Four of my favourite wines of recent weeks are all made from different grape varieties, are all classic examples of their varieties and are all under £10.
Pinot Grigio is not a grape I would normally turn to.
Lets be honest, it’s made at a certain price level due to supermarket pressure and therefore really doesn’t have much character at all.
From its home in north east Italy, it now seems to be grown everywhere and be available by the glass in pubs and restaurants that should know better.
Well, pay attention, because it’s not all like that.
If you trade up a little and look for wines from Alto Adige in northern Italy you can find some wines of real interest and character.
Stella Alpina Pinot Grigio 2015, Alto Adige (Majestic £11.99 but £9.99 if part of a mixed six) is just such a wine.
It’s full of apple and peach fruit, with a touch of pear skin, followed by a nicely textured palate with some zesty, citrus fruit.
It’s a perfect summer wine that will work nicely with a tomato and mozzarella salad or some simple barbecued fish.
The Austrian grape Grüner Veltliner is beginning to catch people’s attention.
It can be a nice alternative to Sauvignon Blanc and is perhaps a little more food friendly.
If you’ve not tasted an example then Grüner Veltliner ‘Terraces’ 2015, Domane Wachau (Lidl £7.99) is a great value place to start.
It’s aromatic with a touch of spice which is the variety’s signature along with citrus and pear, followed by a really nice balance between fruit and acidity, not overly complex but very drinkable. Try this with some Thai dishes or smoked fish.
Moving onto red grapes, Root 1 Carmenère 2014, Colchagua Valley (Morrisons £8) is a perfect example of how this grape, which has become Chile’s signature variety, can offer great value.
There is lots of plummy, dark fruit with a nice twist of spice, followed by ripe tannins and a little vanilla oak.
Again, this isn’t an overly complex wine but it’s very satisfying and with its touch of smokiness it would be a good barbecue wine with some spicy marinated pork or chicken.
When I look back on my notes at the end of the year I would be very surprised if Robert Oatley ‘Signature’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Margaret River (The Co-operative £9.99) doesn’t feature in my top five value red wines.
This is fantastic wine, made by one of the current Aussie wine making superstars, Larry Cherubino, and I’m certain you wont find a Bordeaux that will come even remotely close at this price.
There is blackcurrant, cinnamon, cedar and just a touch of mint followed by silky tannins and a wonderfully balanced finish.
Open it an hour beforehand and serve it with some rare beef, a wine you should be buying by the case – it’s that good.