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How to Combat Rising Wine Prices

In tune with today’s economic climate, here are wines for modest budgets coupled with tips on how get most “bangs for your bucks”.  

Newspapers abound with stories of folk cutting back currently with some reports suggesting that more than half of us expect to reduce spending on alcohol in 2023.

I fully understand why, but today’s landscape is complicated.

Firms, too, face increased prices, not least for power.

By reducing costs to meet them, service levels or production quality may be similarly reduced.

So, as far as wine is concerned, I have a few suggestions:

  • Be flexible on what you buy. Your favourite brand may no longer be what it was – especially when vintages change.
  • Ride the offers. Find something you like and stock up when “Buy 6 …” promotions surface.
  • Consider “cost neutral” changes by buying fewer bottle over time but increase the price per bottle to “drink better – but less”.
  • That said, expect prices to rise a bit anyway – an increasing number of “Bargain Basement” wines are not good enough to be recommended here.

Meanwhile, I will tease out good value options wherever I can find them, but the challenges do intensify with each passing month. 

The images and hyperlinks provided here should help you to navigate crowded displays to find the wines I do recommend though.

A consistently good, core range option

2022 Cimarosa Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (£6.99 at Lidl and 12% abv)

When in Lidl raking through the latest Wine Tour offerings, do not ignore the retailer’s core ranges.

This example from that range has been consistently good and manages to preserve that quality level in the latest available vintage.

Assertive with significant depth, it neatly builds on its lime centred acidity by supporting it with attractive ginger and apple blossom touches.

All that is partnered by a cocktail of flavours that include greengage, pithy orange, ripe melon and crunchy apple elements.  

N.B. I sense that the Lidl website may not have caught up with the most recent price change.

Puglia bang on form

2021 Taste the Difference Primitivo (£6.50 – instead of £7 until 6 February – at Sainsbury’s and 13.5%):

Although the previous vintage of this Italian red received a thumbs down on Sainsbury’s website, no one can justifiably quibble with the 2021 version I tasted.

It displays all the flavour, versatility and nuttiness you expect of classic primitivo from Puglia.

Dark with savoury bite, the wine is centred around smooth and typical bramble and plum flavours.

That foundation is combined with gentle tannin (but firm acidity) along with suggestions of almonds, pepper and oregano.

This Thursday’s post uses Sunday Best and Friday Treat selections to enhance the quality of your “drink-at-home instead of going out” options.

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12 Responses

  1. Good advise Brian. Another option is when Lidl change their Wine Tours they often reduce stock from the previous tours. Some bargains to be had at some stores. We have had the Outlook Bay Central Otago and Marlborough Pinot Noir for £7.99 and the Furmint for £5.99 up here in Scotland. May be cheaper elsewhere in the UK. Have also seen the Tokaji 5 Puttonyos from the Christmas tour reduced to £9.99.

    1. Still some good bargains to be had in those post Wine Tour clearances, Erik, but Lidl’s approach to them seems to have changed and the £3.99 offerings seem less widespread. Several comments on this site speak of detecting this trend in their local branches.

  2. Hi Brian, Echo Erik’s thoughts, although those reduced stock bargains vary from store to store, very rarely see anything reduced in our local store. As you say it’s getting harder and harder to find reasonable quality at lower prices, some of the wines I used to buy for £6 – £7 a year or two ago are now pushing £9, that’s a big jump. Be selective, I agree with you, buy better but buy less, although there is still some quality cheap wine out there all be it harder to find, that’s why we need sites like this to highlight them.
    That Primitivo I’ve tasted and for £6.50 it’s very good

    1. Glad you also rated that primitivo and I do appreciate your kind words about the site. You are absolutely right that some £7 wines have not just gone up by 50p – the “sweet spot” is now heading rapidly towards £9. To be even more gloomy, it probably has not peaked yet.
      Being positive, though, I do encounter a few £5 ono wines that are sound – and will keep telling MidWeekers about it when I do.

  3. A real godsend of a bargain red wine is the Tesco Montepulciano d’abruzzo Vista Castelli which even in Wales is £4.75 a bottle.This is a crunchy,fresh,black fruit ,complex wine with a bit of tannin.Makes a winter meaty stew into an adventure..This wine was recommended by Tim Atkins ,,wine correspondent,who normally comments on far more expensive wines.Yes, your eyes did not deceive you- a complex wine at £4.75!

  4. A really mouthwatering description, Paul – are you after my job? It’s a good call too because I have just acquired a bottle to see whether it will fit into a future post. Thanks for sharing the news about it …. Best …. Brian

  5. The Tesco montepulciano is indeed excellent and a very drinkable wine, but I’ve found making my own wine is the way forward! I make kits from a company called wine expert that produce wines for around £2 a bottle that made me cancel my laithwaites subscription.

  6. Tried a bottle of the Tesco Montepulciano, also after reading Tim Atkins recommendation but felt it just fell a little short…..

  7. Yes I can see that it lacks the density of more expensive Montepulciano but I would still suggest that its combination of plum, clove, chocolate and liquorice makes it pretty good value at its price point.

  8. Now there’s a different approach. I recognised some years ago that I personally will never be a competent wine maker but well done if you have hit the necessary quality levels at modest prices.

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