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The £15 Challenge
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The £15 Challenge

I was going to call this blog ‘Forget about the price tag’, but it occurred to me that it may be construed as some sort of crazed wine giveaway. Sadly, that’s above my pay grade and if I instigated that my Financial Director would have more to say to me than ‘have you finished the excel project?’. But yes, this blog is all about wine prices, specifically wine that is pocket-friendly; let’s go on a world tour for just £15.

Wine certainly carries some preconceived ideas about prices. The uber-cheap wine often reminds me of overhearing someone at university who said that own brand supermarket red ‘felt like drinking battery acid’ and that they were ‘worried that their teeth were going to dissolve’; I think that was the very moment I decided I loved wine. You might think that sounds very snobby - between you and me I’m sure we have been to nose at a certain supermarket's award-winning wine range with a couple of bottles somehow ending up in the basket - but we have £15 to spend so let's make the most of it.

You can find some amazing mid-priced wine for £15 which exude quality without breaking the bank. I am certainly not included in the ‘hey big spender club’, don’t even get me started on car parking charges. Yes, I’m one of those people who goes to London and exclaims ‘how much?!’ when I pick up a bottle of water. And I admit I do the same with wine, ‘how much?!’. There are, of course, those times when we perhaps want to spend a little more or treat ourselves on payday, but most of the time we just want something that is easy to drink without hitting the bank account too hard.

So, what should you buy for £15 (or less)? Here are my top picks for you:

A classic Claret

If you like Bordeaux reds, then you must try Sarmentine, Bordeaux, F Thienpont (organic). It’s honestly hard to believe that a wine this good is such great value at just £14.40. Bursting with red fruits, this Merlot-dominant wine is wonderfully vibrant and fruity. It also makes for a cracking wine to pair with a roast dinner.

A top-quality Sauvignon

Sauvignon Blanc is a very popular grape. Wonderfully aromatic, crisp and refreshing, it’s easy to see why Sauvignon Blanc is a very popular grape. Without going all geeky, there are two broad styles: a classic Old World style filled with green gooseberry, citrus and green notes and then a New World style (think New Zealand Marlborough) which has a touch of tropical fruit to it.

Sancerre in Loire dominates the Old World appeal, although it carries a higher price point than our £15. But move slightly west and you’ll find Touraine Sauvignon Blanc, Les Silex, Domaine Beauséjour. Beautifully elegant with classic gooseberry notes and crisp acidity, at £13.20 per bottle this has become a well-loved wine amongst Tanners staff and will become your new French favourite.

Or try a White Bordeaux. Château Argadens Blanc, Bordeaux) is a Sauvignon/Sémillon blend which exudes citrus peel, grapefruit and tangy lemon. At £14.40 per bottle, this is a top-quality white from one of our longest wine-producing partners in Bordeaux.

If you prefer a New World style Sauvignon, then pick up a bottle of Tanners New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough. Yes, it’s a Tanners line but I haven’t picked it because of that. At £14.40, it truly encapsulates the Marlborough style. It’s beautifully aromatic with flavours of passionfruit and freshly cut grass.

A delicious Rhône red

At £14.40 per bottle, Séguret, Côtes du Rhône-Villages, Domaine de l'Amandine is unbelievably great value. A Rhône red is a great staple for the wine rack. A perfect companion to roast dinners or midweek sausage and mash, this wine is full of delicious black and red hedgerow fruit, ripe black cherry and a hint of peppery spice, this red has fast become a go-to, affordable Rhône red.

Superb Spanish White

Gancedo Godello, Vino de Altura, Bierzo is perfect for those who don’t like Chardonnay but still want a soft, refreshing white wine without blaring acidity. It’s full of soft orchard fruit (think apples and pears but not in the Cockney sense) and a touch of minerality. This organic white has a lovely full body and is easily enjoyable on its own or is wonderfully versatile to pair with many dishes. A real crowd-pleasing wine or mid-week treat at just £15.00 per bottle.

Move over Gewurztraminer and Sauvignon

An aromatic white, Gouguenheim Torrontés, Valle Escondido, Mendoza is a brilliant alternative to Gewurztraminer. It’s lighter in body which makes for easy-drinking and full of zesty, fresh white wine without any overt lychee or rose that’s found in Gewurztraminer, or any greenness of aromatic Sauvignon Blanc. Full of lemon and ripe white peach notes, the delicate floral hints make this wine a great match for Thai food or Korma curries; priced at £12.50 per bottle, who can resist this bargain?

A luscious Italian red

At £11.90 per bottle, Carlomagno Primitivo Appassimento, Puglia is not only a steal, but top quality too. Incorporating the appassimento method, a wine-making process which uses partially dried grapes which are full of concentrated flavour and sugar which packs the wine full of depth and character.  If you like pineapple on your pizza, then pair it with this delicious red or perk up your mid-week spag bol with this Puglian hit.

What about Rosé?

Despite what some people may think, Rosé is an all-year-round wine and can make a surprising food match. Try it with pan-fried salmon served with a roast root vegetable traybake. If you like a dry, crisp style then you must try Piquepoul Rosé, Coteaux d'Ensérune, Foncalieu , it’s a charming crowd-pleaser. With subtle red fruit, bright citrus and lively acidity this wine is beautifully vibrant and fresh; at £12.30 you’ll fall in love with this Rosé.

Did someone say Pinot Noir?

Another wine rack staple, Pinot Noir is loved for its soft, juicy, approachable style. We only have £15 to spend so let’s not get carried away with the top Burgundy. Why not try something completely new to Tanners? Castel Mimi Animaliens Pinot Noir/Saperavi/Rarã Neagrã hails from Moldova. When was the last time you had a Moldovan wine? This bottle makes for a fantastic talking point with friends, or a simple sipping wine after work. Full of juicy black fruits, this soft red is top quality for £12.50 per bottle.

Don’t forget Malbec

For lovers of deep reds, pick up a bottle of Ojos del Sur Malbec, Patagonia. Deliciously fruity, this red is filled with ripe plum, crushed raspberries and hedgerow blackberries. This has soft tannins and is more approachable than some of the bigger Malbecs on the (virtual) shelf, but still a top-quality wine for £13.50 per bottle.

There are some great wines available that exude quality and flavour without costing a small fortune and I hope this has given you some inspiration for your next £15 (or below) purchase. And if we can agree on anything, please keep exclaiming ‘how much?!’ when out and about shopping.



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