Firstly, we should stress one point. You shouldn’t be drinking the wines on this list every day! This list is all about great tasting wines that offer great value and can be enjoyed year-round in any number of situations. In the context of the On-Trade, this also covers wines that are approachable and right for more regular drinking occasions.
When choosing wines to stock for everyday occasions, you need to put yourself in the role of the customer. As the consumer, meeting a friend for a quick drink or visiting the local before heading home from work on a Friday night, it’s unlikely you’re going to order a big Barolo. You also don’t want to spend that much and you’ll want a glass, not a bottle. It’s also unlikely to be an occasion in which you’re willing to explore your tastes – in these everyday occasions, a glass of wine is just an excuse for socialising, this usually means choosing international varieties like Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Touraine Sauvignon Blanc, La Java des Grandes Espérances
Sauvignon Blanc might be the king of Sancerre, white Bordeaux and Pouilly-Fumé but not all customers are aware of how much great French Sauvignon Blanc wines they’ve drunk. Usually, the variety used is hidden away on bottles of French wine, but not here. This wine from the Touraine region of the Loire Valley ditches many expectations of French wine. It say’s exactly what it is on the label, and it’s a funky label too!
Sauvignon Blanc remains incredibly popular in the UK On-Trade but the demand from consumers for lighter styles of wine may see a shift occur in the country of origin. Sauvignon Blanc ripens well in the relatively cool climate around the town of Tours. Here, it develops aromatic aromas whilst maintaining a fresh acidity. French Sauvignon is more mineral and crisp, with subtler flavours than examples from New Zealand which is evident inside this bottle. It’s a wonderful value and eye-catching choice – perfect for a wine by the glass or two.
Panuelo Tempranillo-Cabernet Sauvignon, Spain
The UK loves Spanish wines. To put it into perspective the UK is Rioja’s largest export market, accounting for 34% of all exports. Tempranillo is Spain's most famous grape and the signature of its most famous wine regions. It’s known for its relatively inoffensive red fruit flavours, superb value and diverse range of potential food-pairings.
For a red wine consumer looking to enjoy a relaxed glass, this wine offers exactly what you need. It’s light and soft with ripe red and dark berry fruit flavours. From lasagne and pizza to grilled meats and chilli, Tempranillo driven wines such as this one has all the qualities to be a superb food wine. And for a licensee, it’s nicely packaged in a contemporary style and great value.
Drifting Chardonnay, Lodi
Despite the anger from the Anything But Chardonnay crowd, Chardonnay remains one of the most popular varieties in the UK On-Trade. A WSTA survey found that 32% of people had drunk chardonnay in the last month, making it the nation’s 3rd most popular wine.
Made from grapes grown on sun-soaked vines at the top of California’s Central Valley region, this is a generously flavoured wine. Inside the bottle, with its whimsical and contemporary label, is a wine with plenty of tropical fruit and green apple on the nose, backed by oak spice. In contrast to the New World Chardonnay wines of the 90’s and early 2000’s that created the ABC troop, the lightly toasted oak doesn’t overpower the fresh a zesty lemon finish.
The Guv'nor, Spain, Felix Solis
Tempranillo is back for this blustering wine. Revelling in all of the indulgent ripe fruit and deliciousness of Spain’s signature grape, the liquid is certainly enough to sell this wine. But beyond the wine itself, the packaging and naming of this wine will capture the attention of the everyday drinker. Many producers are putting significantly more emphasis on the brand and label design for On-Trade wines and for good reason. Bottle displays in-outlet are an effective way of encouraging trial and trade-up.
The grapes for The Guv’nor come from a number of regions including Toro, La Mancha and Valdepeñas; the blend is predominantly Grenache with the balance Tempranillo. Made to a fruit-driven style it shows notes of vanilla from a short period of oak ageing. This is a no-nonsense wine, which shows plenty of rich, ripe, sweet red and dark fruit flavours and a juicy finish.
Collio Pinot Grigio, Tenuta Sant’ Helena, Fantinel
According to the same WSTA survey mentioned earlier, Pinot Grigio is the nation’s second favourite grape. It may not be perceived as one of most exciting of varieties to have on your list but does the job of appealing to consumers who like to play it safe with their choices. Sometimes a cold glass of a refreshing simple Pinot Grigio is just what is needed and there may actually be some benefit to you stocking a good one.
When listing any wines made with well-known grapes, it’s vital to price them at the right level. If you choose an entry level Pinot Grigio and it’s the least expensive white on your list, there is no incentive for customers to even browse the list and many consumers will actually be happy to pay a little more for varietals they are familiar with. A premium Pinot Grigio you could try is this one from Fantinel. The best grapes are selected from its Collio vineyards to make this excellent wine. It’s a wine that shows intense fruity aromas, flavours and a rich, structured palate – perfect for when I get off the clock.
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