Found Nerello Cappuccio, Sicily, Italy 2020 (£7, Marks & Spencer) When we describe something as obscure or unusual, we’re making a guess about the average person’s knowledge of the field in question. Some of these judgment calls are easier to make than others. The two best national supermarket wine departments, M&S and Waitrose, have had to make judgment calls about their own area of specialism since both launched wine ranges (respectively Found and Loved & Found) based on the idea of introducing their customers to new wines. There’s a fair bit of overlap in what the two departments think customers are unfamiliar with. Both have lively young reds made from native Sicilian varieties: Waitrose’s Loved & Found Perricone 2020 (£7.99) and (my slight preference) M&S’s Beaujolais-esque Nerello Cappuccio.
Waitrose Loved & Found Roero Arneis, Italy 2020 (£7.99, Waitrose) Also in both ranges: excellent examples from southern Chile (M&S’s Found País 2019 from the Itata Valley at £9 just pips Waitrose Loved & Found País 2020 from the Maule Valley); a pair of equally good South African whites (Loved & Found Bukketraube 2020, £8.99; and Found Grenache Blanc 2020, £8); and a wine apiece made from one of France’s manseng grape varieties (Loved & Found Petit Manseng 2019 at £9.99 and Found Gros Manseng 2020 at £9). Both ranges also do a nice line in supporting-cast grape varieties in famous regions: elbling rather than riesling in the Mosel (Waitrose), mazuelo rather than tempranillo in Rioja (M&S), and the apple and pear freshness of white arneis rather than better-known red nebbiolo, barbera or dolcetto of Piedmont.
Skouras Greek Agiorghitiko, Greece 2018 (£10.99, Aldi) Greece is an ideal candidate for initiatives of the Found or Loved & Found kind: the country’s wines remain criminally underrated. The country is also one of several from outside the mainstream making an appearance in the increasingly adventurous range at Aldi. Like many Greek reds, the Skouras Greek Agiorghitkio will appeal to fans of Italian wine, with its versatile food-friendly sweet-sour plum and cherry tanginess. The discounter hasn’t gathered all of its esoteric choices under a single brand à la M&S and Waitrose, but there are new wines in the range from Bulgaria, Canada, China, Lebanon, Romania and Switzerland, with the delicate, genteel, off-dry Swiss Fendant 2020 (£9.99) a charming introduction to a style that is everywhere on wine lists in its home country but still all too rare over here.