By Henry Biggs
One of the many delights of going home for the holidays is, for me at least, access to a medium-sized Sainsbury’s, and an entirely new range of bottom-shelf wine. There are, of course, a few bottles of plonk (table wine) which appear in both Sainsbury’s and Tesco, so I like to buy those which I can’t find in Market Square Tesco for a bit of variety. I am ashamed to say that this particular column will break its own rules; the wine was not bought from Tesco, and exceeded the usual £7 ceiling.
I wandered into Sainsbury’s on New Year’s Eve with Christmas cash in my pocket, looking for refreshments for the party I was going to that night; BYOB was enforced, quite rightly. Because I was (relatively) well off that day, and because New Year’s Eve is only once a year, I splashed out on an £8 (!) bottle of Beaujolais Villages Coteaux Granitiques. Very briefly, that means it is from the Beaujolais region of France, and from one of the ‘Villages’ vineyards, as opposed to one of the ten named crus. It is grown in the thin granite soil in the north of the region, which should make it more interesting than the overly fruity varieties of Beaujolais.
this one was full-bodied enough not to be drowned out by the goulash I was scoffing
Having decided on this bottle, and four tins of John Smith’s Extra Smooth to accompany it, I got on a train to Essex. My hosts had worked their arses off, and had organised, amazingly for Newcastle students, an excellent party. Unsurprisingly, the John Smith’s went very well with the canapés; it is the best beer.
The wine was saved for the main course and lived up to the price tag. As with most Beaujolais it was lighter than most red wines, but this one was full-bodied enough not to be drowned out by the goulash I was scoffing. I enjoyed the red fruity notes and it was a very refreshing wine overall. Someone once told me that the lightness of a Beaujolais makes your hangover gentler than other red wines. This is a lie.