Bernie Inns, Black Tower, Le Piat D'Or

Black Tower label1992 was all about being smoozed with shark steaks at Berni Inns, accompanied by the wine of choice: Black Tower wine. Heaven. But times weren't always as good for the German white wine served in a black bottle. When Black Tower was bought out by Grants of St. James's in 1987 they found a once premium brand going down, and down, thanks to the launch of 'own-label' wines where supermarkets bottled, and sold, other people's wines under their own supermarket logos. So what was this misunderstood wine to do?

Black Tower advertThe 1988 TV commercial 'White out of Black' was designed: just the top of the iconic black bottle sticking out of a bucket of ice all nicely laid out on a verandah somewhere idyllic with (a) palm tree, sea and surf in the background. A male hand uses a cork screw (remember those?) to pull the cork and gush the inviting white wine into rather a nice wine glass, while a female hand finally removes the glass out of shot. All accompanied by some rather decent 90s electric guitar.

No wonder the effect was dramatic: for every £1 spent, £2.26 of extra sales was generated.

But Black Tower wasn't having it all it's own way. Le Piat d'Or, that oh so French wine that 'the French adore', faught back with a major TV ad campaign in 1994-5 using the 'French' strategy.

Lots of adverts featuring supposedly French sounding folk arriving an hour too early for a dinner party, while the lady of la maison rushes out of her bath (an actress who looks suspiciously like 'Nicole' of Renault Clio ads of the same time featuring 'Nicole' and 'Papa') – but all is smoothed over with a bottle of Le Piat D'or.

Le Piat D'Or advertThe thing is the French had never heard of the stuff. But never mind, it remained a brand leader.

But times have moved on – haven't they?

Well perhaps not for the better when you consider last year's ad camapaign by Australian wine maker Premier Estates who asked you to #TasteTheBush. This sexist innuendo-laden advert was banned a short while later.

PG Wine Reviews

Santa Julia [+] Argentinean Malbec 2015

£6.50 Sainsbury's (down from £8 until October 11)

A surprisingly light red that tastes of cherry and voilets with a liquorice edge.

Aldi Exquisite Collection New Zealand Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2014

£7.49 Aldi

A nicely balanced white with lots of melon and gooseberry flavours, plus lemon and orange.

Black Tower stylesPinot Noir 2014 Vin de France

£7.50 Sainsbury's

Blackcurrant and tar, Pretty ooomphy for a Pinot Noir.

Gato Negro 9 Lives Chilean Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

£8 Sainsbury's

Blackberry and cherry.

Kanonkop Kadette South African red blend 2014

£10 Sainsbury's

Creamy damson and cherry.

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