Saturday, January 17, 2009

Two under £4 reds

Just as the average spend on a bottle of wine was creeping up, the credit crunch has brought it crashing down to earth with a bump again and the sub £4 price point seems more important than ever. I've seen a lot of wines over the last few weeks discounted 'by 50%' to £3.99 but would take that with a pinch of salt. They may be good value at £3.99 but they weren't worth £7.99 in the first place.

My eye was caught the other day by a Bulgarian Cabernet Sauvignon in Tesco at just £3.32. Now that's a blast from the past. When I first start drinking wine, long before the days of New World supremacy, Bulgaria was the source of some of the best cheap and cheerful drinking. So how does it compare now? See below:

Tesco Bulgarian Cabernet Sauvignon, Reka Valley £3.32
There's no vintage on this bottle which is always a bad sign (unless it's a bottle of fizz) though not half as bad a sign as the lurid Borat-like scene on the label. And those who have got used to the intense blackcurrant flavours of Chilean Cab, for example, are going to be in for a disappointment. It's drinkable - just - but frankly is more useful as a cooking or mulling wine. There's far better value drinking in Aldi and Lidl. Give it a miss. NO RATING.

Vineyard X Garnacha 2007, Borja (£3.98 a bottle or 3 bottles for £10, Threshers, Wine Rack)
Snap up this offer before the nanny state decrees that we can no longer have our 3 for a tenner deals. (Do they intend to ban offers on crisps and chocolate, I wonder, to prevent obesity?) It's a marvellous example of a modern Spanish red - exuberant, soft and juicy - at a terrific price, even at the one bottle rate. Knock back with any robust pub-style grub or a plate of tomatoey pasta or pizza. RATING: ****

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