Christine Austin offers advice to value as she goes in search of the best supermarket reds for under a tenner.

With the heating dial on max and bills flooding in from my winter sunshine break, this seems the perfect time to find wine that can limber under the £10 mark but still provide exceptional flavour for money.

This week I will concentrate on reds, and it is worth browsing through the supermarket offers to help keep costs down.

Booths have been running their multibuy offer for a few weeks now but if you can get there before Tuesday 13 March you will still be able to pick up some of their fabulous wines at 25% off when you buy any mixed three bottles from that group. Head first to the Chilean section and Marqués de Casa Concha Syrah 2015 for its full-bodied flavours of bramble fruit and spice with creamy vanilla edges. This wine comes from a single vineyard in the Maipo Valley at around 500 feet altitude. This combination of sunshine and altitude allows perfect ripening, while retaining freshness of flavour and so the wine has plenty of structure and power without overwhelming the tastebuds. Normally it costs £12 a bottle but on this multibuy deal it comes down to £9. Buy enough to take you through to next year, it is a great deal.

Also made from the Syrah grape is Glenelly Glass Syrah 2015 from South Africa. This is the property owned by Madame May de Lencquesaing, former owner of top Bordeaux property Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, who has bought a spectacular hillside in Stellenbosch and planted it with all the usual Bordeaux varieties, but also some Syrah and Chardonnay too. The Syrah is definitely well worth a try for its lifted floral and red fruits nose followed by juicy, peppery, dark plummy fruit, backed by a streak of freshness that makes this a great accompaniment to red meat and roasts. Normally £12 at Booths it comes down to £9 on this multibuy offer.

Over at Waitrose they have cut the price of Guigal’s Côtes du Rhône from £11.49 to £8.49 which is the signal to go out and stock up.   Guigal own extensive vineyards in the Northern Rhône where they make superb wines from the Syrah grape. This Côtes du Rhône used to be the baby brother of the range, but is now made in such large quantities that it no longer contains the left-overs from Guigal’s Hermitage and St Joseph. Even so, it remains one of the best-value Côtes du Rhônes on the shelves with bold dark fruits and a streak of spice.

Further along the shelves at Waitrose their Partnership wine Viña Lorea Rioja Crianza 2014 is well worth its full price of £9.99 but now it is down to £7.49 it is an exceptional buy. Made in collaboration with Cune this is a serious Rioja, aged in oak for 18 months which does show in the flavour, but the level of fruit and structure make this a perfectly balanced wine. Team it with herb-spiked roast lamb. Both Waitrose offers last until 20 March.

Aldi generally don’t bother to take part in the monthly up-and-down price offers, preferring to find a wine and put it on the shelves at a constant price. This must cut out a whole layer of marketing people so maybe this accounts for the terrific quality for money that Aldi offer. I tasted through a big chunk of their range last week and several wines stood out for their excellent flavours. Head first to Vignobles Roussellet Malbec/Syrah blend from the Languedoc Roussillon for an astonishing £4.49 a bottle. Robust with blackberry and blueberry fruit this is good enough to drink with a Wednesday night supper and if there is some left, it is cheap enough to pour into Thursday night’s gravy.

It is also well worth exploring the two New Zealand Pinot Noirs which seriously challenge many own label Kiwi Pinots from other supermarkets. Start with Exquisite Collection New Zealand Pinot Noir 2016 at just £6.99. Packed full of lifted lively, dark cherry fruit this is a cheerful, juicy wine to accompany almost anything from flavourful fish dishes to a grilled duck breast. Once you have got used to the style, trade up to Lot Series The Hualapai Central Otago Pinot Noir 2017 (£8.99) which will arrive in stores this week. There is more depth, more complexity and more structure in this wine, as well as a serious amount of dark cherry and damson fruit. Team this with meat or cheese.

After a comprehensive re-structure of their range Tesco has bounced back with a terrific range of wines under its ‘Finest’ label and while Carmenère is not generally my favourite grape variety, I was delighted with the depth of flavour and structure of Tesco Finest Carmenère 2016, normally £7 and now down to £6 until 26 March. This wine tastes of ripe, dark plums with touches of earthy notes that will be perfect to pour alongside a warming casserole. While you are at Tesco it is worth picking up a few bottles of Beronia’s Rioja Crianza 2015 down from £11 to £9.50 until 26 March. This is a stylish Rioja, with dark forest fruits and a silky-smooth texture.

Of the range at Marks and Spencer I would head for Castillo de Los Templarios 2016 (£9.50) and although it is not on offer, it packs a punch with raspberry and cherry fruit and a clean, fresh finish that is perfect to go with lamb curry or any tomato-based pasta dish.   Another choice from Spain is the juicy, spice-dusted, damson-rich flavours of D’Aragon Old Vines Carineña 2016. These old vines are grown in a region with low rainfall, cold winters and hot summers so they have had to struggle to survive. They don’t produce a lot of grapes but the ones they do are packed full of flavour which shows in the wine. Team this alongside a rich pasta dish, spicy sausages or a rib-sticking cassoulet.



About The Author

Christine is a wine writer, broadcaster and a wine judge for several international wine competitions. She has a technical background and spent five years as a buyer for a major supermarket before moving to wine writing.She writes for The Yorkshire Post Magazine and organises the York Festival of Food and Drink. She has won both the Lanson and the Roederer prizes for wine writing.

Let us know what you think