Some juicy summer beauties—

The coals have already fired up at Smith Towers and the hunt for summery reds is upon us. I’ve tasted some real beauties under a tenner this week that seem to share the same canny trick of finding freshness off the beaten track.

Portuguese red blends are mind-blowing in their value for money and, thanks to their mellow spice, are spot on for barbecues. Spain continues to thrill, with Mencia from northwestern Bierzo offering some serious kit for the cash, and eastern regions such as Almansa are also worth noting with smart blending.

France’s Rhône had an intriguing 2017 vintage with pockets of fruity freshness if you know where to look – or stick to Beaujolais for light reds to chill. And amazingly I’ve found an Aussie Merlot with drinkable decency for under a fiver. Light those coals: summer’s come early.


SOAK UP THE SUN: Australian Merlot 2018 (13.5%) £4.25 Tesco. Deep,juicy and powerful – great value for a picnic.

MAKE A SPLASH: Syrah-Viognier Val de Salnis 2017 (13.5%) £5.99 Lidl. Syrah with a splash of Viognier, this Rhône red is fabulous.

SIP ALL SUMMER LONG: Adaras Aldea Organic Red 2016 (13.5%) £7.99* Majestic. Call your branch and order the lot. All-round excellent. *Mix Six Price

TRY THE SILK ROAD: Puerto del Monte Mencia, Bierzo 2017 (14%) £8.50 The Wine Society. Silken and svelte as a black cherry. Exceptional value.


Beaujolais Villages 2018 (13%) £5.99 Aldi. Stick this red in the fridge like butch rosé and enjoy its juicy glory.

This column was originally published in EVENT Magazine, Mail on Sunday, 12th May 2019