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United get official wine partner

Neil Sowerby starts at Old Trafford and visits Chile, Trentino, Tuscany and Cirencester

Written by . Published on May 24th 2010.


United get official wine partner

Come on you Reds took on a whole different meaning this week when Manchester United signed Chile’s Concha y Toro as the club’s official wine partner.

The Co-op’s own brand vintage champagne has scooped gold at two of the world’s most important wine competitions. The big, complex Co-operative Les Pionniers 2002 (£20.99) triumphed at both the International Wine Challenge (IWC) and the Decanter World Wine Awards. Co-op champagne sales are up by a surprising 20 per cent despite the recession.

One wonders if the brand has enough luxury vintage clout for Sir Alex to be able to offer it to rival managers for post-match consolation, as is his wont. We think it’s a consistent range, particularly those bottled under the Casillero del Diablo name – more Darren Fletcher House Red than Gran Riserva Ronaldo. But Concha y Toro do supply wines to the august Wine Society, which is evidence of their quality.

At £5.95 the Society's Chilean Merlot is dense black-red in colour with spicy blackberry scents and lots of ripe, fleshy fruit on the palate. For more details on the Wine Society’s range visit www.thewinesociety.com.

Meanwhile United’s fellow Manchester stalwarts, The Co-operative Society, have announced plans to produce their own English wine from vines planted on one of the company’s farms in Gloucestershire.

The six acre vineyard near Cirencester will produce a white wine, mainly from the Ortega grape variety, from around 2014. Wild flowers will be planted alongside the vines, to encourage wild life, especially bees.

The Co-op’s own brand vintage champagne has scooped gold at two of the world’s most important wine competitions. The big, complex Co-operative Les Pionniers 2002 (£20.99) triumphed at both the International Wine Challenge (IWC) and the Decanter World Wine Awards. Co-op champagne sales are up by a surprising 20 per cent despite the recession.

The consistent Canaletto range offers a wine tour around Italy. My current pick is the robust, damsony Canaletto Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (Sainsbury’s, £6.49). Canaletto comes under the umbrella of United Wineries (maybe this may have suited the Old Trafford Reds better?), who joint hosted a recent tastng at the Radisson Edwardian with Gruppo La-Vis, a conglomerate of wineries mostly from the northerly Trentino region but with a couple of Tuscan outposts.

Tesco stock one of the Tuscans we tasted – a 2007 Cafaggio Chianti Classico (£10.99). It offers very little on the nose but on the palate lots of tightly structured dark red fruit with good potential. Stick a couple aside for a couple of years and you may be rewarded.

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