Cheers to your staycation! Make the most of your break – wherever you are – with our expert’s guide to the 100 best-value wines this summer
- Matthew Jukes has created a guide to the 100 best-value wines available to purchase in the UK
- Drinks expert considered perfume, palate and finish as well as accuracy, flair and skill in the glass
- Among his selection are crisp whites, sultry rosés, fresh reds as well as sparkling and sweet wines
Last year’s lockdowns scuppered my 2020 summer special, but I’m back with a bang this year with this guide to the 100 best-value wines on the shelves today. There are only two criteria I consider when I begin my trawl through thousands of bottles for this century of heroes.
Firstly, they must be totally and utterly delicious. Perfume, palate and finish as well as accuracy, flair and skill must all be present in the glass. The other touchstone has been fundamental to my writing over the past 21 years, and it is that these wines must offer stunning value for money.
Of course, there is a seasonal bent here with crisp whites, sultry rosés and fresh reds, but I have covered every flavour base and style including sparkling and sweet wines so you can rely on this list into early autumn. But act fast – because these wines will inevitably move fast. Cheers, and havefun in the sun… wherever you are!
WHITES LIGHT & DRY
Aldi I rarely go below a fiver these days because the majority of the wines are dire, but Aldi has made me reconsider with this. Don’t expect anything too complex, but it’s bonkers value.
M&S Marks and Sparks is absolutely flying with a series of super-cheapies. This simple-looking soave is one of the cleanest, brightest and most piercingly fresh £5 wines of the season.
M&S Made by the same winery as the M&S soave, Casa Girelli, this is pinpoint accurate and benefits from 40 days resting on its lees – giving it depth of flavour and length of apple and pear notes.
Waitrose I liked this last year and it is even finer in the 2020 vintage. Muscadet is a classic seafood wine, and the light citrus blossom and saline tang here makes it perfect for oysters, prawns or even whelks.
M&S This is yet another Italian white winner from M&S, and this blend makes for a curiously delicious combination. The brilliant Cantina di Monteforte is behind this.
Co-op Pea shoots, lime zest, freshly mown cricket pitches, and most other fresh green flavours are embedded in this.
Reduced to £7 until 29 June
Tesco With another year under its bonnet, this is a richer style of soave than the M&S one – grand fish dishes and chicken recipes will love this wine.
Waitrose This wine tastes just as good in the UK as on my hols in Portugal – it is bright, zesty and slightly spritzy.
Reduced to £7.99 until Tuesday
Waitrose I urge you to keep your eye on this for when it comes on offer in a few weeks – it is a lovely, pure, refreshing white.
M&S Gavi is one of the chicest white styles in Italy and this budget one is beautifully balanced. Smooth, refreshing and soothing, it really is an elegant white.
M&S There are two smart picpouls on the high street this summer – this one and Les Canots (below). No 15 hits the high notes and transports your palate to the Med in a moment.
Waitrose This other star picpoul has slightly more weight. Made by the most famous winery, Cave Ormarine, lees ageing adds body and depth.
Tesco Don’t drink this ice cold – there’s a wonderful perfume which needs to be allowed to blossom in the glass. Smart salads is my preferred culinary angle here.
Reduced to £7.50 until tomorrow
Waitrose Unlike grassy sauvignons in this special, this is a citrus-themed explosion. Dourthe is an elite name in Bordeaux and this has a huge volume of flavour and a seriously long finish.
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Tesco One might expect to find tropical fruit notes in a Marlborough sauvignon, but this is on the refined side. Winemaker Sam Bennett’s gentle handling is reflected in the relaxing finish.
Waitrose I am a huge fan of the delicate whites from Alto Adige’s climes. The sunny days and cool nights make for lip-smacking wines. With crystalline acidity and silky apple and pear notes, this is classy.
Waitrose Made by the brilliant Simon Waghorn, this wine is devastatingly pure. Watch out for deals, though this price is a bargain.
Tesco This is Virginia Willcock’s electrifying aperitif wine, with a stiletto-sharp palate and mojito-fresh citrus tang.
