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.

CEDER’S alcohol-free ‘gin’

CEDER’S alcohol-free ‘gin’

I’ve been a bit sceptical about the alcohol-free gin category - or alt-gin, as I gather we must now call it - but this couple of products from a South African and Swedish husband and wife team trading as CEDER’S (which apparently has to be written in capital letters) are really quite impressive

Mas Querido white field blend

Mas Querido white field blend

In these early days of September it’s good to drink a wine that reminds you it is still summer and I found it at the Majestic tasting this week in a Spanish white from La Mancha called Mas Querido.

15 wine bargains from Waitrose’s current 25% off deal

15 wine bargains from Waitrose’s current 25% off deal

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

Cramele Recas Orange Wine

Cramele Recas Orange Wine

If you thought orange wine was the exclusive province of hipster natural wine bars, think again - one has just gone on sale in Aldi. And while most cost nearer £20 than £10 this one is on sale at a very affordable £5.99.

3 good white wine buys from Lidl

3 good white wine buys from Lidl

Yesterday saw Lidl release the latest tranche of the limited edition wines it adds to its range every couple of months.

Wine of the week: Booths Manzanilla sherry

Wine of the week: Booths Manzanilla sherry

Chilled Manzanilla sherry is one of my favourite drinks at this time of year so I was impressed to come across this great value, full-size bottle at the Booths Christmas in July* tasting last week.

10 good wine buys from the current Sainsbury’s offer

10 good wine buys from the current Sainsbury’s offer

In anticipation of a England World Cup win that sadly didn’t happen Sainsbury’s is running a 25% off six bottles deal this weekend (with some exclusions* including sherry which I normally hoover up when they have one of these promotions). But there are plenty of other good deals

Ramona Grapefruit wine spritz

Ramona Grapefruit wine spritz

With no end to this sizzling hot summer in sight you may even be tiring of rosé so here’s something cool and different to drink that I came across the other day.

Drink of the week: Crodino

Drink of the week: Crodino

More and more people I talk to seem to be cutting down on booze - or cutting it out entirely. That may be for obvious reasons like becoming pregnant or being on medication with which alcohol is incompatible but it’s definitely a trend - just as eating less meat is increasingly common.

Gin of the month: Hepple gin

Gin of the month: Hepple gin

So many botanicals are bandied around these days that it’s easy to forget that the essential heart of a gin is the juniper. And few distillers handle it better than the Moorland Spirit Company, makers of Hepple gin.

Wine of the week: Louis Pommery England Brut

Wine of the week: Louis Pommery England Brut

The standard of English sparkling wine is already high but I can’t remember being as impressed by a homegrown sparkling wine for a while as I am by this bottle. Of course you could argue that it’s not really English at all as it’s made by the team at Vranken Pommery in collaboration with Hattingley Valley in Hampshire.

4 good red wine buys from Lidl

4 good red wine buys from Lidl

Lidl’s limited edition releases which come out every couple of months are always worth looking out for - and considerably more interesting than their basic range. Here are four that caught my eye at their recent tasting and which have just gone on sale.

7 good wine buys from Waitrose

7 good wine buys from Waitrose

I was going to recommend an English sparkling wine this weekend (what else with THE wedding of the year?) but came across some other good deals at the Waitrose tasting this week I thought you might want to pick up as well

Wine of the week: Zarper malbec

Wine of the week: Zarper malbec

I was going to recommend a rosé this week having got the misguided impression from the heatwave last weekend that summer was on its way. But today in my home town of Bristol it’s cold, windy and about to rain so I think malbec is more the order of the day.

Wine of the Week: Mas de La Dona Cotes du Roussillon Villages 2017

Wine of the Week: Mas de La Dona Cotes du Roussillon Villages 2017

The spring tasting season has started in earnest and bargains are coming thick and fast but I’ve picked out this appealing Roussillon red from Majestic as it’s on special offer at £7.99 until May 7th if you buy six bottles (after that it will be £9.99 and £11.99 if you buy a single bottle).

Wine of the week: Planeta Mamertino 2015

Wine of the week: Planeta Mamertino 2015

One of the most captivating wine books I’ve read is Nina Caplan’s The Wandering Vine which explores the footprint the Romans left on the wine growing areas of Europe. Part wine guide, part travelogue, part personal journey and exploration of her Jewish roots, Caplan traces the interest in wine she derived from her late father.

Leopard’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2017

Leopard’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2017

Tomorrow the annual Fairtrade Fortnight starts in the UK. I wish I could get more enthusiastic about Fairtrade wine but so many of them are underwhelming. Happily this wine which is made in South Africa is an exception: not mindblowing - you wouldn’t expect that for £5 - but a more than decent bottle for the price.

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

Six wines to snap up from Lidl

Six wines to snap up from Lidl

Lidl has a new selection of wines in store - one of its regular limited edition releases which generally last for a couple of months although popular wines can sell out more quickly.

 Little Pomona Old Man & The Bee: an exciting new cider

Little Pomona Old Man & The Bee: an exciting new cider

With the rise and rise of craft beer quality cider has been somewhat eclipsed of late but this beautifully made - and packaged - cider deserves a place on everyone’s dinner table.

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