Wednesday, 4 July 2012
Normal wine for normal people: Tesco Sicil...
And like other normal wine drinkers, we do not necessarily have the wines we would like at hand. As we all know, the wines in my own (tiny, Mrs K, tiny) cellar are not for drinking. Yet. They are all either too young, too expensive or, I hope, too good to accompany a normal midweek supper, comprising the remains of Sunday’s gammon, with egg and chips.
Despite its similarity in price to pizza, no-one seems prepared to whiz round to us on a moped with a single bottle of wine. (Now there’s a business opportunity…)
Hence, I need to go out and buy a bottle, like a normal person – the kind of normal person, that is, who uses words like “hence”.
And so I am thrown upon the resources of a High Street which seems to be able to provide, at eight in the evening, a tub of ice cream of consistently good quality at a competitive price – but not an equivalent bottle of wine.
My local Tesco is called a Tesco Express, a nicety which may be lost on some readers from our former colonies. “Express” is used to differentiate my little Tesco from a Tesco Extra, Metro, Super, Pennypincher or whatever other suffix they come up with. It is not, in fact, faster; it is simply smaller than some of the others in their hierarchy; and therefore lacking any of the promoted or reviewed wines they might have in a Tesco Massive.
So I am faced with the usual sad choice of the branded and the blended. But then I notice a kneeling assistant, assidously putting bright yellow stickers on to a bottle which I can consequently only see is called Sicil…Vino Rosso Si…
I thought for a moment she might be applying a recently won Decanter award; or, at the very least, a price reduction. But no; this was a sticker proclaiming that the bottle is “Security Protected”.
Now, I have been fooled once before with the security protection on a bottle of wine, when I naively thought it might suggest a classier, more valuable product. But this bottle costs £4.15.
Why would anyone, faced with a display of wines, some as eye-wateringly expensive as £10.99, steal the one that costs just £4.15? I asked the girl putting on the stickers, who simply replied “Believe me, they’ll nick anything.”
Well. What a heartwarming view of one’s clientele. Presumably this embodies one of Tesco’s stated corporate values, to “understand customers”.
My local shoplifters clearly need a little enlightenment themselves, in the effort/reward ratio. Surely one bottle is as easy to steal as another; why steal one of the cheapest?
Or could it be that the eyes of the impecunious are instinctively drawn to the cheaper items on a shelf; then, when they realise they can’t afford even that, they steal it – without ever having looked at the more expensive stuff?
Anyway, the effect was to make me feel that I was in the kind of place where people would steal a £4.15 bottle of wine. Which must be a pretty lowly place. Remind me next time to bring both my Clubcard and my stab vest.
I paid for my bottle, like a normal person, intrigued as to what Sicil…Vino Rosso Si… might taste like. It was, as I had begun excitedly to deduce, a Sicilian red wine…
And it was incredibly…bland. A light cherry bouquet, and then a soft, barely detectable, blackcurranty flavour. None of that cheap vino alcoholic clench; more like sugar-free Ribena. The label says it "shows" flavours of red fruits; I prefer the verb "suggests".
This is the most drinkable, if least memorable, of all the sub-£5 wines it has been my sorry misfortune to drink. In most instances its consumption would be a pointless exercise, save in the pursuit of inebriation. But in terms of accompanying my supper, it succeeded in the same manner as, indeed, a successful shoplifter – by lacking any noticeable presence.
Was it worth it? Not was the tasteless wine worth £4.15 a bottle; that’s an almost academic question. But I’m left wondering whether it is worth a normal person being regarded as a potential thief amongst thieves in order to buy it.
However, I should just say that Mrs K claims no normal person would drink a glass of wine with gammon, egg and chips. She says a normal person would have had a cup of tea…