Wine and Dine Without Breaking the Bank

Published / Written by Anna Scott / No Comments Yet

I talk a lot about cooking but it struck me only very recently that I don’t think I’ve ever really talked about wine on this blog before. This is particularly strange from my point of view as I used to sell wine for a living and know a fair bit about it. On here, I’ve always focused very much on the ‘budget’ side of things and when it comes to talking about cooking in that respect, wine feels like a luxury that can’t really be justified.

Choosing Wine

However, I’m sure there are many of you who enjoy wine with your food and would like to know a few good value options that will be great matches with some of our equally good value recipes. I’m not going to list specific wines, but more suggestions for types of wines that are usually quite reasonably priced and you can explore further from there…

White Wines

Touraine Sauvignon Blanc

For those of you who enjoy Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand but often baulk at the high price tags, this could well prove to be a cheaper alternative. This style of Sauvignon Blanc is from the Touraine region in the Loire Valley and is a leaner, greener version. A great aperitif, it will also go well with salads, seafood and lighter fish dishes.

Our recipe match: Easy Fish Pie

Muscadet

Another white wine from the Loire Valley, it’s no coincidence that a lot of the region’s lesser-known whites can prove very good value. This is a bone-dry style with flinty flavours and is another great match with seafood and fish.

Our recipe match: Simple Salmon Fishcakes

Verdicchio

This is an Italian grape grown in the Le Marche region and is found in wines you will see carrying the label Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi. These wines are light and dry like the previous two, but they also contain slightly softer almond flavours that will compliment creamy dishes.

Our recipe match: Creamy Mushroom Pasta

Red Wines

Malbec

This grape variety is a speciality of Argentina and you will often see Argentinian Malbec that varies quite dramatically in price depending on quality. However, there are some good value ones out there and they pack a lot of dark, rich flavour at a smaller cost. Malbec is the perfect match with steak (if your budget stretches to a decent steak of course).

Our recipe match: Sausage and Guinness Casserole

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

A good value Italian dish demands a good value Italian wine and this type has lovely red fruit flavours that will go well with plenty of pasta and vegetable-based dishes. You might often see this wine at about the £6 a bottle mark but you can also pick up pricier versions.

Our recipe match: Italian Aubergine Parmigiana

Primitivo

This grape is grown in southern Italy and Sicily and makes surprisingly rich, black-cherry flavoured wines for not too much money at all. Bit of wine trivia for you now – this is also known as Zinfandel (mostly when grown in the US), but personally, I much prefer the Italian versions.

Our recipe match: Smoked Spanish Tortilla

As with most products, the saying ‘you get what you pay for’ applies to wine too. However, you need to arm yourself with a bit of consumer awareness, especially when considering wines that are on ‘special offer’. You might have noticed that the same brands come up on deal in supermarkets on a regular basis and this in itself is an indication that the stuff inside the bottle might not actually be worth the original full price. If you want to get the very best value, do a few price comparisons and make sure you’re not paying over the odds.