I love going to supermarkets when on holiday. French ones are particularly fun as they are so parochial with few wines from outside the immediate region. I can spend hours browsing in Intermarché Super in Ceret. My hit rate, however, is dreadfully low. How do you tell all those wines apart? Come to think of it, why do we need 20 different New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs? Which is perhaps why the discount retailers Lidl and Aldi have been so successful, customers don’t actually want that much choice.
So to make things simpler for you, I have separated the wheat from the chaff with some of my favourite supermarket wines of the year, I’ve picked some cheapies and some more expensive. Also don’t forget that the supermarkets will have various discounts on in the run up to Christmas with up to 25% off when you buy six or more.
Exquisite Cremant de Jura (£7.99, Aldi)
I recommend this wine every year for good reason, it’s the best value fizz in Britain. Made in the Jura, the bit of France next to Switzerland, from the chardonnay grape by the champagne method. It stomps on any prosecco or cava for the price.
Tesco Premier Cru Champagne NV (£19, Tesco)
Again this offers extraordinary value for money. With mature flavours of yeast, tart tatin and a long savoury finish, it tastes like a much more expensive champagne. This is one to give to people like my father who say they don’t like champagne.
Hans Baer Pinot Noir 2016 (£7, Tesco)
Juicy delicious Pinot Noir from the Pfalz in Germany at a giveaway price, simple and refreshing with a forest floor savoury edge. Also has a bear riding a bicycle on the label which never fails to make me chuckle.
Taste the Difference Crozes Hermitage 2014 (£11, Sainsbury’s)
From top Rhone producer Chapoutier, this would make a great Christmas Day wine. Made entirely from syrah it’s soft enough not to overpower the turkey but with the guts to stand up to a good stuffing.
Exquisite Clare Valley Riesling (£6.99, Aldi)
Hurrah for Aldi and their delicious Clare Valley riesling. This part of Australia is famed for it’s distinctive dry rieslings. This one is crammed full of limes and peachy notes, there’s a really zesty intensity here and little honey too.
Warwick Cape Lady Chardonnay 2016 (£8.50, Morrisons)
Another wine that punches well above its price. There’s a certain oaty quality on the nose like you might get a good Burgundy, lemons and then some coffee notes on the finish. A good alternative to Macon.
Sweet and fortified
De Bortoli Sémillon Tesco Finest Dessert 2013 (£6 for half bottle, Tesco)
I like to drink this instead of Christmas pudding. If you’re a fan of Sauternes or Monbazillac, then this is the wine for you, there’s honey, pineapple and spicy ginger notes, very sweet but also fresh and juicy, and incredible value.
Morrisons the Best Dry Oloroso (£6 for half bottle, Morrisons)
Supermarkets tend to do fortified wine really well and this is no exception. Made by one of the best producer in Jerez, Lustau, this is some serious sherry. It’s pungent with flavours of molasses and nuts with a dry finish. It’s a great one to sip with with cheese biscuits while unwrapping presents.
Taylor’s 10 Year Old Tawny (£16, Tesco, until 11 December)
One to hurry down to Tesco to buy. This is a tawny meaning it’s a blend of different ages of barrel-aged port; it combines the bright red fruit of a young ruby port with the walnut and tobacco notes of a mature wine. The result is quite delicious.
Kopke Colheita 1999 (£32.99, Waitrose)
It’s great fun to see such an idiosyncratic wine on the supermarket shelves. A colheita is like a tawny but from a single year. This won’t be to everyone’s taste, there a certain funky earthiness about it, but there’s also some very pretty strawberry fruit, orange citrus notes and then a massively long nutty finish.