The following extract is taken from this weekend’s issue of Stella Magazine (circ. 351,709), supplement of the Sunday Telegraph.
“Spar may not be the first place you’d go to track down a fine vintage port or biodynamic orange wine, but with 2,700 branches nationwide, your nearest could be a useful place for grabbing a bargain. And with two new ranges of inexpensive own-label wines in store, there are some worthwhile buys to tip.
Consultant and master of wine Philippa Carr has helped put together five entry-level wines at just £5, labelled by style, so ‘Fruity White’, ‘Smooth Red’ and so on. At this low price, I can especially recommend the Crisp White (from South Africa) and the Bold Red (Spanish, see below), for affordable supper matches.
Carr has also held the reins on a new grape variety range: S is for shairaz, M for merlot etc – the letters prominent on clear, modern labels. There are 12 of these; I don’t love them all equally and would in fact swerve CB (chenin blanc) and T (tempranillo) but several offer eye-catching value at £6 apiece.
My top picks are the soft aromatic PN (Pinot noir), the richer CS (cabernet sauvignon), the tropical-fruited southern French SB (sauvignon blanc) and the lively, bright Spanish G (gernacha), as well as the ones below.
Finally, fizz fans may have noticed that a Spar prosecco (also relatively new) was a Which? Best Buy at the end of last year – here it is below, a decent way to part with a tenner at your local branch.
Spar Bold Red NV, Spain
Enjoyably rich and gutsy, this stands up well to a steak, with ripe blackcurrant, baked plum and a little spicy oak. Bravo. If you’re still up for mulled wine (and why not?) this would also be a sturdy base. £5
Spar PG Pinot Grigio 2016, Pavia, Italy
Decent pinot grigio at this price is rare. Young, fresh and tasting of yellow pears and quince, this could become a fridge staple. Pair it with light white-fish dishes or creamy pasta sauces. £6
Spar Valdobbiadene DOCG Extra Dry Prosecco, Italy
A smartly labelled fizz, off-dry with soft apples and pears and plenty of delicate but busy froth. With a light 11 per cent abv, it may suit those doing a healthier, if not exactly dry, January. £10″