Paula’s Wines of the Week – Week starting 03 August 2020

Paula’s Wines of the Week – Week starting 03 August 2020

Fewer champagne corks are flying thanks to the pandemic. With cessations of weddings, parties, going out to restaurants and opportunities to celebrate the famous French sparkling wine has seen sales fall by a third this year – that’s a loss of 1.7 billion euros – and an estimated 100 million bottles left unsold.

This is just another addition to the tale of woes for champagne producers. Sales have been falling steadily for the last few years (from 307.3 million bottles in 2017 to 297.5 million bottles in 2019).

Prosecco, the Italian sparkling wine that sells for around £8 a bottle, has also taken a massive slice out of champagne sales – why pay almost £25 for a bottle of champagne (the average price of bottle in the UK was £23.88 as of January 2020) when you can buy something that does the same job for less than a tenner?

What has become of Cava, the Spanish sparkling wine that was all the rage 25 years ago? Sales of this fruity and economic sparkling have fallen dramatically while the standard bottle price of around £5 has remained unchanged. Continuing low prices has established Cava’s reputation as cheap plonk even though the wine can be as complex and exciting in flavour as an aged champagne. But no-one believes them.

So who will win this battle of the sparklers? Champagne’s marketing men already have plans to reposition their wine as drink for all occasions. But will we believe them?

PG Wine Reviews from

Tesco Argentinean Malbec 2019
£5 Tesco
3 star rating
The fruity aromas of plum and blackberry and made slightly more complex with the addition of some fig. Unfortunately the fig disappears on the flavour and so you are left with a very simple wine that is okay but nothing exciting.

Barefoot Chardonnay
£5.50 All major supermarkets
3 star rating
Attractive white rose aromas, along with some pear and peach, are lost in the over oaked flavour which makes it a rather sickly drink.

Podere Montepulciano D’Abruzzo 2018
£9.99 JN Wine
5 star rating
This dark red wine has fruity aromas of mulberry, plum and cherry. Add in the liquorice and milk chocolate and the enticing smells make you want to dive into the refreshing fruity flavours. Like the aroma, the fruitiness is there on the palate but slightly muted with the addition of cinnamon spice. A good food wine.

Cantina Goccia 3Q 2017
£12 Woodwinters Wines and Whiskies (available in a paper wine bottle)
4 star rating
This dark red blend has enticing aromas of spicy cherry and dark chocolate with some rather prominent minty menthol. This is repeated on the taste with the addition of some fresh blackberry flavours. A nice wine but could have a little more body to match the flavours.

The wine rating system uses a maximum of 5 stars:

5 star rating (outstanding – the top rating given by
4 star rating (very good wine)
3 star rating (good wine but over priced)
2 star rating (a disappointing wine)
1 star rating (little to offer)

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© Paula Goddard 2020