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.
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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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)
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
'Dry red wine' doesn’t sound the most compelling description for a wine, especially one that costs £14.99, but when it comes from Chris and Suzaan Alheit, two of the most highly regarded winemakers in the Cape you sit up and take notice.
I’m not a big fan of celebrity-endorsed wines and am indeed underwhelmed by the two basic wines in the new Botham range which are on sale in both Morrisons and Waitrose but this slightly more expensive Coonawarra Cabernet, which is on offer at £7.99 in Waitrose at the moment, is a really good buy.
I’m not normally a massive fan of elderflower bubbly which I generally find too sweet but I tasted one the other day from Sharpham vineyard that was in a different league.
Sainsbury’s has got one of its periodic 25% off 6 bottles deals over the Easter weekend of which you may want to take advantage.
I don’t know about you but I’m instinctively suspicious about emails about amazing wine deals even if I know and trust the merchant they’re coming from. So I probably wouldn’t have dropped by my local wine shop Davis Bell McCraith had I not needed to pop in for something else.