My bargain-hunting obsession is the fault of my nucleus accumbens, obviously… that’s the part of the brain that deals with pleasure and turns you into a misguided missile, intent on seeking out the rush of a money-off deal.
It’s all about the thrill of the chase, not unlike our ancestors when they nailed the prey they were pursuing. Though, in this case, it’s wine.
Thank goodness, then, for the insula – the part of the brain that processes pain. It’s basically your conscience, talking you out of heading to the checkout on the basis that you can’t afford it, even when you can. Mine could do with some strengthening, clearly.
A recent rummage through the racks of TK Maxx was an eye-opener, I couldn’t get my head around the designer gear at micro prices. My insula deserted me as I went into a fitting room frenzy, trying on all manner of inappropriate garments. Luckily, it turns out they didn’t have tank tops in my size, in case you were wondering.
The point is that it’s no different to buying wine on discount, as long as you know what to look for.
Discount supermarkets can be your TK Maxx, offering you the wine version of a tank top in the right size. Their offerings are phenomenal, which they owe to an extensive buying department and a panel of top-notch UK wine professionals who act as gatekeepers to weed out the chaff.
Here are three thrifty sippers for your shopping basket.
Sparkling: Maison de la Rougerie Brut Crémant de Bordeaux
I think we can all agree that budgeting doesn’t mean banning bubbles. Just as well, then, that we have crémant up our sleeves. Crémant should be unleashed on to everyone’s lips, as it does the heavy lifting of a Champagne without the wallet-draining credentials. From a French producer that’s been bottling bubbles since the 17th century, this is dry, creamy and appealingly appley.
White: Specially selected Greco di Tufo
This bottle is an overachiever; a dry, Southern Italian, award-winning white with more tropical intensity than you can shake a grass skirt at. ‘Greco’ is the grape and ‘Tufo’ the volcanic soil the vines grow on, with a smidge of smouldering cinder over a beach breakfast of pineapple and papaya aromas. Give it a whirl if you’re a fan of Pinot Grigio, it makes a way more interesting tipple.
Red: Vis à Vis Shiraz-Mourvèdre
I love the way Lidl rate their own wines, it’s so darned honest of them. This has 88 points and a ‘very good’ rating, which I’d tend to agree with. The Vis à Vis range from South Africa is whimsically packaged and great tasting, with a red made from a Rhône-based blend featuring everything from black cherry, mocha to a touch of smoky bacon notes, in a very good way.