Cheap Thrills: Good Wine That’ll See You Through Lockdown (That Are Available at the Supermarket Obvs)

Your usual drop not available in lockdown? Or, you’re keen on saving some pennies while you’re stuck in the house? Kelly Bertrand’s done some research (read: one VERY conspicuous trip to the supermarket) and found some budget-friendly vino for your 5pm tipple while you watch The Chase.

So, you like wine…

…but you also like keeping the little money you’ve got in your wallet AND your favourite liquor store is currently closed because, you know, pandemic. If the last few weeks have ironically and cruelly left you see-sawing between buying more wine and trying to not spend as much money on wine, read on for our picks of the best budget-conscious drops that’ll still get you where you need to be.

Arrogant Frog Ribet Syrah Rosé, $12.99 

Unfortunately for me, my wine palette belies my suburban East Auckland roots and I’ve annoyingly developed a taste for dry French rosé – specifically, Cotes de Provence because yes, I am that much of a wanker. My usual drop comes in at a cool $26 a bottle. When I first discovered this wine I had just lost my job, and enemployed people can’t be spending $26 a bottle on wine – in all honesty I should’ve been drinking grapes from a box, but, standards. So I was stoked when I found this little baby which is pretty damn close to my beloved Provence varietals. Very dry with a hiiiint of sweetness at the end, it’s a perfect substitute.

Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc, $13.99

It’s not rocket science that when in doubt, go Marlborough when it comes to Sauvignon – but it’s also true of Villa Maria. There’s a reason why these guys are the most awarded winery in New Zealand – they make a damn good everyday wine. For me, their sav sits right in that happy place between that fresh, sharp sav hit, and a mellow, lazy Sunday lunch wine that your uncle keeps topping up even though you didn’t ask him. Also if you haven’t been to Villa’s gorgeous winery in Mangere, you simply must. It’s the perfect day out with the girls.

Rugged Coast Central Otago Pinot Noir 2011, $13.99

I’ve totally bought into the idea that Central Otago makes the best reds in the country – but, like, prove me wrong? I was jazzed to find a bottle of Otago’s finest for under $14 bucks, and she’s a good drop. Medium full-bodied with a fruity punch as well as a whack of depth, it’s perfect for chucking in your keep cups during your government-mandated walks or for snuggling on the couch and watching The Chase. Come on, we’re all doing it.

Veuve du Vernay Brut NV, $14.99

I’m sure this will come as absolutely no surprise to anyone, but I’m also a wee bit snobby about bubbles. I bought this when I literally had $16.42 in my bank account and needed a bottle to take to a friend’s drinks, but I was pleasantly surprised by the complexity of flavour. It’s definitely fresh, mind you – a refreshing blend of fruit and bubbles that’s perfect for celebrations or commiserations (I’ve drunk it at both). And it turns out it’s made just across the road from Champagne, so how different is it really apart from allowing me to afford vegetables.

Brancott Estate Reserve 2020, $14.99

Pinot Gris is a tricky one for a lot of people – a lot of them are on the sweet side. But in the interests of making this article as accurate as possible, I made sure to add one of these babies on during my last mission to the supermarket to do a thorough taste test of a couple of different brands – sorry to the neighbour if my singing got louder and more off-key during the testing – and this one hits the sweet spot between sweet and dry. Can also confirm it pairs great with Tip Top vanilla ice cream. 

Drink responsibly!

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