Give us this day our daily red

  • Wednesday 30 May 2007

You can’t raid the 1982 clarets every night, so which are the names to keep to hand for everyday indulgence? We picked out 50, all under £10

You can’t raid the 1982 clarets every night, so which are the names to keep to hand for everyday indulgence? We picked out 50, all under £10

What can one expect from a sub-£10 wine? In an age when supermarkets’ choice of wine suppliers revolves around quantity as much as quality, consumers are often (mis)led to those producers willing and able to offer huge discounts above all else.

Quality and value can and do co-exist, however – sometimes even on the high street. They take a bit of hunting out, but once found, they’re all the more rewarding.

Under £5, it is pretty much impossible to produce a characterful wine and still turn a profit after taking into account tax, excise duty, transportation, marketing, packaging and retail margins. Between £6 and £10, however, there is a wealth of good wine being made. Some is excellent. What we were looking for here were wines that are both consistent and characterful. So yes, they show typicity of their region and grape variety. But they also express individuality and interest.

Opinions differ as to the best places to find such wines. Steven Spurrier’s choices are all Old World – he reckons that at £6–10, regional France and Italy offer better value than the New World. Our other contributors cast their net wider. All their choices make for rewarding, interesting drinking – be it for a midweek supper, Sunday barbecue or a Saturday night DVD. However informal the occasion, there’s no need to compromise on quality.

The following recommendations were selected by consultant editor Steven Spurrier, BBC Good Food wine editor Sarah Jane Evans MW, The Sunday Times wine critic Joanna Simon, The Independent wine critic Anthony Rose and the Decanter team. They are labelled accordingly.

WHITES

Joël Delaunay, Sauvignon de Touraine 2005

Proof that the Loire can do great value Sauvignon. As the river runs west towards Tours from its chalky/limestone soils at Sancerre and Pouilly-sur-Loire, Sauvignon Blanc continues to produce lively, vibrantly fruity wines that are often the equal of the smarter appellations. (SS) £5.99; Maj

 

Hugel, The Society’s Vin d’Alsace

For decades Hugel Pere et Fils has sold its classic blend, known locally as ‘Gentil’, to selected British buyers. This balanced wine that shows the softness of Chasselas and Pinot Blanc with a lift of Riesling and an aromatic hint of Gewurztraminer is the essence of Alsace. (SS) £6.25; WSo

 

Hochtersassen Salomon,

Grüner Veltliner 2006

This southern Austrian wine is fruity and rich on the nose, with tense and exciting flavours that confirm the quality of this totally Austrian grape and completely outclass the more popular Pinot Grigios from across the border. (SS) £6.95; L&S

 

Knappstein, Hand Picked Riesling 2005

A mouthwatering example of how archetypal Aussie Riesling differs from the minerally, slatey German and Austrian versions. Bags of generous, limey citrus flavour and a hint of kerosene. This is juicy and fresh with a firm structure behind – no flabbiness. £6.99; Maj

Taste the Difference,

Grüner Veltliner 2005

For the uninitiated, this is a textbook example of the white pepper, white peach and lime notes of GV. The already converted can simply savour the G(reat) V(alue). (SJE) £6.99; Sai

Daisy Rock Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough 2006

One of my proudest recent discoveries. This is a tense and vivid Sauvignon Blanc with a blast of white flowers and gooseberry. One for lovers of expressive young SB. (SJE) £7.49; Thr

Saint Clair, Vicar’s Choice, Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough 2006

Not just because it’s on Air New Zealand Business Class, this is a classic example of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc at its pungently aromatic, passionfruity zingiest. (AR) £7.49–8.99; Maj, Thr, WRa

Weingut Winter, Riesling Trocken, Rheinhessen 2005

Peaches and straw on the nose and palate; dry and high in acid, but with the acidity matched by flavour intensity and body (12.5%). The result is wonderfully refreshing, but weighty enough for food – the sort of wine that gives dry German wine a good name. (JS) £7.50; Swg

Villa Maria, Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc 2006

From one of New Zealand’s top winemakers, this Sauvignon comes from Marlborough’s Wairau and Awatere valleys and is bursting with gooseberry fruit, with plenty of crisp acidity on the palate. A great match with seafood. £7.59–8.19; Maj, Odd, Wai

G de Guiraud, Bordeaux Sec 2005

Crisp pink grapefruit and quince flavours, a waxy, soft-butter texture and fine, nutty oak. This is a 70-30 Semillon-Sauvignon Blanc blend, given breadth and depth by partial barrel fermentation. We don’t see much of this style these days – inexpensive white Bordeaux being mostly Sauvignon-dominated and unoaked – a shame because it’s both food-friendly and works very well as an apéritif. (JS) £7.99; Maj

