IF YOU know your labels, and don’t want the pop to stop after the New Year hangover has lifted, the January sales are ripe with rich pickings for wine lovers.
From cut-price cava, everyday drinkers to premier cru, supermarkets and wine merchants are offering fantastic savings.
Here are some favourite bottles that pass the tipple test.
UNDER A FIVER
Rosé lovers can’t go wrong with this bright, strawberry pink Chilano Merlot Rose 2010 (£4.49 from £5.99, until Jan 19, The Co-op) from Chile. Fresh and dry in style, it’s a well balanced glass of cherry fruit that’s ideal with rotisserie chicken and salads.
For a dark Italian charmer, try Torre del Falco Nero di Troia 2007, Puglia (£4.99 from £7.99, until Jan 25, Waitrose). Bursting with black fruits and violet in colour, it’s a real food wine. Smooth and velvety with a hint of spice, enjoy it with a Sunday roast and blue cheeses.
South Africa produces all our international favourites, and this smooth merlot is a good, everyday drinker. Try First Cape Limited Release Merlot 2010, Western Cape, South Africa (£4.99 from £7.49, until Jan 25, Waitrose). Fruity with dense fruit and a kick of spice, it’s a terrific match with a warming beef casserole.
For the ‘anything but sauvignon crowd’ try Calloway Crossing Chardonnay 2009 (£4.49 from £8.99, until Feb 1, Tesco) from South East Australia. Crisp and fresh with ripe tropical fruit and not over-oaky, it’s a rewarding glass with any type of seafood.
Chile tries to grow every grape, and this powerful shiraz is surprisingly good. Try Vina Maipo Gran Reserva Shiraz 2010 (£4.99 from £9.99, until Jan 19, Sainsbury’s). Ruby red and intense with blackberry fruit, peppery with soft tannins, it’s an ideal match with red meat.
UNDER A TENNER
Popping the cork on a bottle of sparkle is certain to blow away those winter blues. Try Spanish favourite Codorniu Extra NV (£6.49 from £12.99, until Jan 19, The Co-op). With fresh, lemony fruit and a creamy mousse, these feisty bubbles have lots of appeal.
As well as home to new world sauvignon blanc, New Zealand produces some lovely fizzes. Try Bluff Hill Blanc de Blancs 2007, Montana (£7.99 from £10.49, until Jan 30, Marks & Spencer). It’s very fruity and quaffable with citrus notes and good acidity.
Still on the Marlborough trail, if you’re looking for something to perk up your palate, try Villa Maria Private Bin Gewurztraminer 2009 (£7.99 from £9.99 when any two New Zealand still wines bought, until Feb 1, Majestic). Crisp, aromatic and dry with a delicate fragrant nose, it’s my number one choice with Thai food, or an Indian takeaway.
From one of Australia’s giants, try Wolf Blass Presidents Selection Chardonnay 2009 (£8.99 from £11.99, Waitrose). A notch up from its Gold label, it’s a consistently good drinker. Super-ripe and fleshy with tropical fruit leaping from the glass and a creamy finish, it’s a great food wine and wonderful with salmon.