t used to be that supermarket reds were seriously sub-standard without paying a fortune for something decent.
Vinegary wines that wouldn’t stand up to even a mid-week Bolognese on the sofa. Or bottles that looked too cheap to take to Friday-night dinners with friends.
Nowadays, however, retailers have upped their games with discerning buying teams casting their nets far and wide to showcase quality producers from around the world – some of which needn’t break the bank.
Anne Bousquet, co-founder of Domaine Bousquet in Argentina, explains: “Supermarkets are working harder than ever to create ranges offering great value across different price points. Sustainability is becoming increasingly important to good supermarket buying teams, too, in addition to a focus on quality and price.”
Here, we’ve stripped the shelves (sorry) to round-up the best supermarket red wines out there right now, all tried and tested. Plonk these are not.
Shop our favourites below
Finca Lalande Malbec
This organic Argentinean malbec hails from leading winery Domaine Bousquet, which was founded by its French winemaker after he discovered the region of Gualtallary during a holiday, and is packed with spicy black and red fruits with silky tannins and rich aromas. Brilliant for charred, juicy red meat just off the barbie.
Interestingly, wines from this vineyard are made at a dizzying 5,249 feet – pushing against the limits of viticultural possibility – which the Bousquet family consider to be the perfect terroir for growing organic grapes in this once-virgin territory (it was technically desert).
They weren’t wrong – this, and others from their covetable stable – are absolute belters.
The Hidden Sea Red Blend
With a cult following amongst eco warriors, The Hidden Sea is an Aussie label to love for its ethics alone, as they remove 10 single-use plastic bottles from the ocean for every single bottle sold. Fast fact: they’ve already removed 10 million bottles thanks, in large part, to the stamina of UK drinkers.
It’s quite the incentive to get involved. Sustainability aside, the Red Blend is a spicy combination of shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and malbec, fizzing with aromas of blackberry, plum, cherry and oak. Rich and smooth, it’s a deep and dramatic crimson in colour for a luxurious and lipsmacking swirl in the glass, with a snazzy label to boot that hipsters will love.
But the best bit? The wine is the first red from the brand to be available nationwide, and it’s not a moment too soon
When in Rome Nero d’Avola
Wine in a box? It’s a thing – and certainly shouldn’t be sniffed at – with the increasingly popular trend offering the ultimate pour for a party. Plus, what better conversation-starter?
When in Rome is one of the best producers of the alternative format currently taking UK households by storm. Their wine has a significantly longer shelf life than bottles – staying fresh for up to six weeks after opening, no less – while their stylish boxes are made from recycled PET bottles and aluminium cans.
The Nero d’Avola is a bold and fruity red from Sicily bursting with blackcurrant, black cherries and black pepper with just a hint of cloves. The result is an easy-drinking and generous sip that even the most discerning of wine snobs can’t dispense enough of (it’s a good job it contains the equivalent of three bottles).
Throw an Italian night and tell everyone to help themselves over piled-high plates of meaty pasta.
Freixenet Spanish Still Rioja 75cl
Anyone who goes on holiday to Spain knows that Freixenet Cordon Negro Cava – in its sexy black matt bottle – is one of the best-kept secrets in supermercados and is often served as the house fizz at even the fanciest of restaurants. Thankfully, it’s not the only brilliant wine crafted by the Spanish winemakers, as this vibrant rioja is a little firecracker, too.
Fresh red fruit and blackberry aromas with notes of vanilla and aromatic herbs combine to create a proper taste of the Med in the mouth. Great for grilled meats – think caramelised lamb chops over coals on the terraza – it’s a smooth and full-bodied sip for instant holiday vibes. Stock-up for the summer before word gets out.
Journey’s End Identity Shiraz
This South African shiraz hails from the Journey’s End Vineyards in Stellenbosch – owned and run by the Gabb family after they upped sticks from Shropshire – and is fired up with red berries, spice and chocolate.