M’Hudi, Sauvignon Blanc, Elgin 2006

Textbook Sauvignon, with exhilarating gooseberry fruit, elderflower and herbs; medium bodied, pure and streamlined with steely acidity. Stylistically halfway between Sancerre and Marlborough – and a demonstration of how well suited some of South Africa’s cool-climate regions are for Sauvignon. From a Black Empowerment winery. (JS) £7.99; M&S

M&S, Barossa

Chardonnay 2006

All M&S wines are exclusive, sourced from various suppliers and made in a style to appeal to the UK palate. Hence this, from Barossa stalwart St Hallett, is more minerally and elegant than many a Barossa Chardonnay, all lime and pine nuts rather than butter and cream. £7.99; M&S

Rami, Falanghina del Molise, Di Majo Norante 2005

Lively pear and herb flavours with a suggestion of scented white peach; medium bodied, with good acidity and impressive length. Italian white wines are desperately underrated. In fact, there are some wonderful Italian white grapes – Falanghina being one of them. You can drink this on its own, but it’s also got the weight and acidity to take on food. (JS) £8.25; L&S

Bodegas Hidalgo, Manzanilla Pasada Pastrana

Javier Hidalgo’s Manzanilla La Gitana is the biggest selling Manzanilla in Spain, making great strides here due to its tangy crispness. But for depth of flavour this smoother Pasada-style wine is unsurpassed and, at only 15.5%, about the weight of some southern hemisphere Chardonnays. (SS) £8.49; Maj

 

Errázuriz, Max Reserva Chardonnay 2005

Sweet spicy oak and ripe tropical fruit – melon and pineapple offset by strong acids and a good meaty mouthfeel – this is a wine made partly with wild yeast which gives it that slightly rustic edge. Good strong acid. Would go perfectly with a dish of creamy seafood pasta. £8.54; Wai

Domaine Sainte Barbe, Les Tilles,

Mâcon-Villages 2005

Rich ripe-apple fruit and a creamy texture harnessed to a mineral core. Thankfully, there’s now lots of competition in white Burgundy at £9–10, but this is absolutely à point – not that it’s going to fall apart any time soon. Biodynamic to boot. (JS) £8.95; SVS

A&F Boudin, Chablis 2005

With its green-gold colour and the fatness of fruit that this domaine always seems to produce, this is one of my favourite Chablis, and the 2005 is as good as the fabulous 2000 that I served at my daughter’s wedding. (SS) £9.95; L&S

Oak Valley Sauvignon Blanc, Elgin 2005

From fruit and flower farmer Anthony Rawbone-Viljoen in the Cape’s cool Elgin Valley, this lightly smoky, restrained Sauvignon displays flavours of gooseberry while its savoury minerality is reminiscent of Sancerre. Excellent with firm white fish. (AR) £9.95–9.99; GWW, SVS

Cave de l’Abbé Rous, Collioure Blanc, France 2005

Now for something completely different. 100% barrel-fermented old vine Grenache Gris and Blanc (among others) make for a wonderfully complex wine. It reveals itself slowly in the mouth: well balanced, understated, individual. (SJE) £9.99; M&S

Framingham, Classic Riesling, Marlborough 2005

From Marlborough’s free-draining, river-bed soils, this off-dry aromatic white from Englishman Andrew Headley with its moderate alcohol boasts floral honeysuckle scents, with underlying apple and lime zest characters. (AR) £9.99; Car, ECl

Pazo de Señorans, Albariño 2005

One of Spain’s classic seafood dry whites, in this instance from Galicia’s Rias Baixas on the Atlantic Coast. The rich but refreshingly crisp and dry, lemony flavours of this white make it a marriage crafted in heaven for shellfish. (AR) £9.99; Boo

Pewsey Vale, Riesling 2006

Clean, citrus nose. Very typical but also lots of complexity, perfumed with a hint of oiliness and petrol. The citrus freshness and zing comes through on the attack with a creamy mid-palate. Finishes with a wonderful balance of weight and acidity. Would go equally well with food (try something spicy like Thai) as it would as an apéritif. £9.99; Imb, Odd

REDS

St Hallett, Gamekeeper’s Reserve, Barossa Valley 2005

St Hallett made its name with its classic Old Block Barossa Shiraz, and now it has gone down the more commercial but no less satisfying route for this juicy raspberry-and-cherry-fruity, Oz-meets-Beaujolais-style, everyday glugger. (AR) £4.99–5.99; Coo, Sai, Thr, Wai

