JANUARY is a prime time for wine lovers to bag a bargain with so many stores and wine merchants offering discounts and savings.
Everyday wines from Asda’s new mid-tier range, The Wine Selection, offer a refreshing drop of sunshine. Margaret River Semillon Sauvignon, Australia (£4.48 from £5.98, from January 3 until February 20, Asda) blends lemony fruit from the semillon grape with zesty sauvignon blanc.
Grapes grown on old vines signal concentrated wines with a rich mouthfeel and dense fruit. Try Finest Old Vines Tempranillo 2010, Spain (£5 from £7.99, from January 2 until February 19, Tesco), which showcases hints of ripe blackberry fruits, plummy aromatics, spice and oak.
South Africa has made chenin blanc its calling card, and Zebra View Chenin Blanc 2012, Perdeberg Winery, South Africa (£5.61 from £7.49, Marks & Spencer) is overflowing with apple, apricot and citrus flavours on a snappy finish.
The Lodi region of California is famous for its first-rate zinfandel, but it also produces some jammy shiraz such as Blackburn & James Shiraz 2010, California, USA (£6.65 from £9.99, January 3 until January 22, Waitrose). Weighty and rich with sweet cherry flavours, cedar, pepper and spice, it’s a warming red to sip and savour while curled up on the sofa.
A versatile food wine, riesling is rising in popularity and St Hallett Eden Valley Riesling 2011, Australia (£6.99 from £8.99, The Co-Operative, until January 15) is a good introduction to this racy style from Down Under. With invigorating lime aromas and steely acidity, pair this dry white with Indian or Asian dishes.
South African winery Journey’s End rarely produces a duff wine and Kendal Lodge Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2010, Stellenbosch, South Africa (£8.24 from £10.99, now until January 27, Marks & Spencer) is testament to the winemaker’s skills. It’s a soft, generous cabernet with fresh currant and plum, roasted herb and a long, elegant finish.
For a fresh and vibrant Chilean chardonnay, try Vinalba Reserva Chardonnay 2012, Chile (£8.99 from £10.99 when buy two, until February 4, Majestic). Tropical fruit notes mingle with lemon meringue and honeysuckle to create a delicate but lively white with good acidity and a clean aftertaste.
An old favourite, a good Rioja under Harrods’ own label will bring some extra pizzazz to the table. Harrods Rioja Crianza, Spain (£9.25 from £11.50, now until January 20, www.harrods.com) is a tempranillo temptress with mellow strawberry and spiced cherry fruit, vanilla oak and a dry, moderate finish.
A pretty Italian rose with a floral bouquet can always be put aside for a rainy day, or Valentine’s even. Burlotto Elatis 2011, Italy (£16.95 from £22.95, now until January 20, www.harrods.com) is made from nebbiolo grapes and this seductive coral pink promises crunchy red berry flavours, superb freshness and a streak of minerality on the long finish.