Last time I was on vast quantities of codeine I wrote this hilarious article about cheap wine. Well, as those who’ve followed my whining on Twitter will know, I’ve knackered my back and I’m on vast quantities of codeine again. Consequently, I’m writing about cheap wine again. There are some differences.
Firstly, I got these wines specifically for summer drinking. You could easily drink them at some other time of year but I think they are tuned to providing pleasure when the sun is shining. I think there’s enough summer left to make it worth getting some appropriate booze to enjoy it maximally.
Secondly, I’ve allowed myself a bit of inflation for the price of the red wine. Ten pounds, except in really rare circumstances, is just the beginning of wine that interests. If you normally drink wine that costs under ten pounds a bottle there can only be one possible explanation: you don’t really like wine.
The amount of tax and similarly un-boozy costs that get added to sub-Ayrton wines are so much that bugger all cash remains to be spend on the fluid itself. If you really enjoy wine then you’ll want something that people have been able to take some care over; there’s too little possibility of that with sub-tenner wines. So one of these wines is a sub-tenner wine, and it’s remarkably good for the price, the other costs a couple of notes more and you shouldn’t feel shy about handing them over.
Finally, the costs involved in living these days are so high that I could only afford two bottles of wine to review, even for an article on cheap wine. Praise be that some wine-merchants have no minimum order! Let’s go!
Chinon Rosé Saignée 2011, Wilfrid Rousse
Rosé has pretty much one function: refreshment on a sunny day. Those crazy Champenois drink rosé fizz with food but they are so rich it has made their minds mouldy. Sadly, most rosé is so insipid it doesn’t even manage to refresh. What you want is an edge of rigor, a hint of vim, along with lovely, summery fruit. This wine has more than a shade of nervy life to it. There is attractive rosehip fruit and, much as you’d hope for from rosehips, there is a bite of astringency and really lively acidity. It’s charged with life and energy which make it a properly refreshing and invigorating drink that really slips down a treat on a summer’s afternoon. It actually tastes of rather a lot; there are a myriad of flavours to it. Those flavours do not persist for much time it’s true; nor should they in a summer quaffing pinkie – that’s perfectly fine! There’s bugger all rosé worth my time but this is clearly the most most serious, and therefore fun, I’ve had in ages. I need not add I haven’t had any rosé in ages; that doesn’t matter! This is a top bevvie that you should be chuffed as ninepence to score for pence under a couple of Ladies, and definitely pleased as chips to learn has a case discount.
Chinon Cuvée Terroir 2009, Wilfrid Rousse
Yeah, Chinon’s great! Made from the cracking Cabernet Franc, completely compelling compared to Cabernet Sauvignon, they are my favourite red (and red-ish) wines of the Loire Valley. This is not the most grown-up example, but I utterly adore its leafy life and crunchy constitution. There’s fruit a-plenty here which is bright and fresh, along with good acidity and a tannic structure which has so much life you could find yourself surprised it doesn’t pry your mouth open and leg it before you have a chance to swallow your draughts. I love Cabernet Franc tannins when they are like this, green whilst not being remotely unripe – there’s just something about those plant-y tones which do it even for someone who loathes the carcinogens that are vegetables. Drink this very slightly chilled – it’s bright fruit, fresh acid and spunky tannins work a treat at a refreshing temperature, and the low alcohol level helps keep it perky too. This is a lovely little darling that I got an awfully large amount of pleasure from for the positively miserly cash outlay it required. Drink whilst summer lasts, but it’ll be a charmer when Nipple Day comes along next spring.
-  Ayrton Senna – Tenner ↩
-  Lady Godiva – Fiver ↩
-  Nipple Day is that great masculine moveable feast that comes around the first day of spring it is warm enough for ladies to forego bras, but cold enough for them to pertly show they have. ↩