People Pleasing

POSTED ON 04/07/2015

If this column were a people pleaser, it would devote itself exclusively to the cheapest and the deepest promotions. Much has been written, not least on this page, of the false dawn promised by supermarket promotions. Suffice it to repeat that more often than not the promotion is not what it seems, but rather, a cynical exercise creating deal junkies and binge drinkers by artificially raising the price to make the wine look cheap when it’s on offer at buy-one-get-one free or three for ten.

By the same token, the Indy has also devoted more than our fair share of column inches to the fact that the 56 per cent of tax we pay on an average bottle of wine means that after tax, duty and profit margin, there’s often not much more than 50p’s worth of wine in a bottle costing a fiver. Where does this leave the wine growers? On the brink of throwing in the towel without the means to invest in the vineyard, the cellar and the marketing.

It doesn’t take a mental giant to work out from all this that rather than supporting cheap wine per se, we aim to recommend good value wines of intrinsic quality. As prices steadily increase over time, it means that good bottles to be found at a fiver are fewer and farther between. Now here’s the twist. We actually have unearthed a handful of everyday budget wines for summer parties and barbecues.

Aldi has made a virtue of value at a good price with wines like the 2014 The Venturer Series Old Vine Garnacha, £4.79, a spicy, full-bodied red berry fruits quaffer. Tesco has come up with a young Rioja lookalike in the juicily fresh, strawberryish the 2010 La Nonna Crianza, £4.99, and Morrisons a Spanish answer to gluggy Beaujolais with the 2013 Montelciego Rioja Joven. £4.49, a pure tempranillo with fragrance, liquorice spice and raspberryish zing. Still in Spain, the barbecue friendly Wine Atlas Bobal, £4.97, Asda, is bright with dark cherry and plum-filled fruit.

Argentina’s malbec can also be a source of good value at a knockdown price. Take a bow the 2014 Otra Vida Malbec, Mendoza, £4.99, Bargain Booze, Wine Rack, fresh and aromatic with bright, juicy strawberry fruit in zingily easy-come-easy-go style and the 2013 La Bodega de Los Altos Andes Malbec. £4.99, Morrisons, proper wine with perfumed black cherry and juicily approachable soft dark berry fruitiness.

Among good whites under a fiver, the 2014 Tesco Côtes de Gascogne Blanc hits the spot for its new vintage freshness its Spring-sharp, tongue-tingling, grapefruit-zesty tang, £4.69, while Asda has come up with a little corker in the 2014 Wine Atlas Grillo, £4.97, a peachy, summer’s day glugger from Sicily. People pleasers, us? Just this once then.

Something for the WeekendSomething for the Weekend

Night In

2014 Kalander White

The new vintage of this appetising Cape dry white blend from Adi Badenhorst based on chenin blanc is inviting in aroma with a mouthwatering prickle and attractive, opulently peachy flavours that retain their vibrancy and vivid crispness on the aftertaste. £7.99, Morrisons.

Dinner Party

2014 Ascheri Gavi di Gavi

The cortese grape in this superior Gavi brings refreshing sub-Alpine aromatics and a lively zip and zing, hitting the sweet spot with its intensely fresh and tangy apple and pear flavours behind the citrus-juiciness and crisp, dry finish. £14, Sainsbury’s.

Splash Out

2010 San Polo Brunello di Montalcino

Honed modern sangiovese whose cherry and herb fragrance and polished, toasty oak veneer envelops a core of succulent ripe cherries bursting voluptuously on the tongue and gripping it with sinewy tannins. £32.50 – £45, Four Walls Wine, AG Wines,


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