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What does yesterday’s “£5.99 Wine” now cost?

Sauvignon midway between NZ and the Loire joins a Chilean flagship grape today.

Commenting on duty and general inflation driven price rises, my fellow wine writer David Williams urged us to “accept that £8 is the new £5.99”

Indeed, retailers seem to have drawn the same conclusion with £7.99 becoming a “sweet spot” on many of their lists.

With absolutely no scientific data whatever to support it, I sense that £8 is also a different tipping point.

Crudely, it is where more wines tick the “sound and reliable” box than don’t.

Below that, fully acceptable wines do exist, but they are a hard-to-find minority.

Obviously, slavishly using that price point is no panacea, disappointing wines are still found above it.

However, I have used it today to find wine normally costing just below £10 but which is currently discounted to the said £8 point.

I hope you find them as enjoyable as I have.

Once again, pictures and hyperlinks are included where possible to make it easier to track down the wine in question.

Starting in South America

2022 The Best Chilean Carmenere (£8 – instead of £9.75 until 18 June – at Morrisons and 13.5% abv):

There is one clever (possibly unique) thing about wine from Chile’s flagship red grape – carmenere.

It makes savoury elements (like meatiness and green pepper influences) equal partners with its fruit-like constituents – rather than subsidiary to them.   

Soft and slightly leafy, this example has medium bodied cherry, bramble and damson flavours, enlivened by good acidity.

But, as well, it features exactly the right amount of savoury counterbalance and supplements that with cocoa, vanilla and clove touches.  

Click here to visit the retailer’s site … https://groceries.store.morrisons.com/products/morrisons-the-best-chilean-carmenere/111255102

Moving to South Africa next.

2023 Amandla ‘Our Future’ Sauvignon Blanc (£8 – instead of £9.50 until 17 June – for Tesco Clubcard holders and 12.5%):

I have spoken before about sauvignon blanc that strikes a compromise between the styles of the Loire and those from New Zealand.

The latter often exhibit boldness and herbaceous influences while Loire sauvignon can be fuller, more restrained and elegant.

This nicely balanced, rounded South African option occupies that increasingly popular middle ground, and delivers wine with bright grapefruit and lemon flavours.

Those elements are supported by a trace of grassiness along with contrasting tropical fruit components – notably pineapple and guava.

Click here for a link to the website … https://www.tesco.com/groceries/en-GB/products/315754144

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15 Responses

  1. Hello Brian,
    Quality wines under £8 are getting fewer and farther between;agree the sweet spot is £8 to £10.I find it difficult though that my local Spar is selling- perfectly decent Vina Sol- at £9.29!
    The Morrison’s Carmenere is a cracker,as is Tesco Finest Peumo Carmenere ,which I suggested in a previous post,at £8.50,but on a Clubcard buy six 25% off, until 17 June.
    I like the wine and the back story of the Amandla white wine,which is a rallying cry that means “Power”.The return call was Awethu which means “To us”.The entire workforce are black females that are passionate about wine making.Inspiring.

    1. Agree about carmenere; done well it’s “chocolate and green pepper” flavours are attractive and unusual. Quite a few bland versions do, however, make it onto retailers’ shelves – but those two are certainly not amongst them.

  2. Hi Brian,
    I am a big fan of carmenere, and I have sung the praises of the Asda Extra Special Carmenere before. It currently sits on the new sweet spot at £8, but if you can pick it up when they have a “25% off” offer on, it brings it back to the old sweet spot of £6

    1. Building on that reply to Paul, neither is that Asda option. Impressively neat slogan there, Dave – “Revert from the new sweet spot to the old one with ‘Buy 6’ promotions!

  3. Morning Brian ….

    I first checked out carménère (along with petit verdot) at specialist wine shops many years ago when I understood what had been the relationship with that variety and claret a century ago, the Médoc mainly, as a component that helped define that Bordeaux style. Another one of the Cabernet family to engage with and very French if not grown there much now in the same way it used to be before the ”disease” crisis. And I liked what few bottles I drank.

