Best buys

Mostly wine but occasionally beer, whisky, gin and other drinks that I think represent really good value. Sometimes because they're on promotion, at other times because they're exceptional quality.

Yonder Raspberry Gose

Yonder Raspberry Gose

Anyone who doubts the value of being on Twitter - as I do myself from time to time - should factor in the bonus of having access to insider knowledge.

Two really good wines to buy from Help 4 Hospitality

Two really good wines to buy from Help 4 Hospitality

As I'm sure you know the hospitality industry - i.e. restaurants, pubs and hotels - is in dire straits with no clear idea when businesses can reopen or even if they’ll be viable if they do.

 6 wines from grapes that begin with VE to drink on VE day

6 wines from grapes that begin with VE to drink on VE day

With VE day coming up on Friday you may have already made plans for what you’re going to eat and drink which could well be home-grown, UK produced, wine, beer or cider.

Wine of the Week: Rothley Wine Warhorse Red

Wine of the Week: Rothley Wine Warhorse Red

Leicestershire isn’t the first place that comes to mind when you think about English wine but I’ve been very struck by two wines I’ve tasted from Rothley Wine.

Wine of the week: Ventisquero Root: 1 Carmenere

Wine of the week: Ventisquero Root: 1 Carmenere

Recommending a specific wine is a bit of a lottery at the moment. I had planned to tell you about this seductively velvety Chilean red a few days ago but couldn’t get get into the Morrisons site. But I’m hoping you can find the odd bottle in store although its current sharp promotional price of £6 (until April 4th) may make that a long shot.

 10 wines to buy from Lidl

10 wines to buy from Lidl

With supermarket wine aisles looking severely depleted it was good to hear this week that Lidl was going ahead with its usual bi-monthly Wine Tour in the UK, starting today. Not all the wines might be available in all branches and there may be restrictions on the number you can buy but take advantage while you can.

Chianti in magnum from Lidl

Chianti in magnum from Lidl

The more, er ... mature ... among you may remember when you went to an Italian restaurant and found a round straw-covered bottle of Chianti on the table, often with a guttering candle stuck in the neck and wax (always red) dripping down the side. It’s rather weirdly called a fiasco - which is Italian for flask as well as referring to a disaster. Like Brexit. Or Boris.

 The Society’s Saint-Aubin 2017: a poor man’s Puligny-Montrachet

The Society’s Saint-Aubin 2017: a poor man’s Puligny-Montrachet

This wine is a winner on three counts - it’s from a lesser-known - and very good value - Burgundy appellation, Saint-Aubin, which is just next door to the better known and more expensive Puligny-Montrachet, it comes from the excellent 2017 vintage and it's an own label bottling from the admirable Wine Society,

Wine of the week: Artesano de Argento Organic Malbec Cabernet Franc 2018

Wine of the week: Artesano de Argento Organic Malbec Cabernet Franc 2018

In the past Fairtade Fortnight has been nothing to get excited about in wine terms, so much so that I’ve tended to give up writing about it but - hallelujah - here is an absolutely cracking Argentinian red I’d be happy to snap up, Fairtrade or not.

 Il Passo Segreto Appassimento Sangiovese

Il Passo Segreto Appassimento Sangiovese

Confession time. Off-dry reds like this 2017 Il Passo Segreto Appassimento Sangiovese are not really my thing but it’s hard to think of a more romantic looking bottle and if you’ve got a sweeter tooth than I have (not hard) you’ll love it.

 Jukes Cordiality 6

Jukes Cordiality 6

Of all the alcohol-free products I’ve tasted recently - and I’ve tried a lot - this is the most ingenious. It’s not a full-size bottle for a start but a smart looking box of phials - 9 of them - each containing 30 ml of a concentrated cordial you dilute 10 to 1 (or to taste) with still or sparkling water or tonic.

 10 Wines under £10 to buy from Waitrose

10 Wines under £10 to buy from Waitrose

25% across the board offers are always a good opportunity to get a substantial discount on your favourite wines so take advantage of the current offer at Waitrose which runs until Tuesday 12th inclusive

 Wine of the Week: Gloria Douro Reserva

Wine of the Week: Gloria Douro Reserva

One of the best sources of good value reds right now is Portugal and if you like full-bodied styles the Douro is the region to look out for. This 2017 Glorio Douro is almost porty which should come as no surprise as it’s made from three of the grapes - tinta roriz, touriga nacional and touriga franca - that are used to make port.

Wine of the week: a cut-price Sauternes

Wine of the week: a cut-price Sauternes

If you’re unsure what to buy it’s always tempting to go for a big name but when you find you’ve got an equally good option at half the price it’s mad not to go for that.

Wine of the week: Candelilla Albarino  2018

Wine of the week: Candelilla Albarino 2018

If you’re an albarino fan you’ll have watched with dismay as the price has crept up over the last few years so much so that an albarino under £10 has become something of a rarity.

Gin(s) of the month: Barentsz and Theodore gin

Gin(s) of the month: Barentsz and Theodore gin

It takes quite a lot for me to find room in my drinks cupboard for new gins these days but both these have earned their place. I like them because although they’re distinctive they’re not pointlessly so - or overloaded with ingredients that detract from their basic DNA

Atopia Spiced Citrus ultra-low alcohol spirit

Atopia Spiced Citrus ultra-low alcohol spirit

The fact that this is the second week in succession I’ve posted an alcohol-free spirit says a lot about the fact that this is the most innovative and dynamic sector of the drinks industry at the moment.

 Fortnum & Mason Sparkling Tea

Fortnum & Mason Sparkling Tea

As I’ve said many times I’ve yet to find an alcohol-free wine that is as good as its boozy counterpart but Fortnum & Mason's sparkling tea is a really good alternative to champagne.

Morrisons The Best English Sparkling Brut

Morrisons The Best English Sparkling Brut

This week’s wine of the week is a bit of a mystery. It’s an exceptionally good English sparkling wine which Morrisons has bottled under its own label for the very reasonable sum of £20. (There’s also a brilliant 2010 vintage for £25)

Graham’s Blend No 5 White Port

Graham’s Blend No 5 White Port

I must confess I’ve picked my drink of the week this week as much for its looks as its taste - though I like that too. It’s the first serious attempt I’ve seen to make port as appealing to the younger consumer as gin

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