Aldi Fragrant, herbal and slightly tropical, this is a fascinating wine – and at a fiver it delivers a huge amount of joy at the same time as offering us the kind of taste that we don’t experience every day.
Romanian wines are all the rage now because they offer stunning value coupled with quirky flavours, and this is a classic example.
Tesco This wine shocked me with its purity and deliciousness. Drink it ice cold on a hot summer’s day for peerless refreshment.
Asda A slightly off-dry blend of riesling and sauvignon blanc, this is phenomenal paired with creamy curries and any other chilli-laced recipes.
Waitrose With hints of pineapple and pink grapefruit, this has a mildly exotic nose and a crisp, dry finish.
M&S Ribolla is a fascinating grape that’s usually lost in white blends, but when it flies solo you’re treated to a smooth, bright and clean chassis with a lovely tart finish. Featuring green apples, pear, wildflowers and a hint of greengage, this is a beautiful experience courtesy of brilliant winemaker Giacomo Vedovato.
Aldi Assyrtiko is my favourite white Greek grape and one usually has to spend a tenner to find a good example, but this Aldi version has all the classic hallmarks at a bargain price. The addition of 10% sauvignon blanc pulls out the finish and brings added citrus tang. All in all, this is a welcome break from more predictable flavours.
Aldi Made from no fewer than nine different grapes, it has a wonderful complexity that shines through on the nose and palate.
M&S This is superb for the price. Made with wild yeast, giving it extra layers of subtle flavour, it sums up modern Austria in just one sip.
Asda Albariño is Spain’s most pleasing indigenous white grape, and here it’s conjured a floral, slightly exotic and bracingly dry wine that’s a perfect aperitif.
M&S This is my favourite budget viognier on the shelves today. Although it is fairly unassuming, given that this grape can make rather rich, showy wines, I love its delicate peach and apricot notes. This is a consummate gastronomic white with genuine flair and control.
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Tesco Bone dry, lemon and lime-soaked and riveting from start to finish, this is a heavenly wine that everyone should taste. Considering that it sold for £8 back in the late 80s, it’s an absolute steal now.
M&S Smooth, perfumed, elegant and rewarding, this gem features expressive citrus fruit over a mineralimbued core. It’s a love letter to the riesling grape.
WHITES FULL FLAVOURED
Aldi I’d never have thought that an Austrian chardonnay could be so delicious, especially at this price, but this is an unmissable wine and you must hurry to track it down.
Morrisons More people are discovering this rich, oaked wine’s charms. Drink it with pasta, cheesy sauces and barbecue chicken.
Reduced to £7 until 27 June in England and Wales
Morrisons Chardonnays from WA tend to be European-shaped but with just that bit more ripeness. This is smooth, juicy, palatecoating and refreshing.
waitrosecellar.com I was interested to taste this wine because the indigenous arinto grape is rarely blended with chardonnay, but it actually works. There is even a smattering of oak barrel influence here, too, and this all comes in at nine quid. I am not sure how this is possible, but I am not complaining and you must seek out this rare wine if you are as curious as I was.
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Waitrose I have not seen Audrey Wilkinson wines in the UK before and it is such a treat to find this elite Hunter Valley winemaker represented over here. This is a beautiful wine with a frisky 13 per cent alcohol and so this is very much a crisp style, akin to an Aussie Premier Cru Chablis, and I love the balance and beauty.
M&S My top white wine this summer is a classic white Burgundy from a top domaine and it is every bit as decadent and ostentatious as you would expect. Full-bodied, ripe and benefitting from a year spent in oak barrels, this is a showy wine and one which will amaze even your most highbrow winey friends.
Aldi I am sworn to secrecy about who makes this wine and also the vineyards from whence these grapes are sourced, but I can tell you that this is a wine of the very highest order indeed and it is, without doubt, the finest-value, top-quality chardonnay on the shelves right now. There isn’t a Chablis or Mâcon which comes close to this stunning wine.
