The prestigious International Wine Challenge is known for bestowing medals on fancy wines that most of us would never dream of forking out for. But now it has focused its attention on the wines that really interest us, and revealed the best value wines in British shops and supermarkets. The list of winners includes a number that are well within most budgets - including one incredible wine for just £5.25.
The judges brought together all the wines that had received a gold or silver medal in the overall 2015 Wine Challenge. It then focused solely on the ones that were widely available in supermarkets or on the high street, and found the best of the bargains.
Some 12 of the 15 winners were actually supermarket own-brand wines: Tesco led the pack with four winners, followed by Sainsbury's with three, M&S and Asda with two each, and Aldi with one.
The cheapest winner of all was an Asda sparkling wine - the Asda Asti NV. It took the title in the category of sparking wines under £12, so fought off much more expensive competition.
The next most affordable wine of the bunch went to the winner of the sweet wine award: the Tesco finest Dessert Semillon 2009 at £6.79.
And the third cheapest was an Aldi wine: the Exquisite Collection Clare Valley Riesling 2014. At £6.99 it took the title for the best value white wine under £7.
Finally in this price range was the Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Côtes du Rhone Villages, which costs £7 and took the title for the best value red wine under £7.
If you're willing to spend a bit more for something a bit more special, then the award for white wine priced between £7 and £12 went to a £11.99 wine from Majestic Wine: the Russian Jack Sauvignon Blanc 2014 by Foley Family Wines.
The red winner in this category was the Asda Extra Special El Mesón Rioja Gran Reserva 2005 for £9.97.
Meanwhile the award for white wines under £15 went to the Tesco finest Chablis 2013 at £13.99. And the best value red in this category was named as the Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Châteauneuf-Du-Pape priced at £14.
In the Rosé category there were joint-winners in the under £12 category: the Tesco finest Sancerre Rosé 2014 for £9.99 and the Italia Pinot Grigio Rosé 2014 sold by Boutinot for £7.49.
In the sweet wine category the title was taken by the Marks & Spencer Paul Cluver Late Harvest Riesling 2013 at £14.99. Marks & Spencer also took the title for the best value fortified wine under £10, with its Dry Old Palo Cortado NV at £7.49 per half-bottle.
Meanwhile the De Bortoli Show Liqueur Muscat NV scooped the prize for Great Value Fortified under £15 - priced at £14.99
For special occasions
Sparking wine tends to be a bit pricier, so the award for the best value 'mid-range' sparkling wine went to the Winemakers' Selection by Sainsbury's Blanc de Blancs Brut NV, which is available for £20. It's not going to fit into the 'affordable' category for everyone. But for those who tend to splash out on champagne instead of Prosecco or Cava, £20 will seem like a bit of a bargain.
Vintage sparking wine is generally even more expensive, but you don't have to invest much more than £20 for an award-winning vintage champagne, because the Tesco finest Vintage Grand Cru Champagne 2007 is £24.99.
Charles Metcalfe, Co-Chairman of the International Wine Challenge, commented: "These Great Value Awards demonstrate that savvy shoppers are able to pick up fantastic wines with very competitive prices at their local retailers. Each of these marvelous award winners punches well above its weight in terms of quality and they are all delicious wines."
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