    I’ve had this Morrisons Chilean bottle before and enjoyed it but the full-price tag is somewhat drawing me away from wanting to make a special trip to go and buy again. Discounted it’s much better value. Importantly it is a carménère and it’s there on the high street.

    For me it begs the question, why not swallow the full-price -extra-money and just buy to enjoy it at nearly £10, and that would be fair comment.

    But if money is ”an issue” and in the case of anything at all we are yet to try that might make for a disappointing buy, not wasting our hard-earned is important.

    Since the ”price point” issue again is raised here, and I’m not going to dispute that the old £5.99 might well be the new £8, and possibly more besides, I would say that maybe we should be looking to having the confidence to go with certain retailers as the primary yardstick for our selection on the High Street especially.

    Waitrose across the board gets a very sound name-check for so much of its range and M&S are known for general integrity too, at the pricier end of matters.

    There’s a lot of Aldi and Lidl bottles that are great drinkers, but they can often be £8 to £10 bottles these days. At Aldi The Athlon Assyrtiko Syrah Rose at £9.99 just caught my eye as did the Specially Selected Coteaux De Béziers Rouge at £8.49 that not so long back was £3 cheaper. But of course at that store there are still so many excellent stock bottles that are still no more than £7, and Lidl too with their 90 point Chianti Riserva still only £6.79 !

    But what always surprises me is what is available at The Wine Society that is superior quality there for £8 or less. OK it costs £40 up front to join for life (with £20 of that an immediate credit to our account). The thing is if we are time-poor or wanting to save money on wine shopping trips TWS deliver to the door usually within 48 hours for no charge regardless the smallness, one bottle even, in the order. And if we encounter a problem with our wine, rarely though, then they will refund immediately. No going back in to a supermarket to try for redress at the customer services desk. Oh, and TWS do some half bottles too so we might try a special treat-ourselves for just £5 to £7 upfront!

    I’m just putting together an order for hopefully delivery on Friday. Sangiovese-Primitivo Cielo Via Mare, Puglia 2022 is £6.95 and Baccolo Appassimento Rosso Veneto 2022 at £7.75 is a red stunner for summer. Duo Des Mers Sauvignon-Viognier, Vin de France 2023 is £7.75. These are so affordable set against high and reliable quality.

    But tomorrow I’m near an Aldi and will call in for a deal at £3.99 down from £7.99 for their WOTW, Lisboa Rosé.

    1. A single retailer does make life easier, but I had a race-going friend who derived as much pleasure from getting the longest odds from the crowd of on-course bookies as he did from winning. There is still something of the hunter in many of us it seems. Nevertheless, it is hard to fault your case for The Wine Society – I remember Jane MacQuitty once saying that the £40 joining fee was the best wine investment you will ever make.

      1. Brian … Richard … Ha! Who knew? Not me … about proposals to join TWS or even owning actual shares. Happy 15 years ago to pay for membership and buy wine, that’s all.

        The on-course betting analogy is interesting to a point. Often better to travel than to arrive? Yeah, the adventure is along the way and experimenting too is a great experience. But that’s what we .. I do … not eggs all in one basket. Today Aldi for the Portuguese rosé WOTW … and on Thursday bottles coming from TWS all of which are well under £10 each except for a LBV Port I want for my wife’s birthday treat. All very affordable but quality stuff I believe.

        Thing is, if I lived in, say Colchester, I would likely make Lay and Wheeler my main wine merchant for the widest choice and professional delivery and advice. I make TWS MY wine merchant of preferred choice and enjoy their promotional information and contact with them. Stood in the wine aisle at Sainsbury’s or Asda will not get me an interaction better than TWS. Or indeed for instance here at MWW in this community of experts and enthusiasts!

        Information and and education is the main deal here unless I can get 25% off buy 6 bottles somewhere to stock the shelf with everyday requirements. And at the usual price being asked and availability that doesn’t unfortunately include most English table wine or fizz!!!

        Skates on … Aldi calls now ….

