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Elevate Your Wine Game with These Great Value Options

Two familiar names provide today’s recommendations. One is “Yealand” – a reliable indicator of quality fare from Marlborough. The other is “Douro” and its history of fullness and richness.

Today, I return to my Friday Treat and Sunday Best features.

Both are designed to open up a “staircase” to the more complex wines that become available when you spend just a little more.

Such wines significantly enhance most occasions and add a touch of luxury to times that are particularly special.

But for many people there is a risk – “will I be disappointed after that extra spending?”

That is where these features come to your aid.

I take special care to ensure that they only include wines I know are reliable in quality and sound value for money. 

You can, I am convinced, buy them with confidence.

Read on then and do keep coming back for more of the same.

Over a couple of months, these recommendations will be more than just a ladder to increasingly satisfying wines.

They will also push most people’s wine drinking pleasure and savviness up several notches.

Also today is a “Breaking News” Report from Eddie on an Asda promotion.

Adopting my traditional format, images and – where possible – hyperlinks accompany the assessments of the wines.

Friday Treat

2020 Adnams Douro Red (£9.99 at Adnams and 14% abv):

  • Smooth red wine from the Port producing area.
  • Never underestimate the Douro Valley.
  • Soft red plum and cherry flavours.
  • Good acidity as well as firm tannin.
  • Hints of sweetness but minerality too.

Amid the justified excitement about Portugal’s latest Dao and Lisboa wines, never overlook offerings from the Douro Valley.

That region’s long tradition producing port from the fruits of steeply terraced vineyards gives the Douro Valley an inside track when it comes to creating distinctive table wines like this.

Smooth and reassuringly soft, it delivers floral cherry and red plum flavours supported by firm tannin and good acidity.

Additional embellishments come in the form of slate edges (that add minerality) and just a modicum of molasses to provide a trace of sweetness.

Sunday Best

2022 Yealand Reserve Sauvignon Blanc (£9.49 – instead of £11.99 until 11 April – at Waitrose and 12.5%):

  • Try this “reserve” special from Yealands.
  • No ordinary sauvignon this.
  • It has viscous apple and peach flavours.
  • Tart acidity with extra complexity too.
  • And on offer until 11 April.

Although the term “Reserve” has no official meaning in this wine’s Marlborough homeland, it usually signifies something a bit special.

Sometimes superior batches of grapes have been selected – or the fruit has been sourced from one favoured vineyard.

Or it is the meticulously crafted winemaking that makes the difference.

Whatever the reason, the result is normally a step up from a winery’s standard offering.

That is certainly so in the texture and flavour range in evidence here.

Aromatic with lovely viscosity, it brings us smooth apple and peach flavours coupled with tart grapefruit acidity.

Best of all, though, is an impressive complexity that includes ripeness, herbal influences and mellowing edges of sweetness.

Eddie the Eagle Eyed Report

The Latest Asda 25% off buy 6 bottles has started and runs until April 9th.

Asda’s strength … as is Sainsbury’s … is that the 25% reduction often applies where there are already “rollback” discounts – providing a “double-dip”.

In that case, these combined reductions can sometimes amount to a total of 45% even 50% being saved.

That makes it easy to apply Brian’s philosophy of trying to ”trade up” on the potential quality of what we are generally otherwise drinking.

Thus, that £10 top-shelf bottle might become a more easily affordable £5.50.

So can I mention here a favourite of mine that really does deliver this way . ……. Via Vincini Gran Rosso normally £8 is down to £6, hence £4.50 that is an absolute steal in my book – super wine for an amazing price!

Having said that if we were looking towards stocking up on a mixed case of your cheap-and-cheerful favourites, then Torres Sangre de Toro at £4.50 becomes unarguable value to accompany a stew or pizza, pasta or chilli.

And, for a white ….. Feteasca Regala at £4.12 ….. to partner a salmon fillet is right on the mark.

Typical restrictions apply so please check small-print details for this information.

Join me again on Monday to see what I am I recommending as the latest “entry level” Top Tips among High Street retailers.

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12 Responses

  1. Hi Brian, although Adnams are more well-known for their range of beers, they do very good wines as well (the ones I’ve tasted have been pretty decent for the price) not tried the Portuguese one yet.
    All of Eddie’s picks are good as well, the Sangre de Toro is a little more than a cheap and cheerful wine, although you don’t get the free plastic bull around the bottle neck anymore.

  2. Hi Brian, Just as your email popped in this morning, one from Waitrose arrived at the same time announcing their latest discounts, on until April 11th. Synchronicity strikes again.

  3. Hi Brian, Waitrose has just started their Fine Wine for £10 Easter offer. Two of these caught my attention, the Fleurie and the Graham Beck fizz. I have enjoyed quite a few Fessy wines. The 2018 Fleurie (which I think is the vintage on vintage) was very much enjoyed when drunk in April 22, but thought it a bit more “serious” than a typical Fleurie – which may account for some variability in consumer reviews, or perhaps some bottle variability? I always enjoy Graham Beck fizz, white or rose. As someone who usually finds Champagne a tad too green – Beck fizz seems to give some creaminess and brioche yeastiness but with the acidity toned down a bit. So when on offer at £10 or less, usually get a bottle. Handy to crack open when a car passes an MOT, the lawn mower starts at the start of the season or there is some other major success to celebrate!

  4. Richard W has some thoughts about the Waitrose promotion elsewhere on this thread and glad I am sharing your inbox with such illustrious company!

  5. I was with you until you mentioned the lawn mower! Just had to put mine on charge so missed this week’s narrow rainless window of opportunity. Then again, success with grass back to a manageable length might be a plausible justification for a celebratory bottle – happily nature has designed my taste buds in such a way that they can accommodate the acidic buzz of champagne.

  6. I agree. Stepping up from the standard Sauvignon Blanc is definitely worthwhile and it seems that offering 3 or more bottles of increasing sophistication has become common practice with the big NZ SB producers. It’s a good tactic to draw drinkers in with a crowd-pleasing entry level wine and then tempt us to trade up. It works for both parties. Villa Maria do it with 1) VM Private Bin Sauv Blanc, 2) VM Cellar Selection Sauv Blanc, and 3) VM Reserve Sauv Blanc, all currently available in Sainsburys for £8, £10 and £14 respectively .
    My personal favourite at the moment is Babich where the Babich single vineyard organic Marlborough Sauv Blanc (£13.99 in Waitrose) is a noticeable step up from Babich Marlborough Sauv Blanc (currently £10, reduced from £12 in Sainsburys). And if you can find it, Babich Black Label Marlborough Sauv Blanc (£15 or more) is even better.

  7. The Waitrose £10 fine wine Easter offer on the Fessy Fleurie is for the 2019 vintage (in my store). Just opened a bottle and it is really lovely – at 14%, and with 20% whole bunch fermentation, it may not be the Fleurie that some would expect.But lovely raspberries, good acid and some tannins, great value and I think could be left for a couple of years. Great value!

  8. Yes, that “Economy; Standard; Premium” hierarchy is well worth bearing mind. I have alluded to it for pinot noir in the past and will shortly do so again with Malbec. Hadn’t picked it up in respect of those sauvignons though so thanks for pointing it out. Good call for Babich too – they seem bang on form at the moment but are often overlooked.

  9. It is a good promotion and mirrors an initiative Waitrose has adopted at Christmastimes. I am trying to get a couple of examples to try and will report back on Thursday if I succeed.

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