High fives all round

Thought the days of pick­ing up a de­cent bot­tle for un­der a iver were gone? Well, think again...

The Mail on Sunday - Event - - DRINK - OLLY SMITH

It’s not just Bri­tain’s waists that have ex­panded dur­ing the sum­mer ex­cess with all those hol­i­day treats. You may al­ready have noticed the stretch marks ap­pear­ing around your wine bud­get as well. That’s be­cause the av­er­age spend on a bot­tle of wine in the UK has bro­ken past £5.50 and, ac­cord­ing to the Wine and Spirit Trade As­so­ci­a­tion, is set to rise fur­ther. Hap­pily, with canny buy­ing you can still find bot­tles that out­shine their peers for a fiver.

When you think of good value, you may set your sights on Aldi or Lidl. But across the high street and on­line the op­tions are wide­spread and buy­ing from off the beaten track is a good place to start. Ever tasted a wine from Moldova? Head to Mor­risons for its own-la­bel Pinot Gri­gio 2016 (12.5%) for £4.25. It may not be the world’s most com­plex wine but it’s zippy, fresh and fun to pair with ev­ery­thing from sal­ads to stir-fries.

Lit­tle-known grapes are a good bet too, such as Asda’s Wine Atlas Co­coc­ci­ola 2016 (12.5%), which for £4.98 is a great easy-drink­ing party white with an eye-catch­ing la­bel. As for more tra­di­tional coun­tries such as France, it’s in­creas­ingly tough to find qual­ity for a fiver; take Waitrose Cu­vée Chas­seur 2016 (12%), which is now £5.49.

But it’s fur­ther south on the shores of Italy, Spain and Por­tu­gal where you can find qual­ity and value to make your wal­let take wing. Ma­jes­tic has some tempt­ing of­fers if you buy a mix of six bot­tles or more such as Ter­ras de Pegões 2015 (12.5%) from Por­tu­gal, which drops from £6.99 to £4.99. Or La Ser­rana Tem­pranillo 2016 (12.5%) from Spain, which drops from £5.99 to £4.99 when bought at the mix six price.

And if you’re happy to bring your bud­get up to £5.50, The Wine So­ci­ety has two Span­ish stun­ners. Both Sabina Tem­pranillo Tinto 2016 from Navarra (13.5%) and The So­ci­ety’s Span­ish Red 2016 (14%) are im­pres­sive buys.

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