Their new Identity line doesn’t only reflect the various individuals within the business but the innovative methods used at the winery. Moreish and intense, there’s blackcurrant and mulberry on the nose and blueberry and black olives on the palate, making this an enticing choice for everyday drinking. What’s more, the winning flavour profile is matched by impressive sustainability credentials, from the Fairtrade marque supporting local communities to the solar-powered production methods (they’re only the second winery in South Africa to be powered by the sun).
A classy wine with a real conscience.
Cru des Côtes du Rhône Vinsobres
As the highest calibre of the Rhône Valley – there are no more than three in total, including Côtes du Rhône and Côtes du Rhône Villages – the classic Cru des Côtes du Rhône Vinsobres packs a proper punch for Sunday roasts or summer barbecues. Better still, it’s a food wine of the finest order at this price point, meaning you don’t need to take out a mortgage for a mid-week meal. Rich and full, it’s a concentrated explosion of summer fruits with a spicy and herby finish, pairing as wonderfully with the main event as it does with after-dinner cheese. Crack it out for special occasions… or simply just because.
Altano Rewilding Edition Douro Red
Wine + animals = pure joy, right? Add this to basket. The special-edition bottle of Altano supports Rewilding Portugal – a not-for-profit protecting the country’s natural wildlife – which means more of the horses, eagles, wolves and deer illustrated on the label.
Wine-wise, there’s plenty to back up its planet-saving premise, as it’s a classic Douro blend sourced from higher-altitude vineyards to produce something fresh, elegant and fruity. What’s more, it’s created by the esteemed Symington family, who use the Altano brand as their own table wine. The assurance, as if it was needed, of greatness.
Cafayate Estate Malbec
With altitude as its USP – it’s printed loudly and proudly on the label – the dizzying vineyards at Cafayate Estate in Argentina are 1,750 metres above sea level. These are some of the highest in the world in the province of Salta.
To us, that means a gorgeous, aromatic flavour with great balance and exceptional character, all of which is bottled so beautifully in this reasonably-priced malbec. Full-bodied, it has hints of black fruits, ripe plums, raisins, vanilla and sweet and toasted spices on the nose, while being smooth with sweet tannins on the palate.
Aged for six months in oak barrels, the finish is deliciously toasted, while its colour is ruby-red with violet hues. Sure to bring the drama.
Morrisons The Best Marques de los Rios Rioja Crianza
The bottles under The Best label from Morrisons can usually be trusted, but their Marques de los Rios Rioja Crianza is truly exceptional, even by the discerning standards of their premium range. Deliciously creamy, it’s made from carefully-selected tempranillo grapes, and features charismatic red berries with a touch of oak (thanks to barrel-ageing for more than a year). Cracking value for a mid-week winner.
Found Alicante Bouschet
Launched exclusively at M&S just recently, Alicante Bouschet – part of their own Found range of wines – is Portugal born-and-bred in the east of Lisbon. Interestingly, it’s one of a few grape varieties to have red pulp as well as skin, giving it a deep colour and a full body. With a small portion of the grapes left to ferment in old granite legares – large, open vats traditionally made of stone – the wine is surprisingly complex for this price point. A bargainous beauty.
I Heart Merlot
The I Heart brand is brilliant for those who don’t know a lot about wine and don’t want to spend hours browsing. Most us, right? Offering a small but perfectly formed line of red, white, rosé and fizz – all with simple descriptions on the back and budget prices to boot – their bottles are no-brainers for filling the fridge. The merlot is seriously soft and smooth while being full of black fruit aromas with spicy plum and raspberry flavours. The ultimate pizza-and-sofa companion.
Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon
Cassis, black cherries, coffee and dark chocolate combine in this smooth, medium-bodied cabernet sauvignon. A snip of a price, it’s no wonder it’s often held up as a great-value red, with Tesco currently offering the best value. The Chilean wine, made in Valle Central, typifies its variety and teams best with grilled meat, as you’d expect. A subtle touch of vanilla adds a surprising twist.