everyone, it’s going to be cold and wet this weekend. Yes, from the Isle of Eigg in the Highlands (hello Kath!) to Suffolk’s Bury St Edmunds (greetings to John and Deidre, keep drinking the Extra Special Dao!) it’s not going to be a break-out-the-barbecue kind of day on Sunday or even Monday.

Bank Holiday wines

But in our house where exam revision tension is tangible the husband and I won’t be going crazy on the socialising front, so a glass or two of something tasty will make the rain thundering onto the conservatory roof and the suppressed panic on our daughter’s face frankly less of a concern.

So here are a few of my favourite bottles for Bank Holiday sipping – whether you are shivering in a tent in Devon or settling down with a box set at home, I hope you enjoy a very relaxing, happy few days.

Warming Red
Extra Special Douro – this is from Portugal and makes a cracking change from the legendary Dao (well, it’s a legend in my house). Amazingly rich and fruity with just enough oak to make it even more interesting and even better with food, this would be stunning with roasted, (barbecued!) and grilled meat.

Chilly Whites
Koru New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc – from Thai green curry to fresh asparagus, from pesto chicken to summery salads (wishful thinking here) this should be your go-to wine. A little bit softer than your average New Zealand Sauvie, this is peachy rather than gooseberry fruity and I think all the better for that. Spring in a glass.

Yes it Really Is Spring Rose
Tagus Creek Rose Tejo – You might be wishing you hadn’t packed away your winter woollies but it’s May, for goodness sake, so let’s enjoy some rose: dry, chilled and delish with grilled haloumi, salade nicoise or creamy pasta. The Falua winery wins again in the value for money stakes.

Posted by Philippa on 01 May 2015
Philippa

I’ve been having some fun browsing lists of ‘national days’ (like you do) and some sound rather bizarre to the casual observer – Read a Road Map Day, Bat Appreciation Day or National Tweed Day anyone? But I tell you what, World Malbec Day this Friday speaks to me loud and clear saying here’s a chance to join with wine lovers everywhere to celebrate the rich, smooth and tasty meat-marvel that is Malbec.

Top picks for Malbec day

Although they have been growing it since the 1850’s Argentina’s Malbec really took the US by storm in 2010 and now it’s the red of choice for a lot of wine fans in the UK as well.

Need a reliably dense and fruity red off a restaurant wine list or supermarket shelf? Go to Malbec. Fancy something flavoursome for the barbecue? Go to Malbec.

But Malbec isn’t just for meat – and it isn’t just from Argentina. In fact, the grape originated in France and was planted in both Bordeaux and the Cahors region before the treck to South Amercica was made in the 19th Century and now its travelling all over the place, with good wine being made in lots of different places like Chile and Australia.

So what’s happening on World Malbec Day? Well, a lot of exciting events in cities as far flung from one another as Helsinki and Hong Kong, Sydney and Toronto or London and Buenos Aires. So if you fancy your own celebration at home here are my Top Picks that are flavoursome, fun and brilliant matches to food.

Let’s just hope for BBQ weather now…

Trivento Reserve Malbec – rolled back to £6
Fun Factoid for the week: Trivento is the UK’s best selling Malbec and it’s easy to taste why – smooth, medal winning and glamorous it’s brilliant value. Bob-on with chilli con carne – or you can go all out for the velvety, black fruit jam-packed Trivento Golden Reserve Malbec (£13.47), a marvel with beef wellington.

Extra Special Argentinian Malbec – £5
How can such a great wine be so inexpensive? Because it’s Extra Special, that’s why. Choc-full of fruit from Mendoza and a favourite with friends. Really good with roasted Mediterranean vegetables or casseroles.

Chateau de Labarrade, Cahors – £7.97 or six for £40 from Wine Shop
Back to its origins, this is the chunky version of Malbec from South West France where the grape is known as Cot; and mightily tasty it is, too. Stunning with venison.

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Posted by Philippa on 16 April 2015
Philippa

Whatever you’re eating this Easter, Asda’s superb wine range has the perfect partner. We’ve got some fab recipes to choose from on our recipes site – give them a go this Easter and pair them with my pick of the bunch!

Easter wines

Extra Special Prosecco
I’ve been sourcing Extra Special Prosecco from the same supplier in the Piedmont region for many years. That style, which consistently wins medals in UK wine competitions, is fresh, lively and wonderfully fruity. Lovely on Easter Sunday with tasty snacks and nibbles; but just as delicious with fresh fruit desserts.

Try with any of these quick and easy party bites.

Extra Special Chardonnay
I’ve selected this Extra Special Chardonnay from the South of France to reflect the new, lighter, fresher styles which are now so popular; with a touch of oak to lend a gentle loveliness. This would be the perfect choice to serve alongside smoked or poached salmon, smoked haddock or pea and mint soup.

Try with this pea and mint soup.

Find out Philippa's other suggestions here.
Posted by Philippa on 27 March 2015