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Happy New Year Everyone

Mango and grapefruit flavours in a great value Lidl sauvignon plus a herbal and spicy £5+ Spanish red that bursts with cherry flavours.

I hope everyone had good Christmas and New Year celebrations with plenty of classy wines to lubricate the occasion.

Slowly returning to “business as usual” at MidWeek Wines, today’s post uses a Top Tips format to help nurse wounded wallets back to financial health.

To that end, once again my first column of the year tries to highlight wines with especially keen prices.

Nobody will be surprised to learn though that, as almost everything gets dearer, most wines that I can confidently recommend now start between £6 and £7.

Expectations do need to be managed accordingly.

In other news, next Thursday sees my annual consideration of wines to help celebrate Burns Night (25 January).

After that, Top Tips will occupy its customary place as each Monday morning’s companion to birdlife’s dawn chorus.  

As usual the images and hyperlinks that appear below should help you to find the wines in crowded displays.

First call today is France’s Loire Valley

2021 Sauvignon Blanc Val de Loire (£6.49 at Lidl): 

This French sauvignon from Lidl remains particularly good value at £6.49 and shows how wandering away from the classic areas further upriver can keep prices modest.

Restrained with a mild chalky foundation, it contains soft mango, red apple and pear drop flavours supported by gentle lemon and grapefruit acidity.

Grassy and herbal elements also join the party.

In Short:

  • Restrained with chalky touches.
  • Mango, apple and pear drop flavours.
  • Gentle citrus acidity.
  • Grassy and herbal elements appear too.
  • Available at a great on-going price.

Then to Spain for another bargain

2020 Campaneo Old Vines Tempranillo (£5 in Tesco or £5.63 in Scotland):

In a welcome exception to my £6 rule, here is a great value, easy drinking, straightforward, unpretentious Spanish red.

Dark in colour and with very limited tannin, it is centred around cedar influenced cherry, loganberry and bramble flavours.

These are attractively embellished by traces of vanilla, rosemary and cinnamon wrapped in good acidity.

In Short:

  • Dark with cedar influences.
  • Blackberry, cherry and loganberry flavours.
  • Good acidity but only gentle tannin.
  • Rosemary, vanilla and cinnamon components emerge too.
  • Exceptional wine at less than £6.

Make sure you tune in next Thursday when I reveal my recommendations for red and white wines. beer and whisky to enhance Burns Night celebrations.

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11 Responses

  1. Good to have midweek wines back Brian. I am shopping this afternoon at a Lidl so decided to open the link to see what else is being said about the Loire SB. What struck me right off looking at their whole range of stock-bottle whites is how many of them are not only under £6 but under £5 as well!! And a lot of their reds are the same. Given how the cost of living crisis has been biting now for some time the pleasure giving treat of a glass of wine at home still seems easily affordable according to these current prices … as long, of course, such entry level offerings are drinkable. And then, when we find a good wine as long as the quality of follow on vintages being maintained is important. Sometimes with Lidl lower end wine this hasn’t always been the case. Best as ever.

  2. Brian,

    Just love getting and reading your emails every week.

    Thanks for the reminder that Loire Sauvignon Blanc is available ongoing. I tend to walk past the stock bottles on the way to the wine tour offerings, however the prices are going up.
    Your timely reminder and Eddie Walker’s comments are much appreciated.

    Kind regards,

    Richard.

  3. Happy new year Brian, and good to have your postings back!

    MidWeekers may want to consider the Porcupine Ridge Shiraz 2021, on offer in Waitrose, at £5.99. Last month I much enjoyed a 2020, which I had bought some time back at £7.99, and thought it well structured and good value. Haven’t tried the 2021 vintage yet, but it has been Joanna Simon’s wine of the week, and can be stored for 3 or 4 years.

  4. Hi Brian, Happy New Year and best wishes for 2023 to you and yours. There’s a little gem I discovered in Tesco over the festive period from Spain; Mucho Mas. It’s currently down to £6.50 and, personally for me, it’s well worth every penny and some. 14% and goes down very easily, lovely flavours, good red fruit flavours. I’ve recommended to a few friends and all sing it’s praises. If you’ve not tasted I’d get on the Bat Phone and call in some samples.
    Best
    Chris

  5. One to check out then Chris, looks like it’s a blend Tempranillo & Syrah from old vines, touch of oak and 14%abv. I will pick up a bottle next time I’m in store

  6. Yes. It is good to be back, Eddie – although a break is always welcome.
    Yes, it is impressive how sound wines keep emerging at low prices – especially from the premium discounters. The downside though (as you suggest) is that wines at bargain basement prices vary more in overall quality and between vintages than at any other point on the price ladder. This is true of almost all retailers.

  7. Great to hear from you Richard and thanks for those kind words.
    Rising prices are an ever-present just at the moment and trying to hold back a tide like that has seldom ended well – from King Canute onwards. Moving to less fashionable areas (as that sauvignon has) can help. So, as you suggest, can looking at core ranges but care is needed as my reply to Eddie indicates. However, that Loire white (and Lidl’s Marlborough sauvignon) are both great value for money.

  8. Greetings to the other Richard W – and good to be back.
    I must try this because Porcupine Ridge has been a blind spot for me. As you say though, if Jo is on the case that is a pretty good indicator that we shall not be disappointed.

  9. Many thanks for the tip, Chris. – and I am sure many MidWeekers will call you blessed for recommending it. I shall indeed get on the Bat Phone shortly to see what can be arranged.

  10. Season’s greetings Dave. Interesting how Tesco is repeatedly turning-up these cheap, juicy Spanish reds at a fiver! We ignore them at our peril, yeah! But Sainsbury’s top-shelf Italian Tuscans are still my current go-to reds when I can afford them AND, more importantly, if they remain available. Both the Maremma and the Morrelino have disappeared from my store now, leaving only the Vino Nobile. Should be interesting to know what Brian thinks about the new Lidl Wine Tour of Italians; there’s an Albaruta Montefalco Rosso at £8.49 in the bunch!!

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