With pressure on family finances unlikely to lessen anytime soon, enthusiasm for budget level wines is understandable.
The bad news is that the number of them that I can recommend is falling.
Shipping costs and the value of the pound are but two reasons why those reliable wines that used to sell around £6, now cost more.
The quality of the critical mass of wines at that point or lower is heading in the wrong direction.
Consequently, I find that I reject more and more bottles when trying to select budget level wine to recommend here and in the press.
Although I have managed to find two wines under £5 today, I think further rises in average prices are inevitable if acceptable standards are to be maintained.
Of course, I shall feature inexpensive ones whenever I can but, in truth, they are becoming harder and harder to source.
As ever, a picture (and, in one case today, a hyperlink) is used to help you pinpoint the specific wine being discussed.
Today’s Red Wine Choice
2020 Castellore Chianti (£4.49 at Aldi) – 13% abv:
Sitting mid-way between traditional chianti and today’s popular lighter versions, this great value choice is softened by dashes of merlot and cabernet sauvignon.
Sophisticated and complex, it is not but it is a decent everyday red at an excellent price and only a notch below its first-rate sister primitivo.
Dark and smooth, this brings us ripe cherry and plum flavours supported by good acidity and gentle tannin within a clove, herb and milk chocolate texture.
Today’s White Wine Choice
2021 This Is Fresh and Fruity Chenin Blanc (£5 at M&S) – 12.5% abv:
For me, this mouth-watering South African white is the pick of M&S’s budget “This Is…” wine range, offering fantastic value for money.
That country has traditionally produced lots of chenin – much of it, sadly, decidedly ordinary – but with more focus on ripeness and on older vines, quality has risen rapidly.
Fresh with orchard blossom aromas, this example brings us baked apple, melon and grapefruit marmalade flavours neatly combined with lively lime acidity and a savoury (slightly pithy) finish.
Join me again on Thursday when my whistle stop tour of supermarket promotions is accompanied by the usual Sunday Best and Friday Treat features.
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