Given the range of delicious options, why not find alternatives to your regular tipple?
I was chatting to a friend the other day and discovered that he only ever buys one wine (the Wine Society’s Duo du Midi at £6.25, in case you’re curious), works his way through it, then reorders. This seemed weird to me, given how many delicious wines there are out there, but then I realised that it is exactly what I do with other things: breakfast cereal, yoghurt, a particular loaf … If I like something, I keep on buying it.
But then, I don’t consult a breakfast column that might suggest other options, and the mere fact that you’re reading this hopefully means you’re looking for alternatives to your regular tipple(s). (I do modify my buying behaviour if Sali Hughes suggests a beauty product that sounds good, however, or try out a new recipe if I am inspired, as I often am, by Yotam, Anna or Meera.)
Wine buying seems especially rooted in habit, though. According to Dan Jago, CEO of Berry Bros & Rudd, their bestselling wine is Good Ordinary Claret, which, admirably, ticks all the boxes for being a wine that’s reasonably priced (for Berry’s), will please most of your friends and go with practically everything. We all need any day and everyday wines, especially now that dry January is almost over and we can enjoy the occasional glass.
Where else to find them? Well, Lidl has just released one of its limited-edition selections, which, as usual, is both interesting and well priced. Alsace wines get a bit of a bum rap for being off-dry, but if you like a smooth, dry, chardonnay-like white, Ernest Wein Pinot Blanc (£6.99, 12.5%) will appeal hugely. Lidl also has a couple of nice Italian whites: Corte alle Mura Vernaccia di San Gimignano (£6.99, 12.5%) and the £5.99 grecanico listed below, and two £4.99 reds that I think even my friend would be unable to resist – the Grignan-Les Adhémar, also below, and the 13% Bellanova Rosso Salento.
The other downside to the automatic reordering strategy is that most wines are not the same from one harvest to another, which, for oenophiles, is all part of their appeal. For others, though, it can be frustrating. Big brands do their best to even out vintage variations, but I would caution against plunging in and ordering a full case of a new vintage without tasting it first – unless, that is, you know the producer and it’s in such short supply that you’ll miss out altogether if you don’t.