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Wine to Upgrade Any Weekend

Two mildly surprising summer reds and a potential upgrade to your prosecco, head the parade today folks

Thursday is the day we take a step up to look beyond those uncomplicated wines that can add well deserved joy and finesse to midweek evenings.  

Appreciated as those midweek stalwarts are, weekends often call for something yet more special.

So, my Friday Night choices push the envelope a little while Sunday Best selections enter the realms of special occasion options.

Here are examples of each that you can buy with confidence.

Also today is a rundown of supermarket promotions and my recommendation about what to choose from all those tempting offers.

It aligns closely with the personal “7 letter guide to better Prosecco”, I published a couple of years ago.

In my usual way, I have provided pictures and hyperlinks of the recommendations where possible.

Friday Night Special

Here we find the grape used for north-eastern Italy’s Valpolicella and Bardolino red wines – but in its summer uniform.

With gentle chilling, its prominent fruit flavours help to provide exactly the right ending to a sunny day.

Dark in colour yet light in texture, 2020 Montresor Corvina Bio (currently £8.50 – instead of £10.50 – at Aitken Wines and 12.5% abv) brings us soft red currant and bramble flavours supported by lively acidity.

Hints of sweetness, a mere modicum of tannin and suggestions of baking spice and savoury herbs complete the picture of a good summer wine from a slightly unexpected source.

Sunday Best

I recommended the excellent Giribaldi Gavi a month or so back, but this red is a lovely bottle too and is based on Piemonte’s underestimated dolcetto grape – which in talented hands, as it is here, can be especially exciting.

Mario Giribaldi is the third generation in this family business – where they not only produce the two wines I have mentioned but also make top level Barolo and other nebbiolo options.

Soft with a nutty depth, 2020 Giribaldi “Calupo” Dolcetto D’Alba(from £10.79 at Wickham Wine and 12.5%)exhibits herbal mulberry, cherry and rhubarb flavours but has much else going on too.

Those additional components include modest acidity, traces of vanilla, cola and baking spices and appreciable depth – but only limited tannin.


First up then we should focus on Waitrose because their current promotion is now entering its final week and comes to an end on 12 July.

A lot to ponder here – as the website illustrates – and its content includes reductions on 25 champagnes or sparkling wines such as 25% off Graham Beck Chardonnay Pinot Noir Brut (to £10.99) and a third off Chapel Down Bacchus Sparkling (down to £12.49).

The current Morrisons promotion is now about halfway through and is not scheduled to end until 19 July.

As you can see here, where multi-buys are permitted, it has a number of “Buy 2, get a third free” and rather more “Two for £11” deals.

Meanwhile, in Scotland, there are over 70 money off deals – some of which do also apply in other parts of the UK.

With a broadly similar timeframe, the current set of deals at Sainsbury’s also runs through to 19 July and details can be found here.

There are reductions on no fewer than 45 Taste the Difference wines with prices that start at £6 for the duration of this promotion.

The multi-buy promotion at Asda ended last weekend but it is not yet clear what “Rollback”, “Dropped and Locked” or other promotions are planned to succeed it.

The Tesco wine scene has been dominated by its “25% off when you buy 6+” deals for Clubcard holders but that has now ended although reductions on around 20 wines (including £1 off the Finest Pecorino) do continue until 10 July.

However, Tuesday saw the start of a major promotion for Clubcard holders and that one is in force until 25 July.  

Price reductions there apply to 8 Finest options and trios of wines from producers such as Louis Jadot, Ramon Bilbao and La Vieille Ferme.     

There is also a promotion at M&S which is due to expire on 18 July. Until then, you can get a number of good selling wines that have been reduced to £6 (from either £7 or £7.50)

Things run for a bit longer over at the Co-op (where the latest promotion does not end until 26 July). In line with the retailer’s usual policy, £1 or £2 is knocked off the price of a number of £6 to £8 wines until then.

Star Buy from Promotions

Yes I know you can get prosecco cheaper than this, but here you have a 15% discount on one of the better supermarket versions of prosecco, and one that is ideal for summer drinking outdoors.

It is from the slightly hillier Conegliano region – part of one of the top two areas in the vast territory that makes up Prosecco country.

As I said in the introduction, my personal “7 letter guide to better Prosecco” from a couple of years back, will help you make sense of prosecco labelling.

Aromatic and fresh, Taste the Difference Conegliano Prosecco(£8.50 – instead of £10 until 19 July – at Sainsbury’s and 10.5%) has pear, apple and stone fruit flavours with citrus freshness and is given extra vitality by a lively mousse.  

See you again on Monday with my usual recommendations of those “great value midweek stalwarts” that comprise my regular Top Tips feature.

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4 Responses

  1. Thanks Richard and great to hear from you. Like many simplifications, that 7 letter guide uses a broad brush of necessity but still seems a useful hack for anyone unsure which prosecco (of several) to buy. Sometimes it means spending £1 more but almost always is well worth it.

  2. Always a pleasure to hear from a “first time caller” so thank you so much for getting in touch Catherine. Even more appreciated, is the kind comment you have made. I am delighted that my random scribblings work well for you, and do keep tuning in, particualrly to tell me about wines that you especially enjoy….. I do try to answer every comment.

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