THE French have a wonderful expression, attrape-nigaud
- literally, "twit-trap", and, as I have pointed out in the past,
this is what most supermarket BOGOF wine-offers are. Oz Clarke, on
the TV programme Watchdog, pointed out the the cheapest
wines do not represent a real bargain. If you buy a £5 bottle of
wine, he said, the value of the wine itself is 20p; spend £7.50, it
is £1.66; £10, it is £3; and so on.
I think it is worth spending a little more on your wine for
Christmas. Cheap wine is still there, if you look for it. My local
ASDA is still offering certain wines at three for £10, but what was
on offer did not appeal to me. A better deal seems to be the
Casillero del Diablo Chilean range, in Bargain Booze, at £4.99,
whilst other multiples have it from £5.99 to £7.49.
Here are some suggestions for your festivities. For white-wine
lovers, I have a host of suggestions, but my number-one choice
would be an Alsace Pinot Gris Reserve 2010, from the Beblenheim
Co-operative (Waitrose, £9.99). Runners-up in this class would
include the zingy Lime Leaf Verdejo 2011 (Laithwaites £6.99) from
Spain; Villa Maria Private Bin Riesling 2012, from New Zealand
(Majestic, £9.99); and Bicicleta Viognier 2012, from Cono Sur, in
Chile (ASDA, £7.50).
For something more adventurous, Sainsbury's have a Pic Saint
Loup 2011 from the south of France at £9.99; and a New Zealand
Sauvignon Gris from Marlborough - the Brancott Estate Letter Series
Renwick 2011 (£12.99).
With red wines, the choice is broad. If you prefer a lighter
style, I would recommend my old favourite Central Otago Pinot Noir
Penguin Sands 2012 (Sainsbury's, £10.99). If Bordeaux is more to
your taste, I can recommend the Ch. Gressin 2011 from Blaye, a
blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot grapes (Marks & Spencer,
£9.35). But this appears to be a winter of full-bodied reds. From
the south of Italy, ASDA offers a multi-award-winning Primitivo di
Puglia in its Extra Special range for just £5. Again from Italy,
Lidl have a Barolo 2009 (£14.99), and an Amarone della Valpolicella
Tenuta Pule 2008 (£19.99).
For lovers of Rhône wines, the choice is wide, but I would
recommend the Gold Medal Crozes-Hermitage 2010 from the Co-
operative Cellar at Tain l'Hermitage (Marks & Spencer, £14.29),
or Aldi's Gigondas 2012 (£9.99). Two reds from Sainsbury's Taste
the Difference range which appeal to me are the Portuguese Douro
2011 (£8.49), and, from my old friend Chester Osborn at South
Australia's d'Arenberg Winery, an Old Vines Grenache 2010
Christmas is a time for sparkling wines, and most chains have
well-known brands of Champagne on offer. For one that is different
(it comes from vineyards in the Aube département rather
than the Marne), try Louvel Fontaine from ASDA, at just £12. Both
Lidl and Aldi have Valdobbiadene Prosecco on sale for £7.29. My
non-Champagne of choice, however, would be the South African Graham
Beck Brut (Waitrose £13.99).
Whatever you choose, have a great Christmas.