WINE has come to form one of the main battlegrounds on which the supermarkets wage their pricing wars.
The growth of the discount stores, such as Aldi and Lidl, has been accompanied by a wine offer calculated to waylay customers not just from Asda and Tesco but also from the likes of Waitrose and Marks and Spencer.
Scandinavian discounter Netto has relaunched five new stores around the UK in partnership with Sainsbury’s and has one at Heaton Park.
Last year, I picked out its Lamotte Champagne (£11.99) as the best offer bar none for festive sparklers.
Rather than buy up expensive Bordeaux, as Lidl has done, or offer an ‘exquisite’ collection as in Aldi’s case, Netto is aiming squarely at the minimum spend end of the market.
And the buyers are generally sourcing extremely good wines for the money.
I doubt that even the keenest wine experts will know much about the bottles and their producers but they represent excellent quality in the £5 to £6 range.
I have also included in this list a bargain Côtes du Rhône-Villages available now at Waitrose. Castilla Felix Solis NV (£3.29 Netto)
At this price level, Chancellor George Osborne is taking the lion’s share of the cost, so it’s even more remarkable that this wine is worth buying. Chardonnay is a relatively new addition to the catch-all appellation of Castilla which encompasses Spain’s hot, dry interior.
But new techniques are enabling winemakers to produce whites with acidity and relative elegance.
This is never going to be the most sophisticated example, but there are aromas of peach and pineapple and further tropical fruit flavours on the palate.
There’s enough freshness here to make for a good party wine and cheap midweek supper bottle. Fiorenza Chianti 2013 (£5.99 Netto)
This is definitely my pick of this trio of wines. It’s everything a midweek meaty pasta wine should be.
Typically, there are warm, savoury spices on the nose, such as cloves and cinnamon, while the evident aroma of sour cherries carries through into the palate.
Higher quality than I would expect from a basic Chianti let alone at this cheap price. Vina Sarasqueta Rioja Reserva 2010 (£5.99 Netto)
‘This is definitely my pick of this trio of wines. It’s everything a midweek meaty pasta wine should be’
There’s oaky vanilla and a little coconut on the nose in this bargain Rioja.
The palate offers plenty of plummy spice, red fruits and decent acidity.
Les Dauphins Cru de Côtes du Rhône-Villages Vinsobres 2013 (down to £8.99 from £13.99 until February 17)
This is a great price for one of the more prestigious Côtes Du Rhônes Villages Vinsobres.
So prestigious in fact that this village was given its own appellation and Cru status in 2006.
The quality of the 40-year-old vines shines through in this wine, which is dominated by Grenache with some Syrah.
There are floral notes on the nose with a sprinkle of black pepper while the palate mixes summer berries with darker fruit.
The balance is good and finish long.
Cyrano Chardonnay Vino De La Tierra de
Les Dauphins Cru de Côtes du RhôneVillages Vinsobres 2013