The discount supermarkets might be on the rise but when it comes to wine, Tesco still offers quality that doesn't cost the earth.

Despite the discount stores snapping at the heels of the major supermarkets, Tesco has retained its majority share of the UK grocery market.  Just over 25% of our weekly spend goes through Tesco’s tills, and while the grocery shelves have a reputation for a wide choice and keen prices, their wine range has undergone a transformation in recent years.  A couple of years ago they took pruning shears to the vast selection of wines, cutting out duplications and focusing on quality, not just filling slots on the shelves.

The result was evident at their recent press tasting where they were proudly showing off their International Wine Challenge Trophy for ‘Own Label Range of the Year’.  Tesco Finest is now a pointer to quality wine, quite often from well-known producers who are happy to have their wines sold under the Tesco label.

I tasted my way through 150 wines from their 600-plus range and have selected my top 20 for you to try when you are next passing one of their 3,400 stores.  The growth in stores in recent years has come through smaller, convenience shops which open early and stay open late and as such, do not carry the whole range.  If you want to check out the whole range then you may have to head out of town to a retail park, or you can stay home and buy from their website tesco.com

£5 and Under

It is difficult to believe that the sub-£5 price point is still viable, but Tesco has managed to get a whole fistful of wines to meet this bargain price point.

Viña del Cura Rioja Blanco 2017, Spain,  £5

Simple, fresh tasting and full of citrus fruit, this is a clean, zesty wine to drink on its own, or with grilled fish and spiced prawns. There is no oak clouding the fruit in this Rioja.

Mountain Vineyards Chenin Blanc 2019, Western Cape, South Africa, £5

Fresh crisp, honeysuckle aromas, with white peach and crunchy apple notes on the palate.  Team with fishcakes and pork chops.

Tesco Beaujolais Rouge 2018, France, £5

Pure, juicy, gluggable cherry and raspberry fruit with a simple style.  Perfect for mid-week suppers and returning students.

Tesco Malbec Comté Tolosan 2018, France, £5

Long before Malbec emigrated to Argentina, it was grown across South West France, making deep-flavoured chunky wines.  This one is full of dark red fruit, with food-friendly freshness on the palate and enough structure to stand up to a steak or meat pie.

 

£8 and under

Tesco Bordeaux Blanc 2018, France, £6.75

Mainly Sauvignon Blanc with a dash of Semillon filling out this citrus and blossom style of wine. A perfect aperitif, or try it with shellfish.

Tesco Finest Pecorino 2018, £7

Not to be confused with the cheese of the same name, but this too has a creamy feel alongside bright citrus fruit and a rounded, food-friendly style. Perfect alongside herb-spiked chicken.

Cono Sur Gewürztraminer 2018, Chile, £7.50

A gentle, spice and rose-petal filled gewürz, with freshness bursting out of the glass and an almost-dry finish.  Team with any lightly spiced stir-fry.

 

Tesco Bordeaux Superieur 2018, France, £6.75

From the fabulous 2018 vintage when grapes oozed juicy fruit, this is chock full of cassis and black raspberry flavours, with smooth tannins. Terrific flavour for money.

Tesco Finest Fairtrade Shiraz 2018, South Africa, £7.50

Full of warm, ripe cherry and damson fruit with a twist of pepper. Perfect with sausages or meaty pasta dishes.

Tesco Finest Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2015, Italy, £8

Seriously good Chianti with all the right sour cherry and truffle flavours with acidity in balance and enough complexity to work with roast lamb or pasta dishes.

£10 and under

Tesco Finest Albariño 2018, Rías Baixas, Spain, £8.50

From a standing start just a few years ago, Albariño has almost become mainstream and this is a fine example.  It has notes of orange peel and lemongrass with peach and nectarine flavours backed by crisp acidity. Perfect with crab cakes, ceviche or a seafood risotto.

Tesco Finest Falanghina del Sannio 2018, Campania, Italy, £9

From one of the best producers in the region, this has herb-dusted fresh apple and pear fruit, with enough weight and structure to partner creamy pasta.

Tesco Finest Rioja Reserva 2014, Spain, £8.50

Made by top producer Baron de Ley this has all the bramble and spice notes expected in good Rioja but I like this because the oak is so well handled.  Fruit is to the fore with oak in a supporting role, in perfect balance.

 

Errazuriz Estate Merlot 2018, Curicó Valley, Chile, £9

Fabulous, soft, plush, cassis and blackberry fruit with layers of tobacco, vanilla and spice.  Seriously impressive, it can accompany weekend suppers or a Sunday lunch.

Tim Adams Clare Valley Shiraz 2016, Australia £10

The cool climate Clare Valley gives grapes that have all the ripe flavours of good Shiraz, underpinned by a streak of freshness that makes them so very food friendly.  A touch of grip makes this one to team with meat.

 

 

£12 and Under

Tesco Finest English White 2018, Kent, £12

Surprise your friends by pouring this fresh, aromatic, clean-as-a-whistle English wine from Kent.  Made from a blend of Pinot Blanc, Bacchus, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, this has style and enough weight to accompany poached salmon and a chicken salad.

D’Arenberg Olive Grove Chardonnay 2018, Australia £12

It is so good to see d’Arenberg wines out in mainstream, distribution.  This is a joyful wine, full of mango, pineapple and citrus fruit with serious structure and a long, dry finish.

Bellingham Homestead Shiraz 2015, Stellenbosch, South Africa, £11

Refined, elegant Shiraz flavours with bramble and liquorice fruit, firm edges and a long finish. Ready now but will keep longer.

Tesco Finest Trilogy Malbec 2016, Mendoza, Argentina £12

Made from grapes grown on three plots at different altitudes, this is a deep-flavoured, spice and mulberry style of wine, with structure, complexity and a fine finish.

About The Author

Christine Austin

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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