SPARKLING WINES & CHAMPAGNE
Morrisons I know this price is preposterously low when you are expecting to taste a wine with refinement and balance, but I can genuinely recommend this wine as the best-value prosecco on the shelves right now. Fine, prickly and clean with just the right amount of zestiness and frothiness, this is a bargain-priced little cracker!
Sainsbury’s Top-flight Crémant, especially from Burgundy, can be dreamy. Bouillot is a leading light and this wine is joyous and very sophisticated.
Morrisons Morrisons has found another winner. Cava has lost some lustre to prosecco, but the best cavas have more complexity and los Rios is a case in point – it’s soothing and classy.
Waitrose This is another stunning cava, from a property that dates back to the 14th century. The Spanish royal family indulged in wines from this estate and Salvador Dalí was a fan. This is my pick of the elite cavas, with harmonious flavours. I hear a deal is in the offing too…
jenkynplace.com This is the first-ever vintage Blanc de Blancs from Jenkyn Place. With white flowers on the nose and a strident, citrus palate, this is a firm wine with real character and I think it is more of a foodie proposition than a straightforward aperitif. I can imagine a top-notch fish dish with this regal creation, such is its commanding presence.
Aldi This has always been a fabulous wine and the 2018 vintage is sensational, with so much pizzazz and brightness it is remarkable. The Jura wine region benefits from a cool Alpine climate and this is precisely why it has the freshness and lift that makes it such a wonderful aperitif wine.
Waitrose Ayala is a small house owned by Bollinger, so it’s a big player with an under-the-radar label. I’ve followed them closely for more than 20 years, and this is rich and brooding with serious depth.
Aldi I’ve swung like a pendulum with this wine over the years and when it’s good it’s great. I am delighted this recent batch is fabulous. Veuve Monsigny is a great sparkling wine – and a brilliant bargain.
Tesco You’d do well to trade up with prosecco because most cheapies are little more than bubblebath. This wine is terrific. The flavour is more discreet, the bubbles are finer and the finish is demure. It goes to show that alluring sparklers are not noisy on the palate.
rathfinnyestate.com The 2017 vintage was so compressed that Rathfinny’s stock is extremely limited and so you’re only allowed to purchase two bottles!
Super-rare but absolutely extraordinary in terms of elegance, this world-class sparkling wine has a creamy texture and a citrus and green apple freshness on the finish.
Sainsbury’s Graham Beck’s winemaker is Pieter ‘Mr Bubbles’ Ferreira and this man knows how to make superlative sparkling wine. The Joshua is bafflingly inexpensive given the calibre of fruit and skill on display in this glass.
Made from chardonnay and pinot noir and named after the founder of the estate (Joshua is Beck’s middle name), this is a Champagne taste-alike with a budget price point and I cannot recommend it to you enough.
Reduced to £12 until 6 July
Waitrose I am even tougher on rosé sparklers than I am on white wines, because I insist on a great perfume as a bare minimum before considering the palate. La Gioiosa is an expert at adding just the right amount of juicy pinot noir to give this a wild strawberry nose and hints of cranberry and cherry.
Waitrose The big daddy of rosé Champagne is subject to a magnificent discount and if you feel like splashing the cash on a heroic rosé experience then this is the one. Mighty, layered and imposing, this is an ostentatious wine with bravado in every sip. Load up for any summer celebrations.
Reduced to £39 until 22 June
Waitrose Made from 50-year-old carignan and grenache vines, this has a depth of fruit rarely found in inexpensive reds. It suits all manner of cuisines.
Morrisons This budget red has a real quality feel. Strawberry and cherry notes abound.
Reduced to £7.50 until 27 June in England and Wales
virginwines.co.uk The name Brio describes this lively red perfectly. You’re sure to fall for its crowd-pleasing plum and blackberry notes.
thewinesociety.com A joyous, light red, this is ideal for summer glugging. It’s best served slightly chilled.
Aldi With an accurate, if slightly faint, pinot noir nose and a smooth, cherry-juice palate, this is a jolly red of tremendous value.
