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The Times

Published:  23 July, 2008

JANE MacQUITTY also departs from the norm and breaks out of her comfort zone to visit her local corner shops. She describes her Food, News Booze and Lottery Londis store in Fulham, south-west London, as 'enlightened' compared to the 'grim collection near me'. She sees 'two Chardonnay girls revving up for a night out with expensive pink dross, Blossom Hill White Zinfandel and Gallo Sierra Valley Grenache', while a knowledgeable-looking middle-aged male customer walks out with his usual, 'two bottles of 2004 Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz'. She visits a Costcutter with a 'miserable range of Dark Ages wines', a Netto with 'wall-to-wall upright branded wines of ancient lineage' and a Spar, where the 'competent wine buyers spend most of their time sourcing the group's lengthy, constantly changing own-label range'. She concludes by commending her own top 100 Winter Wines. Both the red and the white star buys are Blason de Bourgogne wines: 2005 Pinot Noir (4.99-6.49; Asda, Co-op, Morrisons); and 2005 Chardonnay (4.99-6.43, widely available).