Blue Nun - what's she been up to?

Blue Nun logoThe sweet German white wine drunk by over 3 million people in the 1970s has reinvented itself. Blue Nun Original is still available – though it’s drier than it used to be - but new red and white wines have been added to expand the range.

The Blue Nun brand now has a range of more than 25 varieties sold worldwide. Only ten of those make it to the UK: medium-sweet red, white and rosé from Spain; a sparkling; a medium-sweet Riesling; new low alcohol range containing two whites and two rosés; plus of course Blue Nun Original.

Blue Nun original old styleIf the last time you drank Blue Nun was in 1977, then you’re in for a shock. Back then Blue Nun was a traditional German Liebfraumilch, a sweet blend of three local grape varieties. Now the traditional Müller-Thurgau grape has been dropped from the blend, leaving only the aromatic Silvaner and acidic Riesling. The wine has significantly reduced its sugar content too.

Blue Nun Original doesn’t sell as well as it did in its ‘heyday’: declining from a peak of 3.5million bottles in the 1970s to around 1.5 million bottles a year today. Which, although it still sounds a lot, isn’t enough to place it in the UK’s top-twenty best-selling wines (Californian Blossom Hill is in there at number one according to latest Brands Report from Off Licence News). Blue Nun’s aging group of loyal followers have become more sophisticated, and are now looking along the supermarket wine aisles to find other white wines.

On the up side the UK is the second largest export market (by value) for German wines (United States is first with the Netherlands third) but its low alcohol German wine that consumers are turning to. Sales in the ultra-low 5.5% alcohol wine sector have increased enormously in the last year, rising almost 40% to over £38million. To meet this demand Blue Nun launched their Delicate range last year. These blends of ‘aromatic wine and delicious fruit flavours’ demonstrate the Blue Nun knows when to change her habits.

PG Blue Nun Wine Review – Now and 2007

Blue Nun Original can be found in almost every supermarket across the land, but the more recently launched named grape variety wines are harder to get hold of.

Blue Nun Original, Rhein, Germany

£4.98 - £5.29 from all major supermarkets

The Original now smells and tastes like apple strudel with a dollop of cream.

Blue Nun Rivaner Riesling newBlue Nun Rivaner Riesling, Germany

£4.98 Tesco Wine by the Case, £5.25 Morrisons

Tropical fruit flavours with a bit of pineapple thrown in. Best drunk very cold too lessen what could be an over-riding sweetness.

Blue Nun Medium White, Red and Rosé available Nisa

Medium White

£4.98 - £5.29 Tesco, Sainsbury's, Morrisons

Blue Nun Delicate White, Delicate Rosé, Sparkling White, Sparkling Rosé

£4.75 - £5.75 The Drink Shop

Blue Nun Gold Edition Sparkling (contains gold leaf)

£8.79 The Drink Shop, £9.79 Drinks Direct

Blue Nun varietal wines have also been launched – a German Riesling, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir and Dornfelder Rosé – but are currently very difficult to get hold of. I’ve only spotted the Pinot Grigio on Wines Deals Direct.

Blue Nun Merlot old styleMore varietal flavours have been tried, but these have now disappeared. You might be interested in my tasting notes (and prices) from 2007:

Blue Nun Dornfelder Merlot, Germany

£5.19 Morrisons

Light blackberry and blackcurrant flavours (review 2007).

Blue Nun Merlot, Languedoc, France

£5.38 Morrisons

This Vins de Pays D’Oc smells of cooked blackberries and tastes fruity (review 2007).

Blue Nun Rosé, La Mancha, Spain

£5.87 Drinks Direct and Independent wine merchants

The colour, smell and taste is of strawberries (review 2007).

This article has also appeared as Paula's Wines of the Week on MatureTimes.co.uk