Philippa's Wine Blog

We won! Oh my, golly, yes. We have won the ultimate accolade of Supermarket of the Year from what many people believe to be the best and most prestigious wine magazine, Decanter.

Philippa with Peter Richards MW, Chair of Judges, and Christelle Guibert, Judge and Decanter's Tastings Director

It went like this. On Tuesday night I attended the Decanter Awards Ceremony in London on behalf of our fabulous wine team where retailers, big and small, were recognised and applauded for their passion for wine, and for selling it to customers with heart and imagination. I bumped into lots of old friends from the wine industry and we all chatted away, a wee bit nervously, and probably for the only time in my life I knew what it must feel like to be an Oscar nominee: you’re on a shortlist but daren’t think for a minute that you Just. Might. Win.

The lovely Peter Richards MW (you’ll know him from Saturday Kitchen on the telly) was the Chair of the Judges and the person responsible for announcing the winners. Supermarket Category. Tension mounts … and this is what he said … “Bold new initiatives based on extensive customer research, such as the launch of The Wine Atlas, set this supermarket apart from the field this year, as well as a fierce commitment to value…So congratulations to Philippa Carr MW – and Asda!”

And because, according to the judges, we pipped other retailers to the post due to our pioneering work with The Wine Atlas, here are three of my favourites. Enjoy. Be rude not to.

The Wine Atlas

  • Wine Atlas Cigales Spain in spades. Just goes to show there is so much more to Iberia than Rioja. Grab this gorgeous full and rich Tempranillo from the parched and precious region of Cigales. Grilled meat on the menu? Wine – sorted.
  • Wine Atlas Touraine Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough Sauvignon – are you feeling a little bit Been There Done That about New Zealand? Well, here’s the Inside Track. France’s Loire Valley was doing really, really great Sauvignon Blanc a long, long time before the Kiwis leapt onto the wine stage. So here’s a bright fresh star from the unbelievably pretty region of Touraine. Can I tempt you to a glass with your pesto pasta this weekend?
  • Wine Atlas Fetasca Neagra You don’t need to be able to pronounce the grape to know this is one wonderfully smooth and plump fruity Romanian red wine. One for drinking with a big bowl of chilli as you’ve settled on the sofa to watch a favourite DVD? Tell me who minds now about the weather?

And I’m just as proud of the judges’ comments about value, because that means we are doing the right thing – great quality at great prices. So, here are some of my personal heroes:

Great value wines

Posted in Philippa's Wine Blog on 11 September 2015

Getting married in Italy is a thing. It’s a celebrity thing (think George and Amal, Cat and Patrick, Justin and Jessica if you need to be convinced) and it’s a normal-person-who-you-know thing (two wine team colleagues have flown over there for their big day this summer). So I reckon it’s more than a thing. It’s a trend.

And it’s not just Italy for weddings, it’s also Italian wine! Apparently, in Britain, we are now serving more Prosecco at weddings than Champagne, which I totally get. Prosecco is smooth and easy-drinking, widely available and affordable. And who doesn’t love a glass of Chianti on a Tuscan hillside? Or Primitivo in Puglia?

Wedding wines

So here are a few suggestions from me if you are getting married this summer – in Italy doing the thing, or doing your different thing somewhere else. Congratulations. Enjoy the Day. And the wine!

Extra Special Prosecco – £8.25
Delicate, fresh and elegant, if this were a wedding dress it would be Kate Middleton’s royal number: a classic, classy wonder.

Extra Special Gavi – £5.97
This is the Northern Italian white which is the peachy, tree- fruit- filled, fresh alternative to quality Pinot Grigio which has a real lightness of touch. Brilliant with canapés and starters or light fish dishes.

Wine Atlas Frappato – £4.97
Summer buffets need chillable reds that are flexible (ie go with different dishes) and unashamedly fruity,so here is the perfect bottle: a real berried Sicilian beauty.

And for more inspiration and information, just click through to our Wedding & Events page – our Wine Advisors are always happy to answer any queries but for the month of August only, I’ll be on hand to respond to questions myself.

Visit the Asda Wine Shop

Posted by Philippa on 10 August 2015

I can’t believe it’s August. I cannot believe the weather (chilly and wet where I am and probably not much better where you are, either).

Philippa Carr

I cannot believe we got back from our holiday in France last week and turned on the heating as soon as we had stashed the wine and loaded the washing machine (in that order). I cannot believe, either, that we are over half way through the year (no, I am not planning Christmas just yet, thank you).

And I cannot believe that in a few weeks’ time our younger daughter will be heading off to University! So I’m on a one woman mission to reclaim the summer. I’m holding back the year. Whatever the weather. Before August is over and we’re all feeling a bit back to school-y.

Here, therefore, is my very optimistic selection of summery, barbecue-appropriate Wine Atlas wines which would taste just as good if you’re bundled up in fleeces on a British beach or spending weekends clearing out the garage rather than pottering about in the garden.

Bring your holiday home! Drink like the locals!

The Wine Atlas does summer

Wine Atlas Marsanne 2014 – £5.47
Simply lovely. Such a beauty of a wine, peachy and smooth and Southern French delicious. Great with honey-glazed salmon or chicken and Mediterannean vegetable skewers.

Wine Atlas Bobal 2014 – £4.97
A bonny, bouncy, brilliant red from the Valencia region of Spain that’s gorgeously juicy and packed, choc-full of fruit. Really good picnic wine, great with gammon or a cheeky Cornish pasty.

Wine Atlas Corbieres, Chateau de Fournas 2013 – £5.97
Seriously spicy and liquorice red from Southern France that’s full of all those herby flavours typical of this Mediterranean region. Partner with big, bold flavoured dishes like steak fajitas, bourbon beef brisket or BBQ pulled pork.

Wine Atlas Grillo 2014 – £4.97
Like Pinot Grigio? Feeling adventurous? Love fresh and lively white wines but not too sour? This is the one for you. In fact, this is a one for everyone. From Sicily. Citrussy and sunshiney all in one tasty glass. Try with salade nicoise, grilled fish, asparagus quiche or tomato and mozzarella salad.

Visit the Asda Wine Shop

Posted by Philippa on 06 August 2015

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!

Visit the Asda Wine Shop

Posted by Philippa on 25 June 2015

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!

Visit the Asda Wine Shop

Posted by Philippa on 17 June 2015