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Food and Drink

Wine Box: Cheap and cheering

1985 Rioja Crianza, Bodegas Valderrin, pounds 2.69 (Sainsbury's).

Just pounds 2.69 for an eight-year-old oak-aged rioja? Silly season stuff? Rub your eyes by all means, but yes, that is the price. Sainsbury's has managed to pick up a one-off lot of this delightfully mature Spanish tinto, which has about it something of mature burgundy. It needs to be drunk up, and at this price it should encounter very little resistance.

1991 Mitchelton Marsanne, Victoria, pounds 4.99 (Oddbins, Asda).

This is a long-standing favourite of mine, a white wine in which, although the honeysuckle aromas and generous tropical-fruit flavours are distinctively Australian, the emphasis is firmly on fresh fruit. At under a fiver, it is very reasonably priced for such a terrific wine.

1991 Volnay, pounds 9.99 (Peatlings shops in East Anglia and Peatlings Wine Centre, Clerkenwell Road, London EC1). This is a red burgundy with fine aromatic pinot noir quality and rich, earthy pinot noir fruit. It may be somewhat on the solid, rustic side, but it boasts honest pinot noir red-fruits character, a commodity that is in relatively short supply from red burgundy priced at under pounds 10.

This could do with a bit more time to soften, but it is basically a good wine at the price.