Good wine does not have to cost a fortune, Christine Austin unearths some supermarket bottles for less than a tenner.

As the garden starts to spring into action it is tempting to think that winter may be over.  Even so, with warming food still on the menu and the occasional need to drown out the politics of the day 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.

One of the best deals is at Booths where a large selection of their hand-picked range is currently 25% off when you buy three bottles.  Until 12 March you can mix any three bottles so long as they are from the offers list and still get the discount.  With any deal like this it is always tempting to buy your usual wine and enjoy the discount but it is much more adventurous to spend your usual budget and step up in taste to explore different flavours.

Head for the spice-dusted, blackberry-filled flavours of Côtes du Rhône 2016 Reserve from Famille Perrin, normally £11 but down to £8.25 on this multibuy offer.  The Perrin family are the same people who own the prestigious Ch. de Beaucastel in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and while the two operations are totally separate, there is a distinct thread of quality running through all their wines.

Continuing the theme of Rhône-style flavours head to the Chilean section and Marqués de Casa Concha Syrah 2016 for its robust 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 with freshness, 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 the barbecue season, it is a great deal.  While you are at the Chilean end of the range pick up a bottle of Errazuriz Wild Ferment Pinot Noir 2017 (normally £13.25, down to £9.93 on multibuy) which comes from the cool end of the Casablanca Valley where morning fog keeps the sun off the vines until noon.  Wild ferment means that the wine has complexity and layers of flavour and this is one of the best Pinots from Chile.

The Errazuriz winery

Over at Waitrose they have cut 25% off the price of a number of wines, and you don’t have to multibuy, although it is always a good idea to stock up.  Killikanoon Grenache/Shiraz/Mataro 2017 (normally £10.99, down to £7.99 until 19 March) comes from the Clare Valley in Australia where sunny hillsides with a brisk breeze allows Rhône grapes to ripen fully while maintaining a bite of acidity.  The result is food-friendly wines that will happily sit alongside a casserole or steak.

Kevin Mitchell, proprietor and winemaker at Kilikanoon

It is always a good idea to have a few bottles of Rioja to hand, just in case there happens to be a leg of lamb being served up on Sundays.  Cune Rioja Reserva 2014 is normally priced at £13.99 but is slides under a tenner to £9.99  until 19 March which beats any other retailer I can find. Buy a few bottles , this wine will gain even more suppleness and complexity over the next couple of years.

Porcupine Ridge from South Africa has become such a favourite of so many readers that I feel obliged to let you know when it is reduced in price and now is the time to go snap up Porcupine Ridge Syrah 2017.  It is down from its usual price of £8.79 to £6.49, a clear 25% off and it makes the perfect house wine to pour alongside any dish with meat, mushrooms or a rich flavoursome sauce.

Tesco restructured their range a couple of years ago, getting rid of the many duplicates in flavour and creating a focussed, well-priced selection that hits the mark on flavour for money.  Their ‘Finest’ selection of wines are frequently sourced from top producers in a region and by putting the wine under their own label they manage to keep prices down.  Tesco Finest Aglianico 2015 is a fine example of this.  Sourced from Feudi San Gregorio in Campania, it is rich with black cherry fruit and bilberry fruit, overlaid with a smoky, savoury complexity.  Now down from £9 to £8 until 4 March it has all the right flavours to pair with game and rich casseroles.

Wairau Cove Merlot 2016 from Hawke’s Bay in New Zealand is great value at its regular price of £7.50 but until 4 March it is just £6.50 at Tesco and so provides exceptional easy-drinking, mellow red fruits with enough body to take on a lamb chop supper, but can go equally well with a chunk of cheese.

Of the range at Marks and Spencer head for Langhe Nebbiolo 2015 from  Piemonte in Italy, down from £11 to £7 until 4 March.  Its wildforest fruits and a touch of savoury mushrooms with light grippy tannins make it perfect to go with  with spicy sausages and game.


Also at M&S, Viñalta Malbec 2017 from Mendoza in Argentina is not on offer but it is worth picking up a few bottles.  Made by Hervé Fabre who moved from France to Argentina a couple of decades ago this wine has the ideal balance of sunshine fruit flavours and a smooth silky structure. The black cherry and plum fruit is complemented by a sprinkle of spice and a long gentle finish.  It is perfect with red meat.

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.  They are now listing some organic wines and the dark-fruited, generous, rounded flavours of Primitivo 2015 sourced from Puglia, the ‘heel’ of Italy is well worth a taste at £7.99.




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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