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Happy New Year

Here is the first of the new look posts that - today - pinpoints great value budget wines.

I hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year and that 2020 will be a good year for you.

Things on the website have changed a bit although the underlying aims are, of course, unaltered.

In line with most modern websites, each post has now been made shorter and punchier.

Also, rather than consolidate everything into a single (lengthy) “article”, most topics will now have their own post – meaning more concise (but more regular) emails and updates.

Canny Drinker Alerts

January is usually a difficult time for budgets so here are five and a half everyday wines that are tasty, straightforward but inexpensive options to suit all pockets.

The last one is a little bit dearer (hence the “five and a half”) but included because it is excellent wine – and terrific value at its promotion price.

Red Wines

2019 Mountain Vineyards Shiraz (£5 at Tesco):

If you are looking for something knee-deep in substance and texture, this South African red may not be the guy for you.

Nevertheless, it has delightfully attractive but light herbal cherry and bramble fruit nicely supported by good acidity and hints of spice yet only limited tannin.

2018 Mellow and Fruity Spanish Red (£4.99 at Waitrose):

Waitrose may not be the obvious place for inexpensive wine but this terrific value garnacha based red has long been a favourite of mine.

It delivers soft, juicy cherry and raspberry fruit supported by good acidity and light tannin but with a liquorice based savoury undercurrent and hints of allspice. 

2013 Baturrica Tarragona Gran Reserva (£4.99 at Lidl):

Also Spanish (but from Catalonia this time), this keenly priced, textured merlot/cabernet blend has a nice bit of aging.

That maturation adds complexity to the wine’s cherry and bramble fruit, good acidity, suggestions of chocolate, pepper and aniseed but still quite firm tannin.

White Wines

2018 Morrisons Soave (£4.35 at Morrisons):

Today’s post (and this part of our website) is all about low cost everyday wine and this uncomplicated white from Northern Italy fits the bill perfectly.

Unusually at this price point, there is a neat combination of flavours including mellow apple and lemon fruit, vaguely nutty texture but some fresh grapefruit acidity to keep things lively. 

2018 Cimarosa Pedro Jimenez (£4.99 at Lidl):

Not to be confused with the similarly named (but only distantly related – if at all) sherry grape, this Pedro Jimenez (sometimes spelled with a G rather than a J) is from northern Chile.

Rather than the opulence of the sweet wine PX can produce in Spain, this guy has green apple and pear fruit, gentle citrus acidity, pithy texture and a surprisingly long finish that embodies unusual saline depth.

2018 Les Dauphins Cȏtes du Rhȏne Blanc (£6.50 – instead of £8 until 20 January – at Tesco):

If there are a few pennies left, head for this fragrant yet nutty blend of grenache blanc (70%) and viognier.

It has textured quince, peach and ripe melon fruit supported by evolving zesty acidity and a savoury herb finish.

Next week: Switching to a more detailed look at a subject, next Wednesday’s post will suggest what to drink for Burns Night (25 January) and why.

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22 Responses

  1. Good Morning to you Brian and a happy New Year!
    The Waitrose red above I’ve had before and enjoyed and the two Lidl bottles are ones I regularly return to. But never at full price! Both have recently featured as Weekend discounted items, now Wine Of The Week, and I’d expect them to come up again with as much as £1.50 off the usual shelf price. That makes a decent entry-level bottle even more worthwhile at between £3 and £4. What’s not to like eh?
    Thanks again for your enjoyable blog.

  2. Hi Brian
    Thanks, as usual some interesting recommendations with a couple I’m already familiar with, but it’s good to be reminded of.
    Is the omission of alcohol level a permanent change? I find that information very helpful, as my more sensible partner prefers wines with a lower figure

  3. Thanks Brian for this excellent service. Obviously due to the filter on your website I won’t be able to drink these wines with spam!

  4. Like you, Eddie, I buy these two Lidl when on offer! The Waitrose Red was really good value, too! I enjoy reading Midweekwines blog.

  5. Thanks Eddie …. I had not spotted those as Lidl Wines of the Week but will certainly try to get advance details where I can.

  6. Many thanks for your kind words Chris. To keep your other half happy, I have re-instated wine abv’s where it is easily available.

