It maybe clutching at straws, but, looking for some good news for wine drinkers, this is what I’ve come with: if you were spending more than £6.07 per bottle before December 1, your wine should now be cheaper. £6.07 is the point where the lowering of vat to 15 per cent and the increase in duty to £1.57 cancel each other out. Below that, you can expect to see price increases, although some supermarkets have been pressing suppliers to take the pain instead.
Above £6.07, you ought to be paying less. Ought to. Don’t hold your breath: the wine trade is in a bad way and savings won’t necessarily be passed on.
The one area where you can see big reductions is right at the top. The fine wine market has slumped; so, if you’re still in the money, 2009 could be the time to buy those grands crus you’ve always dreamed of.
At less rarified levels, sweet spots to look for this year include 2007 wines from the Rhône, Languedoc, Loire, Germany, South Africa and Chile; 2006 and 2004 Italian reds; and 2005 and 2004 Riojas.
“Cabernet sauvignon is the second most widely planted grape variety”
AF: It’s beaten to the top spot by airen, a dreary white Spanish variety; chardonnay comes sixth.
2005 El Circulo Rioja Crianza, £6.99/£13.99
Dark, intensely-flavoured, oaky, modern Rioja (Wine Rack, half-price offer ends on January 7)
2006 Poggiotondo Cerro del Masso Chianti, £7.99
Nutty and spicy with cherry and tobacco flavours (Waitrose)
2007 La Tour de Marrenon, Côtes du Ventoux, £7.40
Succulent, peppery red from the southeast Rhône (Tesco).