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.

Drink of the week: Quinta da Pedra Alta Pedra no 3 White Port

Drink of the week: Quinta da Pedra Alta Pedra no 3 White Port

Given how hot it’s been over the last few days you might have already made yourself a few white port and tonics but if you’re not familiar with Portugal’s answer to the G & T get into it now!

Two bargain buys from The Wine Society

Two bargain buys from The Wine Society

The Wine Society held its summer tasting yesterday where the buyers pick out six bottles they’re particularly enthusiastic about. Normally it’s a social event - a chance to get together and chat over lunch - but inevitably this year it was on Zoom.

My best buys from Waitrose's June 2021 wine offer

My best buys from Waitrose's June 2021 wine offer

Waitrose has one of its periodic 25% off six bottles discounts until next Tuesday June 29th on all wines over £5 - i.e. most of their range.

Wine of the week: Monfil Garnacha 2020

Wine of the week: Monfil Garnacha 2020

I came across this exuberant garnacha when I was tasting wine at Lea & Sandeman in Notting Hill the other day and it struck me as the most incredible bargain at £8.95 (or £8.25 if you’re buying a case).

3 rose and 2 red wine bargains from Waitrose

3 rose and 2 red wine bargains from Waitrose

Waitrose isn’t perhaps the first place you’d think of looking for wine bargains but at their summer tasting this week I found three rosés which you might want to snap up before the current offer ends on Tuesday June 1st.

 Clear Head Alcohol-free IPA

Clear Head Alcohol-free IPA

Alcohol-free beer is booming and not only among teetotallers. Many of us who take a break from drinking during the week or when driving appreciate them too.

Hunter’s Offshoot Sauvignon Blanc 2020

Hunter’s Offshoot Sauvignon Blanc 2020

With its pungent gooseberry and passionfruit flavours Marlborough sauvignon blanc is such a distinctive style that most people could pick it out with their eyes closed but this wine is a bit different

 Two Greek wines you really should try

Two Greek wines you really should try

There are so many interesting wines in Marks & Spencer’s new ‘Found’ range that it’s hard to single out the best, but as it’s Greek Easter this weekend I’m going for the two Greek ones.

 Great Heart Chenin Blanc

Great Heart Chenin Blanc

I'm sure you're familiar with Fairtrade wines but it’s good to see a project which, although not certified, has similar aims and raises the bar both in terms of content and ambition.

Domaine Roc de Chateauxvieux Touraine Gamay

Domaine Roc de Chateauxvieux Touraine Gamay

If you like Beaujolais you’re going to love this 2019 Touraine gamay, from Domaine Roc de Chateauxvieux which has the same bright juicy happy-making fruit.

 A cut-price amarone and some other good wine buys from Asda

A cut-price amarone and some other good wine buys from Asda

It’s easy to overlook Asda as a source of decent drinking because so many of their wines tend to be downright dreary but there are exceptions and their prices - cheaper than Aldi and Lidl in many instances - are hard to ignore.

 8 bottles to buy from Lidl's Spring 2021 wine tour

8 bottles to buy from Lidl's Spring 2021 wine tour

It’s good to find that Lidl hasn’t given up its regular ‘wine tours’ which liven up the range every couple of months. Prices aren’t as keen as they once were, admittedly but if you’re in search of something more interesting than the general supermarket offering (or their own standard range) they’re still good value.

Wildpress: apple juice reimagined

Wildpress: apple juice reimagined

One of the crops that grows really well in this country is apples so it’s great to see a producer taking the whole experience of apple juice to a higher level.

6 of the best English wine buys from Waitrose’s 25% off deal

6 of the best English wine buys from Waitrose’s 25% off deal

I much prefer a 25% across the board discount to offers on individual wines as you can get a good reduction on the bottles you most enjoy. Waitrose does them two or three times a year and the current offer which applies off any six bottles over £5 lasts until next Tuesday, March 9th.*

 4 Fairtrade reds to try

4 Fairtrade reds to try

We’re now a week into Fairtrade Fortnight and if you haven’t yet bought a bottle of Fairtrade wine, now’s your chance.

Nero Oro Grillo Appassimento

Nero Oro Grillo Appassimento

Appassimento - letting wine ferment on semi-dried grapes - is a technique normally used to give extra sweetness and richness to red wines but it has been used in this highly unusual Sicilian white called Nero Oro (which means black gold)

What champagne to buy (and what not to buy) for Valentine's Day

What champagne to buy (and what not to buy) for Valentine's Day

Do you need to splash out on champagne for Valentine’s Day - and if so how much do you need to pay for it? You may not realise quite what pressure you’re under to spend over the odds

Two good Portuguese wine buys from Lidl

Two good Portuguese wine buys from Lidl

Lidl’s latest ‘wine tour’ focuses on Spain and Portugal this month so I tried out a few wines from the selection. These two Portuguese wines struck me as the best buys, not least because they were slightly cheaper than the others. It’s ironic that as other retailers madly scramble to reduce their prices Lidl is steadily creeping up theirs.

Bruno Murciano L’Alegria Bobal

Bruno Murciano L’Alegria Bobal

Some of the most interesting wines I come across currently are from Spain but with restaurants closed I don’t often come across them these days. So full marks to the enterprising London restaurant Arros QD for holding a Saturday night wine tasting to show off some of the wines that are normally on their list.

 Six of the best drinks to carry in a hipflask

Six of the best drinks to carry in a hipflask

Since we’re incarcerated for the forseeable future with only a daily walk as light relief it struck me we need to go back to the days when people carried a hipflask of something warm and sustaining, particularly given the current icy conditions.

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