  7. Thanks Doug – glad we are hitting the spot for you. A couple more great value wines (in my view of course) will be on the website on Monday ….. Brian

  8. Hi Brian,
    Happy New year, nice to have your recommendations back, been drinking a lot of Chardonnay lately , seems to be gaining in momentum again. I’ve tasted Esteven wines before, not the Chardonnay but I was impressed for the price so may well be worth a try.
    The Cepa Rioja always delivers for the price and is normally pretty reliable. I can vouch for Garnacha (love it) don’t be fooled by its floral character though it still packs a punch but in a good way, for £5 whats not to like.
    Got a couple of bottles of the Yealands Sovee just before Christmas, enjoyed particularly by my wife.

  9. Is it the snooty who disparage Chardonnay? I would have thought it was the semi-informed. A wine buff will know that in any list of the world’s greatest white wines the biggest subgroup will consist of oaked Chardonnays. I blame the widespread aversion to oak on wine writers, who often praise wines for not being spoiled by oak. The universal denigration of the old, big-busted oaked Australians led to a flood of miserable, unoaked Chardonnays made in the misguided belief that cool climate styles could be produced by using unripe grapes or bunging in tartaric acid. Yes, there are delicious unoaked Chardonnays, if you pay enough for them.

  10. Good to hear from you Mel. My original comment was aimed at the residue of the “Anything but Chardonnay” brigade that one still encounters. You go a good deal deeper and indeed make some important points. I think it was Brian Croser who said that oak should be a condiment and I often feel that he sums things up well there. I sense that the pendulum has swung back now from avoiding oak at all costs and many more producers provide versions where proportionate barrel time has smoothed and added a few extra influences but never dominates.

  11. Good to have my morning cornflakes read back up and running Brian.
    Doing dry January this year and thoroughly enjoying it I have to say………..
    I’ve enjoyed some nice dry gin, dry red and dry whites. Not so keen on the dry martini though.
    Best to you and yours for 2021

  12. HNY Brian. I picked up a few bottles of Rioja from Lidl today; let a couple breath for c5 hours and then tried a ‘fresh’ bottle. You really can’t complain at the price point but I would recommend popping the cork sooner than later.

    Yealands doesn’t disappoint as a mid week

  13. Glad they both seem to have worked for you Nigel. Getting air to the Rioja, as you say, is almost certainly a sound strategy …. Best ….. Brian

  14. Good to have you back Brian. A lot of work there to put all that together. When I discovered that Aldi Portuguese blend almost the first week it came onto the shelf I was a little suspicious. The brash attraction of the label and the “blend” seemingly looking for an entry level audience to sell them another bottom shelf bottle of something that is cheap and maybe cheerful enough to pass muster too. Being a big fan of Portuguese offerings of most anything I was still happy to try it regardless that what is in the bottle must have actually cost cents more than euros!! It’s a belter of a blend and astonishing it can be only £3.99. Aldi have done something akin before with their Carcassonne at £4.49, now sadly departed but the excellent Aimone at £4.99 is still there. Hopefully this Mimo Moutinho can retain its quality and be with us to enjoy for a good while yet at this money, through a period of troublesome domestic financial issues. Best for now …

  15. Welcome back, Brian. I look forward to trying the Feteasca Regala and the Portuguese blend.. Aldi had a Feteasca Regala last year (also 11.5%) which you highlighted and which I much enjoyed. Sadly not seen it around lately, so it is good to have an alternative.

  16. The Aldi Mimo Moutinho red is currently unavailble online – only the Mimo Moutinho white and rose ones are

  17. Thanks Mike, Midweekers often tell me that Aldi products do sell out quite early online but can still be found in physical stores. I hope that proves so with this one as it really does offer exceptional value.

  18. Yes that (dearly departed) Aldi version was great value. There is one though in the M&S Found range that is available on their bricks and mortar stores or, via Ocado, online.

  19. Hi Eddie and I hope all goes well with you. Let’s hope this guy (or something like it) is here for the long haul but, as you say, prices will be a major doubt as we go through 2022. Some forecasters are expecting inflation and other issues to push up wine prices by one, or even two, pounds.

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