If you’ve yet to stock up on festive wines, this is the column for you. Here are 18 supermarket bargains worth getting snowed in with
The last few days before Christmas are always a bit manic. A rush around shops and supermarkets, panic buying food, presents and, er wine. While the more organised of us may well have already made our choices based on my earlier columns, as well as last week’s Twelve Wines of Christmas, for those who leave it to the last minute, what wines do we haul into our trolleys among the sprouts and stilton? In the mode of the week, here is my last-minute dash around just some of the bargain buys in the supermarket wine shelves…
In Sainsburys, the Taste the Difference range is always dependable: try the pear-and-quince flavoured Hungarian Dry Furmint 2016 (£8.00; normally £10.00) or, from a largely undiscovered French region, the mineral, peach and citrus notes of the Cotes Du Jura Chardonnay (£9.00; normally £11.00) both great for fish, canapés and aperitifs.
Marks and Spencer has one of the great high street wine lists, particularly its range of sparklers: the lemon scented, very dry Cava Heretat El Padruell NV (£8.50) is a fab festive fizz, which beats most cavas in the same price range. A reliable red for the turkey? The Grand Plessis Medoc Grand Reserve 2015 (£10.00) is a bargain claret that punches well above its weight for the price.
Without pausing for breath, Waitrose has an equally large cellar, but we don’t have time to peruse the whole selection, so firstly, for bargain fizz, check out the delightful Les Dauphins Blanc de Blanc, (£9.49; normally £12.99), an unusual Rhone blend of roussane and marsanne or the Graham Beck Brut NV, (£9.99 normally £13.49), a chardonnay and pinot noir blend. From the massed shelves of red wines, also reduced is the fragrant, cherry and cocoa flavoured Nanny Goat Central Otago Pinot Noir, (£14.99; normally £19.99) while another good everyday claret is the Château Tour de Gilet Bordeaux Superieur 2014 (£9.99).
Moving on, we take our trolley to Tesco, where, among many others, you can pick up the crisp and dry, very party friendly Cotes du Gascogne (£6.00) plus a couple of Chilean wines: the full bodied, mineral, Marques de Casa Concha Chardonnay 2014, ideal for shellfish and salmon and the spicy, slightly fragrant Marques de Casa Concha Syrah 2014, (both £10.00; normally £13.00, until 1 January). The Marques de Casa brand of varietals can also be found in other supermarkets and it’s generally reliable and good value.
Over at Aldi, which has also earned a reputation for high quality low cost wines, the Exquisite Collection Cremant Du Jura (£7.99) – note the Jura again – is an award-winning party sparkler, the Exquisite Collection Fino Sherry (£5.99; stores only) a great, salty, mouth-tingling aperitif to match with nuts and olives, while they also stock a pair of very good southern French wines by Languedoc specialist Paul Mas, the concentrated, black fruit flavoured mourvedre-based blend, Astelia Pezenas (£9.99) ideal for all roasted meats and casseroles and the stone fruit filled, buttery chardonnay, Astelia Limoux (£8.99).
Dashing round to your local shop for last-minute wines on Christmas Eve is always a risky proposition, but if you are fortunate enough to live close to a branch, both Spar and Co-op stores have some very decent wines among the endless anonymous brands – at Co-op, the Irresistible Bio Bio Valley Malbec (£6.99) from Chile is a terrific award winner, the Les Jamelles range of southern French varietals is usually excellent quality, such as the gorgeously peachy Viognier (£6.99) while at under £20, the Les Pionniers Champagne NV (£16.99) is another justly heavily garlanded budget buy, ideal for New Years Eve. At Spar, a highlight of it’s recently relaunched own brand varietals is the juicy, brambly M Malbec 2016 (£6.00; stores only) while the Fern Hills Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (£7.00; stores only) is typically gooseberry and tropical-fruit flavoured and also something of a bargain. Phew … after all that rushing around, this column needs its festive break and will be back in January. Whatever your wines over over Christmas and New Year, I do hope you enjoy them, with good company and fine food.