The Co-op’s fabulous Les Pionniers Vintage Champagne and a Wine Society duo

cop op fizzIs there a better supermarket vintage Champagne than the Co-op’s Les Pionniers 2004?

The judges of the Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships 2014 don’t think so – and neither do I.

It was no surprise when the Co-operative’s own-brand fizz, the result of a tie up with Piper and Charles Heidseick, picked up a clutch of awards including “World Champion Supermarket Vintage Champagne” and “World Champion Greatest Value Champagne.”

I did a round up of the best supermarket Champagne last year and Les Pionniers (39% chardonnay, 46% pinot noir, 15% meunier) was a “star buy.”

At £24.99, this golden wine, with a light mousse, carries heaps of appley, citrus freshness that belie its depth and complexity. It’s classy enough to celebrate a corporate deal or a romantic soirée – or a jolly nice way to start the weekend.

Heading well south of Champagne, I have been enjoying a reminder of summer in the guise of a duo from Languedoc-Roussillon, a favourite stomping ground for family holidays, via The Wine Society.

photo photoPicpoul de Pinet, Domaine Félines Jourdan 2013 (£7.50) is a versatile wine, a Picpoul for all seasons. There are hints of lemon, softness and a general likeability.

Cabardès, Château de Pennautier 2012 (£7.95) is touted as a delicious “everyday red” by the Wine Society ( I don’t know what its tasters knock back on Monday nights, but this is a notch above my normal weekday drinking.

The combo of Bordelais and Languedoc varieties works very well, providing blackcurrant and leathery spice. Château de Pennautier has a luscious deep bramble colour and is made for roast beef.

Both wines are on offer until October 19, or while stocks last. Take my advice and bag a box of Pennautier. It’s got a great label, too.

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