Three brilliant wine bargains for autumn

As the leaves turn orange and the nights draw in (for those living in the northern hemisphere at least), we’ve rounded up three brilliant wine bargains from The Autumn Tasting to keep you warm as winter approaches.

Having sampled around 300 wines across a range of styles and price bands for The Autumn Tasting, I have picked out just three wines – a white, a red and a sparkling – that I rate as brilliant wine bargains on the market at the moment, and each one has a UK retail presence.

With the Autumn Tasting by the drinks business instigated to recognise outstanding winemaking from all parts of the globe, it was satisfying to discover that some of the top performers were from unusual grapes and little-known corners of the wine-producing world.

And, when it came to those offering bags of personality for a low price, it tended to be less mainstream areas too.

Indeed, my three picks take in a sparkling from the Loire, a white from Moldova, and a red from Jumilla.

See below for this triumvirate of brilliant wine bargains, which would be make an ideal solution for any night in or event on a budget.

And I particularly recommend the red for the enforced outdoor socialising taking place in the UK right now due to Covid-19 restrictions – and that’s because it’s a wine with the weight and warmth to help you keep out the chill from within.

1. Sparkling: Bouvet Zéro Saumur Extra Brut Vintage

What an exciting find for £11. This fizz has all the hallmarks of great Champagne-style sparking wine, and by that I mean aromas of fresh toast, and a fine stream of persistent bubbles, but, due the use of the Chenin Blanc grape from the Loire Valley, it is fruitier than the aforementioned benchmark source of great sparkling wine. With that in mind, expect flavours of peach and pineapple, while there’s also a complementary note of vanilla from some wood influence, but, despite the ripe fruit, and sweet oak, this is a very dry, refreshing fizz – it has been made in the Brut Nature style, which means that no sugar has been added to the finished wine.

  • Producer: Bouvet Ladubay
  • Source: France, Loire Valley
  • Grape(s): Chenin Blanc: 80, Chardonnay: 20
  • Vintage: 2016
  • Abv: 12.5%
  • Dosage: Zero (Brut Nature)
  • Approximate UK retail price: £11 (Lay & Wheeler)
  • Medal: Gold – The Autumn Masters 2020

2. White: Chateau Vartely Feteasca Regala IGP, 2019

Normally one has to consider wines over £10 to find something with plenty of flavour, texture and a distinctive personality but this Moldovan white has all those traits for just under £7. Made by one of the country’s top producers, Chateau Vartely, using the Feteasca Regala grape – meaning ‘Royal Maiden / Princess’ – it has plenty of peach, grape and apricot fruit character, a gently oily weight, and a touch of raisin-like notes on the finish, not unlike a dry Muscat. An unusual and appealing find at well under £10.

  • Producer: Chateau Vartely
  • Source: Moldova, Cordu
  • Grape(s): Feteasca Regala
  • Vintage: 2019
  • Abv: 13.5%
  • Residual sugar: 3.1g/l
  • Approximate UK retail price: £6.95 (The Wine Society)
  • Medal: Silver – The Autumn Masters 2020

3. Red: Familia Pacheco Monastrell, Organic 2019

With a number of Gold medals awarded to red wines under £10 from Jumilla, if you are looking for a powerfully-flavoured, balanced and brilliant value red, then head to this part of Spain. Among those bargains was this particularly attractive fruity sample from Bodegas Viña Elena, using old bush vine Monastrell from non-irrigated organic vineyards in the far south of the region. Expect lots of bright, youthful fruits, from blackcurrant to red cherries and fresh plums, even a touch of pepper and voilets too, and some fine, mouth-coating tannins to dry the palate after all the ripe fruit.

  • Producer: Bodegas Viña Elena
  • Source: Spain, Jumilla DOP
  • Grape(s): Monastrell
  • Vintage: 2019
  • Abv: 14.5%
  • Residual sugar: 3.1g/l
  • Approximate UK retail price: £9.99 (David Bell McCraith Wines)
  • Medal: Gold – The Autumn Masters 2020

About The Autumn Tasting

The Autumn Tasting was conducted at 28-50 Wine Workshop & Kitchen, Covent Garden, London during the week beginning 5 October. The judges for the wine tasting were Patrick Schmitt MW, Patrick Stefanowicz MW and David Round MW.

Click here to find out more about The Autumn Tasting 

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