Sunday, January 24, 2021

Student wine

A review of the Co-operative’s  own brand Valpolicella 2011 wine by history student Fred Sculthorp


To purchase a wine is to engage in the very drama of winemaking. It is to queue in anticipation, to buy a ticket to the show.


The Co-op's own brand Valpolicella wine
The Co-op’s own brand Valpolicella wine

Disillusioned by the tedious Chilean Merlots and South African Cabernet Sauvignons of the lower Co-op (in St Andrew’s, Scotland), my search for a more relaxed Italian red led me to the uncharted territory of the upper high street. It was here I came across the ‘open all hours’ chain of Co-op with its much larger and prestigious collection of wine. The own brand Valpolicella seemed an obvious choice. Its depleted stock indicated a popular tipple amongst the more adventurous that had chosen to make the longer journey to the upper Co-op. At one minute to closing my cashier eyes up my choice with interest.


Glugging it back outside one is immediately hit with the lightness of the wine. It’s not until the third swig that you get the first hit of fruit. It’s an overwhelming dose of cherry with a rumour of late blooming blackberry. It’s a nose of thick polish mixed with the subtle smoothness of Vaseline. Too good to be finished on the street it is taken home. In the comfort of my own surroundings the wine comes into its own. There are suggestions of maple syrup, walks in the wood and early evening dew drops.


Half a bottle goes. A thin residue of purple colouring begins to form on the lips. By now the taste of berries is long gone. The own brand is revealing a darker side. There is nothing left but the cruel taste of sourness and preservatives. My dark, blotchy, wine coloured lips resemble those of a clown who’s grown tired of life.  It’s an early evening walk in the woods that’s gone wrong. It’s gotten dark, the dog has gone missing. The bottle is finally finished.


It goes off after 12 months so, please, drink it quickly.


Tasting notes:

– Best had with: A crumbly chocolate such as a Flake or a Twirl.

– Sticker rating: 6/10, a deep pink background shows its good intentions but the failed flowery mural reveals its darker undertones.

– If it were a person it would be: The Fonz.

– Price: £4.35 a bottle.



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