5 Super Cheap Supermarket Wines That Actually Taste Good
The Debrief: Here's some wines from £3.59 that you'll be happy to swig on this weekend
Down the back of the sofa, through every pocket, jammed into your childhood piggy bank – there are few places your hand hasn’t been in a valiant quest to locate a few pennies for a bottle of wine when you’re flat broke. Then you jingle down to the supermarket, snatch something with a French-sounding name from the closest shelf and grin as your coppers chime merrily into the cashier’s hand.
But nothing kills that buzz quite like unscrewing the lid (let’s be real, there are no corks here) and pouring a generous measure into your favourite Sports Direct mug only to find it tastes like… Vinegar?
‘Christ, this would be more at home adorning a fish supper than tumbling down my throat before a night out’, you muse through mouthfuls of battery acid. ‘But I suppose you get what you pay for.’
Well, that’s where you’re wrong. These days, if you know where to look, it’s possible to pick up some decent wine and still get plenty of change from a tenner. Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, because you’re about to lose a weekend.
1. Beletti Prosecco Spumante, £5.29, Aldi
Ah, Aldi – where funky German sausages and lime green scuba-suits collide with own-brand cat food. But there are many hidden gems to be mined in the warehouse of wonders, and this dry but flavoursome bottle of fizz is one of them.
They say: My bottle didn't have a description on it (Aldi has to cut those corners somewhere), but if it did I imagine it would say something about pears, peaches and cherubs. Yes, it is that delicious, and yes, I am not a real wine critic.
We say: If you’ve got the new job, but haven’t quite got that first paycheck yet, I recommend hauling as much of this back to your flat as you can humanely manage. Crack it open (spraying a bit on the carpet is optional) and kick back, thinking about the good times to come.
2. Simply Merlot, £4.20, Tesco
If I had done a thank-you speech after finishing university, my first shoutout would have gone to this deliciously warming red wine. I drank it at parties, I drank it at home… Hell, I even took it to the library cleverly disguised in a Ribena bottle, which is tragedy and genius in equal measures.
They say: ‘Soft and smooth, with delicious plum and black cherry flavours with a light fruity finish.’
We say: It’s light, tastes more than fine and you could well argue that the label is the latest in minimalist Scando chic. Just the ticket.
3. So Organic Pinot Grigio, £6, Sainsbury's
You’d be forgiven for thinking that organic products are beyond the reach of your broke little mitts. But luckily, if you’re genuinely concerned about pesticides when you’re about to tank a bottle of what scientsts consider to be poison, then Sainsbury’s does a bottle of white that doesn’t cost the earth (in either sense of the phrase).
They say: ‘Crisp with delicate almond notes, made from organically grown grapes in the Veneto regions of Italy.’
We say: Pinot has a bit of a rep as the ‘ladies who lunch’ of wine, but if it’s good enough to slurp during the day then I say where’s the problem? This one toes the line between actually having a taste and ripping out your stomach lining in a way few cheap white wines have achieved. Yeah, I’m impressed.
4. Toro Loco, £3.59, Aldi
Ignore the fact that its name translates as Mad Cow, and focus on the fact that in 2012 this red won a silver award in the International Wine and Spirit Awards. That’s insane when you consider that it costs roughly the same as the tepid chips you’ll end up wolfing down at the end of the night.
They say: ‘Fresh, juicy and full of strawberries. Great on its own, and also a natural match to a wide range of dishes, especially those with a hint or two of spice.’
We say: It really is full of that fruity goodness, and is brilliant for those times you cook some fajitas for your mates and try to pretend it’s a proper grown-up dinner party.
5. Extra Special Sauvignon Blanc, £5.97, Asda
Until I discovered this sweet little bottle I was convinced that Extra Special ranges, with their obnoxiously swirly fonts, were purely for office Christmas celebrations or people who invite girls round to ‘watch a DVD’. But who can argue with a white wine that tastes like someone bottled a sunny afternoon?
They say: ‘A refreshing and mouth-watering palate delivering flavours of gooseberry, passionfruit and blackcurrant with an underlying green herbaceous thread.’
We say: When well-chilled, it not only hits the spot but is also totally delicious. Pour and wait for a minute, until the outside of the glass becomes frosty with condensation, then sip in a farewell to summer. Cheers.
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