Wine on a budget: our expert’s best picks for 2018

Journalist Jane Clare shares with us her best budget buys for the New Year.

As one year disappears and another begins, our purses and wallets will be suffering from the festive expense. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy great wines in penny pinching January. There’s bargains to be had and you don’t have to compromise on flavour either if you know what to look out for.

Here’s some ideas:

Vignobles Roussellet Pinot Noir is a snip at £4.49 in Aldi. I was looking for a cheap red for a wine-tasting, chose this, and the following day two of my girlie guests rushed out to stock up! It isn’t a classic Pinot Noir, but is full of jammy fruit, is easy drinking and goes down a treat.

Lidl’s Cimarosa range is nice and simple. The white Cimarosa Chilean Pedro Jimenez (£3.99) is fresh and citrusy and if you have the urge for fizz, Lidl’s tasty Allini Prosecco Frizzante is only a £5.25 hole in your weekly budget. Spar has a new extensive varietal range, identifiable by letters on the bottle labels. For example PG is Pinot Grigio and SB … can you guess … is Sauvignon Blanc. They’re £6 and I particularly like T (Tempranillo) and M (Merlot). Spar also has new basic wines such as Crisp White and Smooth Red for a fiver.

Asda’s Wine Atlas range was created to give people the chance to discover wines from lesser known regions. Better still, they don’t break the bank. Wine Atlas Negroamaro (£5.68) is a stunning berry-packed rich, juicy red from Italy. The white Wine Atlas Fetasca Regala (£5.08) is floral, tropical and aromatic and good with a Chinese takeaway.

Over at Marks & Spencer, their simple Italian white Vino Tavola Bianco (£5) has a pretty nose of lime, apple and peach. Dolphin Bay Rosé (£6) will remind you of summer with its strawberry and redcurrant aromas.

Finally, if you’re on ‘Dry January’, I’m sorry I’ve dangled the carrot of wine! You can create a treat without alcohol or expense by turning a glass of water into a mocktail. Squeeze the juices of a quarter of a lemon and a quarter of an orange into a glass, mix in a teaspoon of honey, add ice, then top with Highland Spring sparkling water. Garnish with twists of orange and lemon peel.

I hope 2018 brings you everything you wish for. Chin, chin!

Jane x

Journalist Jane Clare writes about wine and offers fun and informative wine tastings. She is published in over 30 regional newspapers and lifestyle magazines in the UK. Check out her website: www.onefootinthegrapes.co.uk