As I may have mentioned before, I’m less than pleased at Morrison’s takeover of Safeway. This is not to praise the latter chain, it was a mediocre supermarket at best, and horrifically overpriced; and this is also not to say that I’m a big fan of supermarkets either. But leaving aside all the anti-supermarket arguments for a second it’s a sad fact that in some places (such as here in Ormskirk) they’re all you’ve got when it comes to buying wine.
The problem is that, with the honourable exception of waitrose (not a chain in great evidence round these parts) safeway was the only supermarket with an interesting list. Their buyers did a pretty good job, certainly taking far more risks than any of the other major players. It’s the only supermarket I’ve ever seen a Gruner Veltliner on sale in, for example. The aisle at Morrison’s conversely is a depressing affair, stocked almost entirely with heavily discounted brands or worrying 2.99 “Italian Red”‘s. I walked up and down it for a good ten minutes, and didn’t see anything I remotely wanted to buy. The high street just dumbed down a little more, and if I see one more bottle of Wolf Blass whatever, I think I may cry.