After our wine tasting event with vino connoisseur and ex-wine buyer Helen McGinn (also known as founder of the Knackered Mother's Wine Club) we grabbed her for a quick chat to discover her top tips on buying the best bottles under £10. And it's definitely some of the best advice we've ever been given...
Stand in any supermarket aisle and you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to picking a bottle of wine. Problem is, sometimes it can feel like there’s just too much choice. So where’s the best place to start if you’re looking for a bargain under a tenner?
First, a few words of warning: beware the half price offer on a wine you’ve never seen before. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. And remember if you’re spending £5 on a bottle, more than half of that goes on tax alone. Just a pound or two more and you’re likely to get much better value for money, wine-wise.
The bona fide bargains are often found in wine regions that might not be as famous as their neighbours but with similar grapes and styles of wine. I love a cold, crisp glass of Provence as much as the next person but there’s plenty of pale pink wine from the south labelled as IGP D’Oc worth sticking in the ice bucket at a fraction of the price.
Little known grapes or places are often where the magic happens – and are usually really good value for money. Regions like the Loire Valley in France or Navarra in Spain are stuffed with great wines, without the price tags of more fashionable places. Try whites from Italy made from local grapes like Vermentino and Grillo. And the red blends from southern France are on top form at the moment thanks in part to the (mostly) good 2018 vintage.
Although not as cheap as they once were, there are plenty of smart Australian wines from top producers that sneak in under £10, especially in the supermarket own label ranges. South Africa is also a great source for good value wines at the moment, particularly from regions like Swartland.
From Navarra, made by a forward-thinking producer who chooses not to add any sulphur to their wines once made. Juicy, with lots of bramble fruits, it tastes as good as it looks.
A really unusual blend but it works brilliantly, beautifully made by one of the regions’ best producers, d’Arenberg. Crisp, dry, aromatic and full of lemon and lime fruit flavours.
A pretty pale pink rosé from the Languedoc in the south of France, this is all white peaches with a citrus twist. Makes a great (cheaper) alternative to Provence rosé.
For more wine recommendations visit Helen’s blog. Her latest book, Homemade Cocktails is available now.