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2 impressive £5 reds from an unexpected source

Dependable red wine for under a fiver is hard to find but here are not one, but two, for you to savour – along with a couple of breezy and classy whites ..... and an enigma

As further evidence of Waitrose’s success in shaking off its image as largely “upmarket” and “posh”, take a look at my two featured red wines. They fit nicely with the celebrated Waitrose tag line of “Quality you’d expect at prices you wouldn’t”.

There are discounts on the white wines featured here but they do end on 8 December.

Click on any of the bottles shown for an enlarged image to help you pinpoint the wine on a crowded shelf.

Doing what it says on the tin

Waitrose Rich Italian Red
Waitrose Rich Italian Red

Given the wine’s name, no surprise then to find it is a blend of primitivo and nero di troia from Puglia but this is nicely made and lives up to its billing rather well.

Enjoy then the skilful balance between acidity and tannin in Waitrose Rich and Intense Italian Red (£4.99) and the hints of clove, mocha and cinnamon that support its soft but forceful raspberry and blackberry fruit.

The French have everyday red too

Label may differ on the shelves
Label may differ on the shelves

France also gets in on the act with a carefully blended everyday red that uses the new-ish Vin de France classification to provide us with a great value wine.

Light and gentle, 2014 Cuvée Chasseur Red(£4.99) delivers ripe, juicy cherry and raspberry fruit with touches of chocolate and vanilla and only restrained elements of acidity and tannin.

See, pinot grigio can do tangy!

Forte Alto Pinot Grigio
Forte Alto Pinot Grigio

Switching to whites (and back to Italy) see just how much acidity-derived freshness the altitude and latitude of the Dolomite mountains brings to pinot grigio – which can get blander and flabbier as you head south.

While 2014 Forte Alto Pinot Grigio Vigneti delle Dolomi (£5.99 – instead of £8.99 until 8 December) does offer some classic mango and peach flavours there is also a savoury, nutty edge and, of course, that lime based acidity.

Really classy Gru-vee

Felsner Grüner Veltliner
Felsner Grüner Veltliner

The signature grape from across the border in Austria – gruner veltliner – has acquired minor cult status but inexpensive examples often do it less than justice; this single vineyard version, however, is excellent.

Seek out then the soft and fresh 2014 Felsner Moosburgerin Grüner Veltliner (£9.99 – instead of £12.49 until 8 December) with spicy aromas that carry through to add a pepperiness to the apple and pear flavours and the grapefruit centred acidic prickle that are all given depth by an appealing mineral edge.

Time for your input

 Cune Barrel Fermented Rioja Blanco
Cune Barrel Fermented Rioja Blanco

I have added this as a “marmite white wine”; while the viura grape from Rioja often provides …err… “undistinguished” fare, barrel fermentation does give it distinctive flavours that I rather like, but do you? Do, please, use the comments or email facility to tell me what you make of it – good, bad or ugly!

Smooth and smoky, 2013 Cune Barrel-Fermented Rioja (£7.86 – instead of £10.49 until 8 December) has nutty, banana depth with touches of vanilla and sweeter spices but lemon influenced acidity too.



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