By George, wine duty is on the rise again. Delivering his latest Budget, the Chancellor froze duty on beer and spirits. But not wine, which will rise in line with inflation. We already pay £2.05 in tax on every bottle of wine we buy, and that’s before VAT. It’s enough to make you want to…well, you know. So this week, given that it’ll be a thing of the past before we know it, my recommendations include a red wine for less than £5. There’s also a sparkling wine from New Zealand for less than £10 if you buy two. Now that’s what I call an investment buy.
Current sparkling in the fridge: Te Hua Sparkling
Price: £10.99 - Buy From Majestic
With Easter Weekend coming up, I plan to drink my fair share of Prosecco. Friends of ours hold an annual Easter Egg hunt in their garden on Sunday morning, with bacon sandwiches and Prosecco for the grown ups whilst the kids eat as many chocolate eggs in the shortest time possible. Now, I love a glass of Prosecco. Just not when they’re too sweet. It should still be refreshing, IMHO. So I loved the idea of this one, a sparkling from New Zealand made from traditional champagne grapes – Chardonnay & Pinot Noir – but with a twist of the floral-scented Muscat grape. And because it is bottled under less pressure that normal sparkling wines, the bubbles are softer too. Basically, more grown up than Prosecco but not as serious as Champagne. Just don’t have it with chocolate eggs. Try cheese straws instead. And being Majestic, it’s cheaper if you buy 2 or more bottles (£8.99/bottle).
Current red in the rack: Toro Loco Bobal Merlot
Price: £4.69 - Buy From Aldi
If you like Rioja, specifically the smoky oaky black fruits of the good ones, this is a great value alternative. Made from the dark cherry-bomb grape that is Bobal, one of the most widely planted grapes in Spain. For years, it wasn’t taken seriously, destined for cheap and not-always-that-cheerful wines. But turns out, given the right care and attention, it can make great wines with lots of fruit and velvet-soft tannins. This one’s got a fair dollop of Merlot in there too, along with some gently sweet oaky flavours. Perks up even the laziest tomato pasta supper.