Chateau Pech-Latt,

Corbières 2005

Fantastic-value organic food wine from the exciting south of France. There is some earthy meatiness, but also spicy fruit and a hint of the ‘garrigue’ character that makes good wines from here so deliciously distinctive. £5.69; Wai

Cave de Buxy, Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2005

Not deep in colour, but with lovely supple, succulent Pinot fruit from the highly regarded Côte-Chalonnaise cave cooperative, this typifies the ripeness of 2005 and should be served cool to preserve the fruit. (SS) £5.99; Maj

Concha y Toro, Casillero del Diablo, Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

The actual Casillero del Diablo (The Devil’s Cellar) was given its name by Concha y Toro’s founder to ward off deeply religious, yet occasionally dishonest, local workers from plundering his cellar. The Cabernet boasts sumptuous cassis, coffee and dark chocolate aromas with well-presented fruit plus admirable depth and structure on the palate. £5.99; Odd, Sai, Tes, Wai

 

The Wolftrap, Franschhoek 2005

Practically anything from Mark Kent would fit on a list of top choices, but The Wolftrap, with its wild blend of red varieties, is definitely excellent value. (SJE) £5.99; Ave, Coe, Odd, Sai, WSo

Lea & Sandeman, Bordeaux 2004

This clear, classic claret from Château La France in Fronsac shows the best of Merlot-based fruit from a region that a century ago was more famous than

St-Emilion. Bright with clarity of flavour, this is the classic ‘everyday’ red wine for Bordeaux lovers. (SS) £6.95; L&S

 

Errázuriz, Estate Merlot 2005

This Merlot may sit far below, in price terms, the same company’s wines that perform so well against first growths in its Berlin tastings. Yet it too is quickly establishing itself as a modern classic. Polished, juicy, and not in the least overstated. (SJE) From £6.99; Boo, Bud, Odd, Sai, Tes, Thr

Storyteller, Tinta Barocca, Swartland 2005

It’s not everyday a Tinta Barocca swims into view – just the kind of discovery to brighten up ‘everyday drinking’. As you might guess from its port background, it has a floral perfume, a tarry undertow, and a certain South African hunkiness (14.5%). (SJE) £6.99; Thr

Château d’Or et de Gueules, Les Cimels, Costières de Nîmes 2003

Brimming with raspberries and spice on the nose and with fresh berry fruit, peppery spice and mineral flavours on the palate. There’s no oak, yet the texture is mouthfillingly smooth, and there’s no sign either of the hot, baked 2003 character. What shines out instead is Syrah (the main variety), together with terroir. (JS) £7.45; RWC

Alta Tierra, Syrah 2004

Crozes-Hermitage crossed with Chilean sunshine gives you an aromatic, opulent, tarry Elqui Valley Syrah whose juicy, blackberryish fruit quality with a twist of Syrah pepper makes it the perfect everyday red for grilled meats and sausages. (AR) £7.49; Lai

Seigneurs d’Aiguilhe,

Bordeaux 2004

The second wine of Chåteau d’Aiguilhe, Stephan von Neipperg’s Castillon property. He’s invested huge amounts of money in it, and it shows in this wine – an impressive, modern-style Bordeaux, with lush, dark, curranty fruit and spice. Great balance and drinkability. £7.59; Wai

Viña Leyda, Las Brisas Pinot Noir,

Leyda, Chile 2005

Beautifully fresh and scented with sweet plums, summery red fruits and the merest suggestions of spice and mint; medium-bodied and very pure in flavour. This is Pinot at its most seductively aromatic – not especially complex and not mimicking Burgundy, but beautifully expressive and balanced. (JS) £7.95–8.99; Swg, GWW

Château Segonzac, Oak Aged,

Premières Côtes de Blaye 2004

Warm, earthy-sweet mulberry fruit off-set by classic cedary notes, a fine-grained texture and a soft, clean, dry finish. I’ve come back to Bordeaux in a big way in the last couple of years for just these kinds of interesting but subtle flavours and sense of balance, although I usually have to pay more than £8 for them. (JS) £7.99; Wai

M&S, Old Vine Garnacha, Montsant 2002

Looking for something interesting to drink tonight? Pop into your local M&S. The wine department continues to reinvent its ranges with intelligent buying. This is a succulent blend of 50-year-old Grenache with a dash of Cabernet Sauvignon. A dense, structured treat, with a real sense of place. (SJE) £7.99; M&S

