Posted 10th January 2013        

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You can’t go far wrong with a Semillon dessert wine really.

If you like dessert wines – and most people know whether they do or don’t – this is arguably (in that I am arguing that it is) the vanilla of the range. Not that it tastes of vanilla mind you; it’s really rather a fruity affair on the whole: it tends to include one or other of lemon sherbet, booze-soaked melons, grapes (heaven forbid), tangerines, peaches, apricots or, erm *consults Wikipedia*, damn! There’s nothing there.

There’s a thick honey sweetness you get with the most famous French Semillon dessert wine, the world-renowned Sauternes, that’s sort of present here. But it’s not quite as nice as the French ones I’ve tried. There’s a slightly thinner consistency to it somehow; perhaps it’s in the lack of alcohol? This comes in at a measly 10.5%, where Sauternes wines are legally obligated to reach a minimum of 13%.

Alcohol isn’t everything (as I repeat to myself daily at 10am in the morning while rocking back and forth, etc.), but with a wine this sweet there has to be some other clear and present aspect to balance the taste. Otherwise sweetness dominates and all of the fruit gets pulled right into it; that happens here to the point that the faint notes of melon and white (or, erm, orange) stone fruits are reduced to the status of peach lumps in a supermarket-own-brand Peach Melba yoghurt. One which has been sprinkled in sugar and drizzled in honey.

I am all for other parts of the world ripping off the French and making their produce cheaper, but this Tesco Finest Semillon really just tastes like Tesco Value Sauternes, and there’s not a whole lot more to say about it.

“Tip it on your ice cream,” says the label – or something to that effect.

That will only work if you’re eating vanilla ice cream, and then only if the quality of said ice cream is as low as the quality of this wine; and if that’s the case, I shall be bringing both the dessert and the wine when next I come to yours to dine. And that shall be expensive, so I shan’t be making a habit of your acquaintance.

Good day to you, sir/madam.

You can buy this from Tesco for the equivalent price of £6.50 per bottle, and probably for slightly more if you take it from the shelf, but don’t bother: it’s dull.

And, in the interests of rendering this process horribly transparent, I’ve just Googled this wine and found my own much more positive review from two years ago.

Incidentally I have some relatively old (second-hand, you see) wellies now and this didn’t remind me of them at all: it tasted very clean and processed.

“Has the world changed or have I changed?”


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Meet the Author:
Alexander Velky
Alexander grew up on Anglesey, almost as far away from civilization as he’d have liked. He studied English at university and subsequently moved to Prague to teach it to Czech people for just long enough that he could say he’d done that. He then returned to the UK to do an MA in Professional Writing, and later moved to London by accident and worked in the music industry for a while. His interest in wine has been developing throughout. He took the WSET Intermediate exam, for which he was rewarded with a certificate and a pin badge, but he probably won't bother doing any more. He now lives in Pembrokeshire with his wife and daughter. He writes, and drinks, for a living. You can follow him on Twitter if that's how you choose to spend your time. Photograph by Léonie Keeble