    2. Hi Brian,

      Investing in the Wine Society …

      I joined in 1977 – cannot remember how much it cost then, but assume it was much less than the current rate.
      As you know, one cannot sell one’s share, but on death the share can be transferred (traditionally to a grandchild!) – or the current value can be paid to your estate. Rather charmingly theses values are shown in each year’s accounts.
      The value of my share is currently £75.73. Indeed a good investment!
      But there is a certain cachet in having an early membership number, for example a 4 digit number indicates a hereditary membership pre 1933!
      Respect – to use the modern vernacular.

  4. I should have added that to join The Wine Society, traditionally, you have to be formally proposed! I remember some years back this was thought to be archaic – would you be blackballed if you couldn’t name the allowed grape varieties in claret? So they sought the members’ permission to remove this requirement. Strangely, the membership rejected the proposal and wanted to keep the status quo.
    Now if you apply you are simply asked if you know anyone that is a member. If you don’t, a Wine Society staff member “proposes” you!
    Unbeknown to me, my son-in-law applied, and gave my name as a known member. I later got a nice letter thanking me for recommending the Society to a prospective candidate. There is no reward for sponsoring new members, which is as it should be. So anyone wanting to join feel free to name me – or Eddie!

  5. Thank you to all those recommending the Wine Society. I had not considered it, to be honest. The only downside for me would be delivery….having to be in for x number of hours or even days. Do they give you a fairly reliable delivery time/date?

    1. Good to hear from you Sue and thank you for joining the numbers of those commenting here. I will leave Eddie., Richard or one of the others to give an up-to-date picture of The Wine Society delivery arrangements.

    2. Hi Sue,
      In the ordering process you pick the delivery date from those offered. For example I placed an order Sunday late afternoon, and had the choice of days from Tuesday (today). I selected Tuesday, and then get a series of emails from DHL. The first confirms they are expecting a parcel from The Wine Society; the second confirming they have got the parcel; and then finally …

      “Your parcel from Wine Society is with your DHL eCommerce UK driver for delivery today between 07:45 and 08:45.
      If there’s no-one at home, we’ll leave your parcel in a safe place.”

      They do have quite an extensive delivery area serviced by the Wine Society’s own fleet of vans. But I’m in Suffolk, and DHL provides an excellent service.

      I guess you know that all deliveries are free! They took that decision a while back. Today’s delivery was just 4 bottles. It is also very useful if you want to gift a bottle of wine. I send a bottle of Pouilly Fuisse (my late Mother’s favourite wine) to my sister every year, and this single bottle delivery is also free.

    3. Hello Sue …

      What Richard said here …

      Tell you what, if you were to join TWS use Brian’s name as a reference. If they know you are reading him/MWW and responding as you will, it gives him all the brownie points he deserves for helping promote their business and them hearing that.

      Remember it’s £40 up front but £20 of that remains yours to spend on your order. That other £20 gets long forgotten over time! But here’s the thing. The kind of promotional material you’ll regularly get you will really appreciate the literature, articles, catalogue etc. and the regular email heads-up, if it’s not too much of an intrusion. There’s a lot of it but it’s top draw stuff.

      As Brian says about Jane McQuitty and her opinion about the best investment we might make is joining TWS, you are perfectly at liberty to go anywhere you want for your wine supplies. We all do.

      BUT … TWS can help inform our choices from elsewhere, provide sound customer reaction, compare prices, and inform in more detail using their experts all in one place, maybe after you initially discover something on the high street that takes your fancy. It’s a terrific way to extend our enjoyment just as getting this stuff here on Brian’s MWW.

      I know there’s this joining fee and it all looks a bit exclusive on the face of things but if we have even a remote interest in what we choose to go with our food and entertain our friends and family with it’s a terrific facility as we buy from people who really seem to care!

      As for delivery arrangements, for me they have been faultless thus far. And now it’s FREE!!!!!
      Best of luck with it …

  6. Hello Sue,
    The Wine Society is great.Worth noting that the £40 lifetime joining fee is a one off,and then there are no monthly or yearly subscription fees.You can buy as few or as many bottles as you like,when you like,and all delivery options are free.
    The greatest value is in becoming a member of a community of like minded wine enthusiasts with a thirst for knowledge,value for money wines and good taste.

    1. My thanks to all three of you guys for helping Sue out here. I hope she does become a member and it proves the start of a beautiful friendship.

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