Waitrose Australia is a haven for great grenache, and this has a sensational strawberry and rhubarb nose and a silky palate.
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virginwines.co.uk Boasting silkiness and red-fruit notes, this lipsmacking marvel is lighter and more expressive than you could imagine. It also features an unusual cherry-cola nuance – and it all adds up to a wine that’s unlike any syrah you’ve ever tasted.
Asda I love the back end of the flavour here – it saves its efforts for a wave of blackcurrant and cinnamon. Great for barbecues.
Sainsbury’s This clever blend of sangiovese and cabernet strikes a perfect balance between bright fruit and wild herbs and spices.
Waitrose Sprint down to Waitrose to grab this delicious Barbera with its plum, black cherry and blackberry notes.
Reduced to £7.99 until Tuesday
Co-op This deeply fruited red looks and tastes posh and yet it doesn’t cost the earth. It’s a main-course red with complexity of flavour.
Morrisons Pinot is the fussiest of all red varieties and yet it is singing in this wine, the finest-value pinot noir of the season.
Waitrose This is modelled on a Côtesdu- Rhône with more power of fruit – its low price reflects the slightly less starry postcode.
M&S There are no fewer than seven red grape varieties in this blend and both French and American oak in its production, which bring structure and spice.
virginwines.co.uk Cinsault has quirky flavours – this one is plummy, herbal and spicy.
Tesco With its colourful cartoon label, it might be easy to dismiss this wine as a gimmicky number, but I can assure you that it is one of the most energetic and great value Portuguese reds around. Made from indigenous Portuguese varieties, including tinta roriz, touriga nacional and castelão, there is a thrilling, herbal perfume over a deep, plummy core.
Morrisons Made by the brilliant Cantine San Marzano, there is an amazing amount of flavour here and you can taste the warm Puglian sunshine in the liquorice, plum and black chocolate tones found in this superb wine. Plush and juicy, this is another barbecue star and it can tackle anything you throw at it, even spicy marinades.
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Tesco This is a full-fruited Valpol and it draws extra intensity and power from the ripasso technique, which involves passing the wine over dried grape skins where it picks up extra grunt and depth. An indulgent style designed for heroic Italian recipes.
majestic.co.uk Mornington Peninsula is one of the finest regions in the world for pinot noir and Stonier is one of its pioneering wineries. This is a snip at £19 and I urge you to discover the sensual cherry and plum notes.
Reduced to £18.99 in a Mix Six
REDS RICH & BOLD
Tesco Made from grapes grown in the foothills of the Andes, this is a lusty, supersmooth, indulgent wine with dark berry notes.
virginwines.co.uk This wine packs coffee bean and plum notes into a swashbuckling framework with mulberry and cream flavours.
Aldi The addition of 15 per cent cabernet sauvignon adds cassis tones to this cherry-scented wine.
Tesco Madiran is famous for its swarthy reds, but this has juicy fruit and an earthy kick on the finish.
Tesco I’m a big fan of Cap Royal, which is firm, elegant and detailed. Decant this to release its array of charms.
Co-op A fifth of this wine spends a year in French oak barrels, giving it an added air of sophistication.
Tesco Limarí is relatively cool for growing the shiraz grape, so there’s freshness and herbal hints with the berry fruit.
Waitrose The wild fruit here is emblematic of the local countryside.
Available end of June.
Waitrose The fruit in this grand wine is from a variety of vineyards, which adds complexity.
Aldi Adding 7 per cent cabernet sauvignon to this shiraz has given it more perfume and a longer finish.
Sainsbury’s This boasts wild cherry, plum, liquorice and cinnamon notes.
Reduced to £9.50 until 6 July
Tesco The depth and intensity of fruit here is simply sensational.
Reduced to £8 until Monday
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Tesco A very structured wine with dense fruit, it derives much of its power from the mighty tempranillo grape and seven months spent in oak barrels. It’s due on the shelves at the end of June.
Tesco Big, velvety, ripe and loaded with plum, blackberry, cracked pepper and meaty notes, this is a heroic shiraz.
