With pubs and bars remaining shut, as a nation, we’ve taken to drinking at home like fish to water.
According to consumer analysts Kantar, alcohol sales at supermarkets and corner shops increased by 22 per cent in March, with a 50 per cent increase being reported on the Thursday before the VE Day bank holiday in May.
As a result, we’ve seen supermarkets and wine merchants turn their attention to sourcing everyday wines at a great price, with many online retailers providing filters to help you focus the selection on this price point.
M&S launched a new "this is wine" range during lockdown, with 15 popular styles displaying bright, helpful labels, all priced at just £5.
To help reduce our weekly spending, we wanted to see if it was actually possible to pick up a bottle of great tasting wine for under £10.
How good can we really expect the wine to be at this price point? Is it worth scrimping or is this a false economy, with the rest of the bottle destined to be poured down the drain after one glass?
These are the questions we put to Dawn Davies, master of wine at The Whisky Exchange, who has tasted plenty of wines under a tenner.
She says: “The key is in the £7 to £10 bracket. If you look at wines that are under £6, you would need to know how much of that cost is actually coming from the wine and not duty, shipping and bottling.
“The quality of the wine at lower price points has improved vastly over the years and now with more responsible farming and care taken in the vineyards, the grapes and terroir is beginning to shine through, even at these prices.
“Southern Italy, the South of France and Spain in the old world are regions to pay attention to but also Australia, Chile and South Africa are all strong contenders.”
Shopping online makes it even easier to stock up, with many retailers offering free delivery and saving you the effort of carrying heavy bottles home.
After extensive testing across reds, whites and rosés, these are the versatile table wines we’re excited to open midweek.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.
Recas cramele sanziana pinot noir, 12.5%
We adore pinot noir, but our bank balance isn’t quite as enthusiastic. Thankfully there are still bargains to be had in Romania, where despite the fact Recas Cramele’s vineyards are reportedly some of the oldest in the world, it remains blissfully under the radar (for us, anyway). This means it’s still entirely possible to pick up this easy to drink red, bursting with strawberries, jammy black cherries and sweet, spicy cinnamon for under a tenner. Team with crispy duck pancakes, mushroom risotto or pan-fried salmon.
M&S Macon Villages, 12.5%
Although Burgundy is not a region often associated with picking up a bargain, this Macon Villages wine for M&S is an everyday steal at under £10. It hasn’t spent any time in oak, which will really appeal to those that prefer their chardonnay fresher and fruitier. With zippy lemon zest, creamy white peach and just a touch of nuttiness, we’ll be drinking this with creamy chicken pasta or chicken and leek pie.
Tikves smederevka, 11%
A relatively unknown wine region, the smederevka grape (pronounced smed-er-ev-car – try saying that after a few) is indigenous to the Tikves area of the Republic of North Macedonia. For fans of sauvignon blanc, this could be a stunning, cost saving alternative with similar green apple and white peach notes, supported by refreshing citrus zest and a slight floral aroma. Despite its relatively low profile, this bottle recently picked up silver in the 2019 International Wine Challenge.
Berry Bros. and Rudd reserve white by Collovray and Terrier, 13%
This dynamic duo is better known for making extraordinary white burgundies for Berry Bros. & Rudd. However, Collovray & Terrier is also responsible for this cost-conscious own label line too. Coming from the Languedoc region in the south of France, it’s a mix of grape varieties (which can help to bring the price down) and is particularly easy drinking. Expect plenty of soft peach and delicate blossom notes underscored by zippy acidity, with just a touch of the minerality you might expect from this area. There’s also a juicy red made from syrah and merlot in the same range.
4Haz dry Tokaji, 13.5%
Thought Tokaji was super sweet and strictly for dessert? Not so with this entry-level dry white wine from Hungary. Refreshing and zesty, with dominant crunchy green apple flavours and a touch of orange zest on the finish, it would make the perfect accompaniment to seafood. It’s really quite different to most things you’ll find on the supermarket shelves at this price point, so an excellent option if you’re still keen to mix up your midweek glass of wine and discover new styles.
Rouxvale chenin blanc, 12.5%
Made not far from the infamous Stellenbosch region of South Africa, this unoaked white wine is deliriously easy drinking and will pair well with an array of mid-week meals. Well-balanced, with notes of guava and refreshing acidity, it’s particularly well suited to the summer months. And despite the great price, Rouxvale is committed to going above and beyond for its employees, with a range of programmes set up to help the local community.
Tenuta de Angelis pecorino offida, 14%
In order to find a bargain, we were looking for less well-known grape varieties from undiscovered regions. Which is why this bottle using 100 per cent pecorino (considerably less prevalent than Italy’s pinot grigio) from an off the beaten track area called Marche (which some wine experts are referring to as the new Tuscany) fits the bill perfectly. Dry, mineral and rich (note the generous alcohol content), we found a surprising amount of complexity in this young bottle – and if that wasn’t enough, it’s organic to boot.
Lorca Recoleta malbec, 13.5%
Get the barbecue fired up because this one’s crying out for a juicy burger. This entry-level malbec is a real crowd-pleaser. Cheaper malbecs often contain grapes from lower altitudes in the southwest of Mendoza. However, the fruit for this bottle is all sourced from high altitude vineyards in the Uco Valley. Which is why it has such a rich and supple style, with fresh fruit, vanilla and spice. Really great value from the talented Mauricio Lorca.
Errazuriz estate series merlot, 13.5%
Majestic is a great place to stock up on your everyday wines, especially if you make use of the “mixed six” offer where you’ll get 10 per cent off your order, reducing this bottle to £8.99. This Chilean merlot has really benefited from some time in oak, with rounder tannins and a touch of vanilla sweetness as a result. However, it still has all the fresh red fruit you’d expect from a youthful style, along with a subtle but uplifting herbaceous note of peppermint. Mid-weight merlot is very versatile when it comes to pairing with food – it loves anything saucy (making it the perfect addition to your bowl of pasta) and will happily support lean meat as well as roasted veggies.
Beronia rosado, 13%
Whether your outside space is an open window or a south facing garden, nothing quite says summer like a glass of rosé from Beronia. Don’t be put off by the bright strawberry pink hue, we’ve been lulled into thinking all rosés should be the pastel pink colour of Provence which is simply not the case. Elegant rose petals are present on the nose, followed by sun-kissed strawberries and a touch of peach on the palate. A great summer wine you’ll find yourself drinking with everything from salads and tapas dishes, through to creamy goats’ cheese.
Exquisite Collection Argentinian malbec, 13.5%
Now, we know we told you to focus your search on the £7 to £10 bracket, but we’re about to eat our words because Aldi has come up trumps with this oh-so-easy drinking Argentinian malbec (and it will only set you back £5.99). From the Uco Valley (an area famous for excellent reds), this is every bit as soft and silky as its more expensive counterparts, with a palate dominated by black fruit and a touch of vanilla. Having picked up multiple awards, this is a supremely versatile style, pairing well with family-friendly spag bol through to bangers and mash. It’s such a popular one, it’s currently out of stock online – try and find it in store or keep an eye out for when it’s back on the site.
The verdict: Wines under £10
We’ve awarded our best buy to the super versatile Recas cramele sanziana pinot noir, which represents excellent value. For an easy-drinking white you’ll want to open all year round, M&S’s Macon-Villages is also superb.