Perrin et Fils, Peyre Blanche, Côtes du Rhone-Villages Cairanne 2004

A rich, Grenache-dominated southern Rhône from an appellation that, in the best hands, is the equal of most of its neighbours from Vacqueyras and Gigondas, not to speak of the Perrins’ home base in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. (SS) £7.99; Maj

 

Campo Viejo Reserva

Rioja 2000

Sweet fruity nose with a hint of cedary, spicy wood. On the palate, juicy ripe tannins and sweet stone fruit – damsons and ripe plums on a bed of soft acid and silky tannin. It’s not a big wine, nor a particularly long one, but it would go perfectly with a dish of spring lamb with rosemary and garlic. £8.54; Sai

Domaine de Beauséjour, Chinon 2005

For that moment when expressive, bold New World reds just won’t do, the answer is to return to the calm and cool delicacy of Cabernet Franc. (SJE) £8.95; WSo

Frederic Mabileau, Les Rouillères, St-Nicolas de Bourgueil 2005

2005 is the greatest vintage for red wines from Touraine since 1990. Frédéric Mabileau has always showcased the aromatic elegance that the Cabernet Franc grape can produce in

this cool climate, and this year has brought him a vintage that will be as classic as his grandfather’s 1947. (SS) £8.95; WSo

Selvapiana, Chianti Classico Rufina 2004

Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi owns 90% of the famed Chianti Rufina DOC north of Florence, but some prime sites still remain with the Giuntini family, whose soft, fragrant wines have an innate ripeness that makes them elegantly impressive. (SS) £8.95; WSo

 

Lurton, la Chapelle, Bordeaux 2005

M&S does it again. This is an elegant, approachable Bordeaux at a remarkably approachable price for its quality. (SJE) £8.99; M&S

Masi Tupungato, Passo Doble,

Mendoza 2005

Vibrant blackberry and cherry fruit on the nose and a rich, complex palate with nut, spice and chocolate notes, fine ripe tannins and an appetising finish. This is a ripasso-style wine aged in French oak, produced by Masi of Valpolicella from 1,000m-high vineyards in Tupungato, Argentina. This really does combine the best of Old and New

Worlds. (JS) £8.99; Odd

Taste the Difference, Elegia,

Rioja Reserva 2002

On the traditional side, with its veneer of smoky oak and vanilla, this nicely developed, smooth-textured Rioja from La Rioja Alta’s Barón de Oña estate, displays sufficient flavoursome blackberryish fruit to give the palate a modern feel. (AR) £8.99; Sai

Cortes de Cima, Syrah 2003

The product of a Danish winemaker based in southern Portugal’s Alentejo region, the Cortes de Cima Syrah proffers an almost unique drinking experience. Punchy with fresh plums on the nose, the palate displays similarly crunchy summer fruits and a peppery edge. £9.49; Wai

Penfolds, Kalimna Bin 28

Shiraz 2003

Penfolds’ Bin numbers are like Champagne houses: everyone has a favourite. That said, most people start with the simple, accessible Bin 28. This is a thick, fruity wine with blackcurrant and dark fruit aromas and flavours, and a hint of oaky vanilla. It comes with soft tannins and a good finish. Goes well with hearty food and good company. £9.49; Tes

Delta Vineyard Pinot Noir,

Marlborough 2005

Perfumed berry fruit and mulberry opulence tinged with spicy oak are the hallmarks of this vibrant, excellent value Kiwi Pinot with berry fruit that would give many Côtes de Beaunes a

run for their money. (AR) £9.95; H&D,

Lib, MoV, You

Mitolo, Jester Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Ben Glaetzer’s portfolio ranges from super value £8-a-bottle wines to New World icons; this just about falls into the former while giving an indication of the latter. Abundant with ripe, naturally sweet fruit, it boasts buckets of dark fruit and chocolatey flavours with a touch of spice on the finish. £9.95; Lib

Badia a Coltibuono, Chianti Classico 2004

Sweet, spicy, tobacco aromas, with dried-cherry fruit, nutty oak and a dry finish that manages to be both firm and velvety. 2004 was an excellent year for Tuscan reds and good Chianti, with its hint of astringency. This is one of my favourite reds for easy drinking during a meal. (JS) £9.99; Tes

Villa Cafaggio, Chianti Classico 2004

Made, as the regulations now permit, entirely from Tuscany’s Sangiovese grape at this constantly improving estate in Chianti Classico, this is a stylish, succulent example of good everyday Chianti, full of refreshingly crisp sour cherry fruit rounded out by old oak for the smoothest of tannins. (AR) £9.99; Wai

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