As the impact of the new duty on wine sinks in, there was a timely reminder today of how you can still drink well within a budget – and not resort to supermarket “offers”.
The Wine Society showed journalists and bloggers almost 60 wines new to its list for summer. While there were a handful of very good wines at the higher end – the 2007 Au Bon Climat Isabelle Pinot Noir (£35) and the Bilancia La Collina Syrah 2008 (£45) being the standouts – I counted 27 wines under £10.
Cracking Whites Under £10
Touraine Chenin Blanc 2009, Jean-Christophe Mandard, £7.95 – with 15% Chardonnay, this smelt and tasted of hedgerows, hawthorns and blackcurrant leaves.
The Society’s Chilean Chardonnay 2010 £5.95 – made for The Wine Society by Concha Y Toro, this is a straightforward, fruity but not overblown Chardonnay with hints of oranges. Pleasant and great for the price.
For about £4 more, you get a much classier Chardonnay with the Macon-Villages 2009, Domaine Mallory et Benjamin Talmard, £9.50 – slightly creamy, with flavours of apricots and lemons. “Posh lunch wine” say my notes.
I was also really pleased to see a Moscato d’Asti included – from Elio Perrone. At £6.75, this will go wonderfully with light, creamy summer puds. I will be stocking up.
Cracking Reds Under £10
The Crossings Pinot Noir 2009, £9.95 – a medium weight raspberries and roses Marlborough Pinot, with some earthy vegetal hints to temper the perfume. Another posh lunch wine methinks.
Dao Duque de Viseau 2007, Quinta dos Carvalhais, £7.95 – a fresh, plummy Portuguese wine that will be great with barbecued red meat.
Biferno Rosso Riserva 2006, £7.25 – Soft red fruits and an appealing perfumed nose, surprisingly elegant for the price and one of a number of interesting Italian wines new to the list.
Cruz de Piedra Garnacha 2009, £5.50 – Easy-drinking, vibrant dark red fruits and some light spice. Like the Chilean Chardonnay, great for the price.
Tabali Reserva Especial Syrah 2008, £9.75 – smooth black plums and berries, and didn’t feel like 14.5% alcohol by volume (ABV).
My Wine Picks Below £15
For a few ££ more, I also really liked the 2009 Tierhoek Chenin Blanc £10.95 – waxy, sour butter and apples; the 2008 Chateau Mont Perat Blanc from Bordeaux, £13.50 – creamy lemons with some prominent but not overpowering oak; and the 2006 Rolf Binder Shiraz Mataro Grenache, £13.95 – a well-structured wine from Barossa with a savoury, peppery nose but softer and juicier to taste without being jammy.
The wines go on sale on 4th April and The Wine Society will be holding the current list prices for wines ordered before 13th April.