Lower priced wine needn’t mean inferior quality

LIKE so many others around the country, the Wine Guy household is aware of the need to save a few bob.

So we have implemented the following austerity measures – the peacock, foie gras and caviar butties are off the menu for the time being, the Bentley will only be taken out in dire emergencies and we’ve employed one of the kids to sweep the chimney!
In all seriousness, we’re all on the hunt for bargains at the moment, which is no surprise.
Swapping a well known brand for a look-a-like is an obvious place to start as many generic supermarket products are indeed made by the big producers.
There are some genuine scoops to be found on the supermarket shelves, as I know for a fact there are a bunch of wines out there made by some pretty talented winemakers.
The key to finding a bargain, however, is to know what you’re looking for.
In the buyers’ own brands, money is saved on the marketing overheads and passed on to the consumer, but occasionally these products are just not the same.
But I reckon there are better ways to save costs than wasting your money on buying a pig-in-a-poke from the supermarket.
What to do is identify the area of production you like and buy the similar style of wine from the lesser-rated area, usually right next door.
Now if you’re unsure where to turn, use your wine supplier here for advice on what is what, as I always advocate.
They will know, for example, whether the neighbouring producers to the left and right of the famous vineyard offer cheap and great value wine or whether it’s simply rubbish!
It is often because of limited land in these famous areas round the wine world that a talented young
buck will build their reputation by making the same wine in very similar circumstances, with the only difference being
that the area where the grapes are grown has not been recognised for as long as its counterpart next door. A great example of this would be the uber-famous Rioja in Spain and Navarra, which is literally the next wine area
A final note to add here would be that moving down the price scale does not necessarily mean you get an inferior wine – the hierarchies of Burgundy and especially Bordeaux can offer a range of very tasty options that need not cost the earth.

The Cork Dork fact:

The area in your brain which identifies the aromas in wine is called the olfactory bulb.