Every little bit helps, apparently, so off to Tesco’s I did go and decided to look at price differentials to see whether a few extra pounds expended pay the appropriate dividend taste wise.
I opted to examine the merits of three whites and three reds with a Prosecco thrown in for good measure! Commencing with whites, I homed in on a curiously inexpensive Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc in the form of a 2017 Wairau Cove Sauvignon Blanc currently on offer for a mere £6.
Two facts came to mind, namely that New Zealand wines are not known for discounting heavily and, furthermore, New Zealand wines generally command a higher average bottle price than any other country’s wine and are thus a trusted brand.
The Wairau Cove wine has a strong elderflower taste with punchy grapefruit on the palate, but no discernible fresh zing and a tad watery, à mon avis!
I now felt the need to investigate further this wine with one clue being in the wine’s name – Wairau Cove is neither a winery or a place, but even more significant was a cursory glance at the back of the bottle enabling me to ascertain that this wine had been imported and bottled in the UK.
The detective in me has to conclude that this all smacks of bulk wine – wine sold off in liquid mass by co-operatives and wineries which do not wish to bottle it themselves.
Inferior fruit, one might surmise, so I am going to stick to The Ned, Sacred Hill, Oyster Bay and Villa Maria for my New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc!
For just an outlay of a further 50 pence, the 2017 Tesco finest Côtes De Gascogne beckoned as the south-west of France is a slightly underrated wine region.
Cooking apple and lemon character, a touch of lime and notes of wild herbs with hints of stone fruits on the finish, this wine is perfectly palatable and good value.
My final white wine selection for the lofty sum of £9 was a 2017 La Burgondie Bourgogne Aligoté – historically, this ancient Burgundian variety was used almost exclusively for making Kir.
These days, it is more mainstream and the limestone and marl soils give the wine an attractive mineral edge.
An unoaked wine with fruity acidity and a saline finish which pairs delightfully with seafood or oysters and any white meats, but truly divine with Crottin de Chavignol!
A Burgundian pleasure without breaking the bank – one well worth a punt! And now for my Prosecco choice, the Plaza Centro Prosecco currently on offer for just six readies!
Very pale in colour and sporting fine bubbles, this sparkler has green apple and pear aromas and is dry and crisp with light apple and lemon zest flavours.
Refreshing, great value for money and undoubtedly a great apéritif, this little number is eminently quaffable and one which fully merits your consideration.
My three red choices involve two Malbecs and one Rioja Reserva. For just £6.50, I was able to procure a 2015 Anakena Enco Reserva Malbec from Chile’s Valle Central. Black fruit and plums abound with hints of pepper and dark chocolate and this wine is worth a go at this price!
I next turned to a 2015 Trivento Golden Reserve Malbec, more of a Rolls Royce compared to usual Trivento wines available here and on offer for £12.
Eh bien, the extra money expended on this gem is money truly well spent!
Complex, powerful and fruit forward with dark chocolate on the nose, a mélange of plum, black cherry, mocha and leather with plush tannins and a velvety finish, this wine benefits from aerating or decanting in order to open up fully.
Silky smooth with juicy black fruit and hints of liquorice, it is reminiscent of a classy Catena Malbec and one which would perfectly accompany either lasagne or steak – a full-bodied wine to savour!
My final red selection was that of a Tesco finest 2014 Viña Del Cura Rioja Reserva on offer at £8.50, sporting blackberry pie on the nose, vanilla notes and oaky lightish tannins with pepper and spice on the aftertaste and one to pair with either lamb or beef.
A good medium-bodied wine justifying its price tag!
Conclusion – sometimes you get what you pay for and maybe that extra pecuniary outlay is generally worthwhile – more wine for your buck given the tax situation – happy imbibing!