Good value wines

Trying to find a wine that is drinkable without breaking the bank can sometimes be difficult. We have all at one time or other bought a cheap bottle of plonk that left us more than a little disappointed. So, how do we find a good quality wine at a reasonable price?

It is true that wine is quite expensive when compared to other alcoholic drinks. Although the average price spent on a bottle of wine in the UK is just over £4, you can see bottles in restaurants at well over £50 or for sale in shops at around £20. This could easily give you the impression that it’s necessary to spend quite a lot of money to get any real quality. Some people will even steer clear of wines under £10 to avoid poor quality vintages.

However, expensive wine is not necessarily better. This was illustrated by a blind tasting arranged by the wine magazine Decanter, leading wine experts from around the UK tasted wines to see what should be the average price of a decent bottle of wine. They came to the conclusion that £6.99 would buy you a good bottle, one that most of us would be satisfied with. They even recommended we don’t spend more than this, as the average person would not appreciate a more expensive bottle of wine!

There are few simple tips to buying a bottle that is high in quality and still good value. It helps to separate old world and new world wines.

Old world wines.
When buying old world wines, a great tip is to avoid wines from the classic regions such as Bordeaux, Burgundy and Rioja. As these regions are well established, land is expensive and the wineries tend to cash in on their name and their region’s international fame.

A famous case in Burgundy illustrated this situation. It was decided that a section of the border should be expanded to include another vineyard. The value of this land then sky-rocketed, seemingly regardless of the vineyard’s soil or climate, just because the wine could now be labelled Burgundy and sell for more.

New world wines.
New world wines are generally a lot cheaper than their old world counterparts. There are many reasons for this including methods of production, less strict production guidelines and that many vineyards are still not established in the wine world. Of course, there are expensive wines from the new world, but for the most part you will get better value from these countries.

Below is a list of the wine regions that should be avoided when wanting good value, and also those that combine nice wine at a reasonable price.

Steer clear of:

- Bordeaux (France)
- Burgundy (France)
- Champagne (France)
- Rioja (Spain)
- Priorat (Spain)
- Chainti (Italy)
- Barolo (Italy)
- Barberesco (Italy)

Try Instead:

- Languedoc (France)
- Gascony (France)
- Sicily (Italy)
- Sardinia (Italy)
- Southern Italy
- Generally New World
- South America (especially)