Sainsbury’s My top red wine of the summer. Made from syrah and with one of the most complex flavours imaginable, this heavenly creation lasts for minutes on the palate such is the class on display.
Waitrose This fine cranberry and cherry stone-soaked wine comes in a handy smaller format.
Aldi My top inexpensive rosé of the year so far is a mix of two reds (cinsault and grenache) and a white (muscat).
Co-op The night-picked grapes should make this more refreshing – and it does indeed have a cool feel.
leaandsandeman.co.uk This top-value rosé is elegant, bone dry and stunningly perfumed.
Reduced to £7.95 each by the case
Waitrose More of a foodie rosé than a straight glugger, this goes fantastically with everything from fish and veg to chicken and all butcher’s shop delights.
Waitrose This is the finest vintage I’ve tasted of Guigal’s dramatic rosé. It’s a medium-to full- bodied wine to drink with main courses.
Reduced to £9.99 until Tuesday
Asda, Tesco Light and truly refreshing, Studio is better than ever in this 2020 vintage. It’s a consummate aperitif style.
Co-op With a herbal nose and weightier palate than many rosés, this is a match for rare steaks, including tuna.
tanners-wines.co.uk Bold and dry, it has a very different shape to most Languedoc or Provence rosés.
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Waitrose Sacha Lichine is the man behind Whispering Angel Rosé, and this is his newest and most dramatic invention.
Layered, leaner and more refreshing than the other rosés on this page, it’s like a cross between a tangy white and a sultry rosé. It also happens to look sensational, so be the first to pour this enchanting creation for your friends.
Reduced to £10.99 until Tuesday
FORTIFIED & SWEET WINES
M&S This is the finest-value supermarket manzanilla in the UK, made by the excellent Williams & Humbert winery. This is also a 75cl bottle, so you are getting a lot for your money.
Waitrose With a very different feel to the manzanilla, this is nutty, figgy, and bone dry with intense flavours. It’s hard to think of a finer-value bottle of this age.
Sainsbury’s I have selected a lighter style of tawny Port for you, not least because it is a chillable style. With nutty, raisiny notes and a super-long, dry finish, this is one of the finest and the most respected of all. Drink with after dinner choccies.
Tesco Regular readers know that this is the wine to beat given it is from the elite De Bortoli winery in Australia and it has a few years under its belt so it’s mellow and marmalade soaked.
A perennial favourite, there is nothing to touch this full-throttle wine, so grab a bottle for full flavoured puds.
Waitrose In contrast to the Tesco sweetie, this is a featherlight wine designed for fresh fruit puddings, ice cream and so on. It’s great value for a 75cl bottle!
nyetimber.com This is the UK’s finest off-dry sparkler and its name refers to its superstar winemaker Cherie Spriggs. This is glorious served with fruity puds, or as a retro-aperitif.
MATTHEW’S WINE LIST PICKS
SAVE OVER 5O% ON WINE
Here’s something to celebrate! You can save a superb £66 (RRP £131.88) on a case of 12 delicious handpicked wines. The sumptuous selection of highly rated reds and whites is yours for an incredible £65.88 – that’s just £5.49 per bottle – and includes a vibrant Dragon Hills Syrah and a vivacious Brio Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, both featured in Matthew Jukes’ wine list. There’s also a Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon worth £19.99 – plus many more! If you prefer, you can choose an all-red or all-white wine case. Stock is strictly limited to one case per customer – and once it’s gone, it’s gone, so order today to avoid disappointment.
HOW TO REDEEM
1. Register for free or sign in to your Mail account at MyMail.co.uk.
2. Enter one Unique Number from the back page of the Mail between Saturday 19 June and Friday 25 June. No Unique Number is required for Mail subscribers.
3. Click ‘Redeem Now’ by Tuesday 29 June – no need to spend any Nectar points.
4. You will be taken to an exclusive web page where you can order your wine.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
Offer closes at 23:59 on 29/6/21, £7.99 p&p payable. One case per customer. UK delivery only. 18+ only. See MyMail.co.uk for full conditions