2011 Estevez Cabernet Sauvignon Carmenere Reserva – Aldi – £4.99
Cabernet provides the usual minty blackcurrant flavours, but also brings acidity and background vanilla influences to the party while the carmenere is responsible for the wine’s plummy, chocolate richness.
Nowadays, carmenere is Chile’s signature red but, when blended with one of the international varieties, it can often create – as it does here – well made, tasty, everyday red at a great price.
2012 Maclear’s Beacon Chardonnay Semillon – Tesco – £5, instead of £5.99, until Wednesday
This South African white opens with soft but textured peach and pineapple flavours and then develops attractive lemon-centred acidity to keep everything fresh and lively.
This blend actually works rather well creating a nice contrast between the relative richness – typical of riper versions of chardonnay – with the texture of the Semillon and the citrus freshness it can deliver in the hands of skilled winemakers.
2011 Pasico Old Vine Monastrell – Sainsbury’s – £5.99
A full and juicy Spanish red with fresh acidity and soft tannins to underpin its neat cherry and plum fruit. There is also a twist of liquorice at the end that adds an element of complexity.
It is quite rare to find the monastrell grape (mouvedre) on its own rather than as part of a blend, but the older vines used here balance its trademark substance and depth with some very attractive (and lively) fruit.
Brian Elliott is wine correspondent of Scotland on Sunday and lives at Auchencrow in the Borders.