Waitrose wines are as impressive as the food, writes Christine Austin after swigging her way through a selection of 200.

It used to be said that having a Waitrose store open near your house boosted property values by several thousands of pounds.  As one of the smaller supermarket chains, Waitrose has a profile much bigger than its size, especially now that the discounters Aldi and Lidl have both leap-frogged over Waitrose in terms of market share. Everyone knows that Waitrose stands for quality, and that goes for the wine as well as the food, but it also has an image of being just a little bit more expensive than many other retailers.

That isn’t necessarily so.  While they have a range of wines that covers all parts of the price spectrum, they have a programme of offers that frequently chop 25% off the retail price of dozens of wines every month.  In addition, usually twice a year, lasting about a week each time, they will extend that 25% off to cover all wines in the range when you buy six bottles. These offers are sprung on me, just as much as they are sprung on you, but they usually do one around this time of year so it might be worthwhile writing your shopping list now and then keeping an eye on your local store so you can act immediately when the offer is announced.  If you don’t want to carry large boxes home with you, the www.waitrosecellar.comwebsite is brilliant, allowing you to mix cases and get all the discounts available. I also use the ‘click and collect’ service which brings the whole range of Waitrose wine within reach in just a few days.

I tasted through almost 200 wines at their recent press tasting, which is just a fraction of their extensive range.  Not all the wines will be in your local store, however I have attempted to select those that will be in the vast majority of stores around Yorkshire.


£8 and under

Le Jardin d’Eolie Sauvignon Blanc 2017, France, £5.99

No regional designation on this since it is a blend of Loire and the Languedoc, but that gives it zippy freshness with mid-palate weight.

Martisor Pinot Grigio 2017, Romania £7.49

With ripe pear and baked apple aromas followed by a clear note of fresh fruit salad on the palate, this is a great example of how Pinot Grigio should taste.

Corbello Catarratto/Chardonnay 2017, Sicily £7.99

Wines from Sicily have vastly improved in recent years and this show just how much flavour you get for your money.  Bright pink grapefruit and lime notes backed by peach and nectarine on the palate.

Waitrose Blueprint Romanian Pinot Noir 2017, Dealu Mare £5.99

Normally you have to go to the Chilean range to get a good Pinot at this kind of price, but Dealu Mare has the perfect climate for this fickle grape.   With light raspberry and strawberry fruit and a surprisingly long, generous finish, this will go well with summer lunches.

Remy Ferbras 2016, Ventoux, normally £7.99, currently down to £5.99 until June 5

This is good value at its full price but it is currently on offer until next Tuesday at an amazing £5.99.  It is made in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, from grapes from outside that hallowed region, hence the designation Ventoux but it still carries the characteristic redcurrant, cherry and spice notes of its famous neighbour.

Rapitalà Nero d’Avola 2016, Sicily, normally £9.99, currently down to £7.99 until 5 June

From one of Sicily’s most impressive estates, this is packed with fresh-tasting, juicy plum and cherry fruit with a hint of spice. It is delicious with tomato-based pasta dishes.


From £8 to £12

Waitrose Blueprint English White 2017, £8.99

Made from a blend of grapes grown on the south-facing slopes of the North Downs in Surrey.  Crisp and zesty, with while flower, lime and pink grapefruit notes and a hint of spice on the palate, this is a taste of English summer.

Puklavec & Friends Furmint 2016 Podravje Stajerska, Slovenia £9.99

Fresh honeysuckle and ripe apple aromas with herbs and citrus on the palate. Only available in a few Waitrose stores so you may need to buy this one online, but it is well worth the effort.

Cave de Beblenheim Kleinfels Riesling 2016, Alsace, France £10.99

If you haven’t tried a Riesling for a while, then buy a bottle of this and wait for the day when you have lunch in the garden.  I guarantee you will enjoy it.  Fresh as a daisy, with flowers, citrus and crunchy mineral notes.

Dawn Patrol Syrah & Grenache 2015 Swartland, South Africa £9.99

This comes from Swartland, one of South Africa’s driest wine-growing regions, where the vines have to sink their roots deep to stay alive. Packed with peppery fruit and edged with spice, this is a great wine to partner a grilled steak.

Ch. Maris Les Vieilles Vignes 2016, Minervois, France, £10.99

Made by Bertie Eden who ranks among the English eccentrics growing grapes in the South of France. It comes from a fabulous, organically-run estate where wholesomeness and care for the environment comes first. This shows in the dark, deep flavours and sheer concentration in the wine.

Rolf Binder Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2016, Barossa Valley, Australia normally £13.99, currently down to £10.99 until June 5

Seriously good Australian Cab/Merlot, made by a world-class winemaker who is proud to put his name on the label. With dark plum, blueberry and mulberry fruit and supple tannins, ending with a bite of freshness, this is one to buy before the offer ends.


Push the boat out

Domaine Naudet 2017 Sancerre, France, £14.99

This is the new vintage of Sancerre and it demonstrates the difference between New Zealand and French Sauvignon Blancs. This is fresh and crisp with grassy green aromas, asparagus and lemon with crunchy, pebbly, minerally notes and a long, lively finish. Gorgeous with grilled fish.

Altos Los Hormigas Malbec Tradición 2016 Mendoza, Argentina £13.49

A new addition to the Waitrose range so it may take time to get out to all branches but well worth looking for since this is Malbec with attitude.  Dark, mulberry and damson fruit with a savoury, forest floor backbone.  Get your best steak on the grill for this one.



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.

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