Vinonomics: Want quality wine? Spend a little more, get a lot more

By on October 19th, 2022 in Blog
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When it comes to searching for the best value wine several questions arise, including ‘how much does wine price affect wine quality and does quality wine have to be expensive wine?’ Well, our friends over at Bibendum have helped us out. Below is a fantastic visual aid showing what we pay for when we buy a bottle of wine. Last year HMRC raked in over £ 9 billion from wine and spirits. And that’s why spending that little bit more on wine makes such a big difference. Despite a £20 bottle being four times the price of a £5 bottle, you’re increasing the spend on the actual wine by a whopping 23 times. But how do you guarantee your extra dosh equates to better quality wine? The best way is almost always a trusted recommendation. Below are four unparalleled upgrades of well-known wines we’d stake our reputation on.

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Malma Family Reserve Malbec

Everyone loves Malbec. Fruity, oaky red at an affordable price (normally from Mendoza) is the name of the game for many, but take a closer look and you’ll find real quality wine treasures. Bodega Malma is located in arguably Argentina’s most exciting winemaking region, Neuquén in Patagonia. Originally dismissed as too cold to make great wine (a bit like Tasmania), the last 20 years have seen pioneers like Bodega Malma go from strength to strength, and from award to award. Malma Family Reserve Malbec has all the signature black cherry and plum fruit flavours you expect. Then clove, vanilla, cinnamon and a little smokiness come through. But it’s the balance of these flavours with the high acid and tannin that makes the difference. Balance may not be the easiest thing to pick out, but when you taste it, you just know. A few extra pounds, very well spent.

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Riecine Chianti Classico

Let’s not be coy. There’s a very important distinction within Chianti which everyone should know about. There’s straight-up Chianti, which had its name all but trashed by a desire for quantity over quality in the 1970s and ‘80s. Then there’s Chianti Classico. The original Chianti, before the huge expansion, from which the region’s best wines come. The Classico area is high altitude and extremely hilly. Soils are low in nutrients and well-drained, perfect for keeping vine yields low and fruit quality high. Riecine Chianti Classico is one of those wines where you only need one sip to know the extra spend was worth it. It’s got black cherries, plums, blackcurrant, dates and prunes. Loads of sweet spice, some earthy tar, leather and barbeque smoke. High acid keeps it fresh and the tannins are spot on. Great now, fabulous in a few years, this quality wine upgrade smashes the brief.

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Domaine Des Malandes Chablis Envers de Valmur

Chablis is a firm favourite here in the UK. It’s generally mineral, refreshing, citrus-fruity and very gluggable. As a rule, you can find something more than passable for less than a tenner, but what happens when you venture past this somewhat limiting price point? Well. Now you’re talking! As your spending goes up, so too does access to wines from better, warmer vineyard sites. Burgundy being a generally cool region, its best wines are from areas with warmer microclimates where greater ripeness and flavour intensity can be found. Domaine Des Malandes Chablis Envers de Valmur takes the familiar citric, mineral, high-acid formula and adds ripe peaches and nectarines, melon and lychee. It also has a delicious creaminess, balanced by a slightly tart lemon pith edge, which adds both texture and flavour complexity. As far as quality wine upgrades go, this is a surefire winner, every time.

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Pahlmeyer Jayson Sauvignon blanc

Everyone loves a Savvy b. It’s been a firm favourite on these shores for over 30 years. Much of what’s purchased is competently made, and perfectly acceptable £5-7 wine. Even at this inexpensive level those Sauvignon blanc signature flavours of cut grass, gooseberry and citrus can still be found. But what happens when you up the budget and venture away from this predominant ‘Marlborough, New Zealand’ style? Well, say hello to complexity, elegance, balance and texture! Pahlmeyer Jayson Sauvignon blanc is maybe 6 or 7 times the price of a £5 Sauvignon b. but you spend a whopping 48 times on quality. Flavours of pineapple, lime, fresh asparagus, peaches and mint overlay the gooseberry and cut grass notes. A delicious minerality balances a wonderful creamy texture making for a long, elegant moreish finish. We implore you to find that special occasion and splash out on this sublime, quality wine.