With the heating dial on max this seems the perfect time to find wine that can limber under the £10 mark but still provide exceptional flavour for money.

Reds are essential in cold weather and with an eye on price it is time to seek out the best deals.

Booths are running their terrific multibuy offer until 10 March so there is still time to head off to Ilkley, Ripon or Settle 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 South African section and stock up with the deep, blackberry and cherry flavours of Zalze Shiraz/Mourvèdre/Viognier 2018 that has just an edge of spice and chocolate to go well with a mid-week sausage supper. Now down from £8.75 to £6.50 on a mix-3 buy, this will happily keep all through spring and into the barbecue season, so don’t hold back when loading your trolley.

Another key purchase from South Africa is Rustenberg’s RM Nicholson 2017 which is now down from £12.75 to £9.56 on the mix-3 deal.  Named after a former owner of this beautiful, historic estate it is a blend of Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.  The Cabernet and Merlot lead the flavour profile with cassis and herbs then it follows on with Shiraz adding depth, roundness, pepper and spice. This is much more of a Sunday lunch wine, preferably teamed with a rib of beef.

It is also worth stocking up with a couple of bottles of Cono Sur Pinot Noir, down from £7.85 to a bargain £5.89 on the mix-3 deal. This is the first rung on the Pinot Noir ladder, showing good rounded strawberry fruit, and it does terrifically well slightly chilled alongside fish, especially salmon.  It might be an idea to keep it for a few weeks until the weather is slightly warmer, but at these prices it is a bargain not to be missed.

 

One wine which is worth stretching over the £10 mark for is d’Arenberg Footbolt Shiraz 2017 from McLaren Vale, Australia.  All d’Arenberg wines have strange names, most of them dreamt up by Chester Osborn, who has taken over the reins of this family business.  Chester is also chief winemaker and he manages to build structure, complexity and unique flavours into his wines.  Footbolt is the name of a racehorse that won so much money for Chester’s great grandfather that he was able to buy the land that the farm still occupies.  Normally priced at £13.50, Footbolt has come down to just £10.13 on the mix-3 deal and it is worth buying to drink now, but if you keep a couple of bottles until next winter you may be even more delighted by the flavour development.  This is 100% Shiraz and it is made in traditional open-top fermenters, and seems to pack all the dark red fruits of a really good St Josephlayered with liquorice and aniseed.

As an example of Chester’s free-thinking, he has just installed ‘The Cube’ on a plot of land in the vineyard. This is a building that combines a total flight of fancy, art gallery, a tasting room, restaurant and a historic perspective on the company.  The Cube has transformed tourism in the region, not just for d’Arenberg, but for the whole region.  (pic above)

 

Waitrose can always be relied on to have a good range of wines with significant discounts.  The current set of offers run until 10 March and if they are not on the shelves of your local store you can order them online at the same discount.  Top choices there include Porcupine Ridge Syrah 2018, down from £8.49 to £6.29 which makes it a great choice for midweek or weekend suppers.  This is another wine that is good to have on standby for summer barbecues, so stock up.

Chunkier and a lot more serious, Wirra Wirra Church Block 2017, down from £13.49 to £9.99 at Waitrose, is named after a small patch of vines close to the historic Bethany Church in the McLaren Vale.  Production of Church Block outgrew this patch of vines several years ago, but the quality has remained strong with dense black fruits and silky tannins.

Malbec is always a good grape to seek out in cold weather, especially if you are planning to serve it alongside red meat and Santa Julia Malbec 2019 from Argentina is well worth trying, now that it is down from £9.39 to £6.99.  Smooth and elegant, and slightly lighter than many Argentine Malbecs this has all the right damson and mulberry fruit with a lift of cherry notes amongst deeper chocolate tones.

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.  Their Exquisite range consistently offers great flavours at value prices, and because the prices are steady there isn’t the need to call into the store on the right day.  Head first to Vignobles Roussellet Malbec/Syrah blend from the Languedoc Roussillon for an astonishing £4.69 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.   Other best buys at Aldi include Exquisite Argentine Malbec 2018 at £5.99 which has soft blackcurrant flavours with supple, easy-going tannins.  Animus from the Douro 2018, at just £4.99 offers terrific value with ripe, juicy blueberry fruit that goes perfectly with meaty pasta and lamb tagine.

Next week sees the start of Fairtrade Fortnight and while we all assume that farm workers around the world get the right working conditions and healthcare from the government, often they don’t.  Quite often it is the power of our supermarkets that can drive change and the Co-op has done more than most to impose strict working conditions and provide opportunities.  If you are passing a Co-op store, pop in a buy a bottle of Fairtrade Organic Malbec for just £7.50.  It doesn’t just taste good, it does good too.

 

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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