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Reliable £5 wines close to home

Two under £5 bottles (and more besides) at your local Co-op can be perfect as unwinding “no special occasion” wines.

A dependable but inexpensive bottle bought spontaneously on the way home often feels like a life saver – and your local Co-op’s latest offers can help you there.

Note, too, how £1 off an already keen price often provides better value than a spurious half price offer.

The specific promotions expire on 11 August but my judgements on the wines themselves should hold good for at least three months from the date of the post.

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

Chardonnay to tick many boxes

Full but lively with hints of honey
Full but lively with hints of honey

Despite all the ABC publicity – “anything but chardonnay” – well made expressions of the variety can still delight and refresh, as this South African example illustrates.

The full yet lively 2014 Stellenbosch Drive Chardonnay (£4.99 – instead of £6.99) supports its red apple and vanilla flavours with textured honey influences, savoury spices, firm acidity and just a whisper of oak.

A neglected grape fights back

Lime fruit but lanolin texture
Lime fruit but lanolin texture

Because it is often relegated to the role of junior partner in an undistinguished blend, semillon can be seriously underestimated but done well it is distinctive and sophisticated.

For instance, 2014 The Interlude Semillon (£5.49 instead of £6.49) has the grape’s typical lanolin texture and balanced lime acidity but contrasts it cleverly with a nutty and savoury backdrop.

Ripe aromatic crowd pleaser

Intense ripe and raspberry centred
Intense ripe and raspberry centred

Switching to reds, Argentinean malbec is currently a real – but undemanding – crowd pleaser and rightly so when everything is as deftly integrated as it is here.

Ripe and concentrated, the mid-weight 2014 Linda Mora Malbec (£4.99 instead of £5.99) has aromatic, raspberry and blackcurrant fruit with touches of vanilla and cinnamon but very soft tannins despite a nicely developed slightly minerally depth.

The classic taste of Bordeaux

Typical merlot based claret
Typical merlot based claret

Finally, if purse strings are a little looser, try a typical but currently well priced “Right bank claret” – i.e. (usually merlot based)Bordeaux red.

From its cedar wood aromas, cherry fruit and controlled tannic twist, 2013 Comtesse Saint-Hilaire Montagne Saint-Emilion (£7.99 instead of £10.99) typifies that Bordeaux style but here it is adroitly embellished by hints of clove, elderberry influenced richness and vanilla.



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