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Best Sainsbury’s wines to try

What bottles should you be putting in your shopping basket at Sainsbury's? Julie Sheppard selects 30 top wines from the UK supermarket's current range that are perfect for autumn and winter.

A recent tasting of wines from Sainsbury’s autumn/winter 2023 line-up included plenty of bottles that are perfect to enjoy on chilly evenings. They range from full-bodied whites and festive fizz, to food-friendly reds for winter feasts and Christmas lunch – plus Port and Sherry.

As usual, the supermarket’s own-label Taste the Difference range does a great job of covering many classic regions and styles at affordable prices, from Amarone to Argentinian Malbec. Meanwhile the Sainsbury’s Discovery Collection offers hidden gems and interesting bottles for wine lovers to explore. This more adventurous, limited-edition selection includes a versatile Italian white Verdeca from Puglia (£8.50) and a great value Minervois made by top Languedoc winemaker Jean-Claude Mas at £11 (see below for tasting notes).

‘This Minervois is Christmas in a glass!’ says head of wine buying Georgie Haughton, who chose it as one of her star buys in the new seasonal range. ‘It’s full-bodied, rich and warming, and offers a great alternative to Malbec for those customers who want to branch out.’

Stars buys

Other star picks from the Sainsbury’s buying team include Taste the Difference 10-Year-Old Tawny Port, chosen by product developer Louise Lynch. ‘This style of Port is fully matured in seasoned oak casks and over many years of ageing, the wine gradually takes on its characteristic amber “tawny” colour, slowly developing the complex mellow flavours and the smooth luscious palate, which are the hallmarks of tawny Port. It is delicious with blue cheeses, fruit cake and creamy desserts like crème brûlée,’ she adds.

For me, the French and Italian ranges are particularly strong this year. Taste the Difference Beaujolais Supérieur 2022 hugely over-delivers for its £11 price tag. Pricier, but still good value are Taste the Difference Amarone 2020 (£20) and newcomer Piccini Badia al Colle Brunello di Montalcino 2018 (£26) – both hearty winter reds.

Sainsbury’s is also taking on budget supermarkets Aldi and Lidl with its value wines. Look out for Taste the Difference Zurriago Malbec 2022, made for Sainsbury’s by Argento – a steal at £7. Another wallet-friendly Argentinian red is Trapiche’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2022 (£8.50).

Sparkling and lower alcohol

To kick off your festive celebrations, Sainsbury’s sparkling selection roams from organic Prosecco and Champagne to New World fizzes from England and South Africa. If you want a wallet-friendly alternative to Champagne, seek out regional French crémants – the two bottles recommended below, from Bordeaux and Burgundy, are really enjoyable good value options.

For anyone watching their alcohol intake, I’ve also picked two wines that have a naturally lower abv – without sacrificing flavour. White wine drinkers can choose Elia Côtes de Gascogne 2022 from Gascony in France (£8.50) at 9% abv. While fans of reds should buy Italian Taste the Difference Marzemino Trentino 2021 (£9.75),  a lighter red at 12%.

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Best Sainsbury’s wines

Tasting notes come from the Sainsbury’s autumn/winter 2023 tasting. Wines from older tastings have also been included if the wine is still available in store or online. All bottle prices are correct at time of publication. 

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