If it’s good enough for Fred Sirieix, then it’s good enough for us.
Speaking exclusively to Metro.co.uk, the French maître d’hôtel shares that shopping for booze on a budget doesn’t have to mean sacrificing on quality.
However, it can be hard to know how and where to shop – so Fred has taken us to M&S to share his top tips.
Blue Nun, no more.
Choose what you know
Don’t know where to start? You can play it safe.
Fred says: ‘Start with a wine variety that you really enjoy.
‘For example, a dry Pinot Grigio – then look for the same wine with a slightly lower price point.
‘Instead of reaching for the classic Italian Pinot Grigio you would usually reach for, why not try a bottle from a lesser-known region, for example, vineyards in Switzerland or Germany – you might be pleasantly surprised.’
Trust supermarket wine labels
There’s no need to fear your local supermarket’s options.
Fred is a fan of M&S’s good value Classics wine range, with Pinot Grigio, Chianti and Rioja up for grabs.
He says: ‘This helps you discover new favourites and broaden your wine knowledge, without breaking the bank.’
There’s also Aldi, who is known for producing award-winning low-cost wines.
Purchase around the occasion
Fred says you need to consider the flavours guests will encounter at the event.
‘For a big dinner party, try purchasing in bulk, opting for one or two affordable wine varieties that pair well with a variety of foods,’ he says.
‘Look at the dominant flavours of what you’ll be eating (e.g. salty, citrusy, creamy), as salty food brings out the fruit flavours in wine and decreases the bitterness, while citrusy or creamy foods balance out high-acidity wines.
‘For a more relaxed evening watching a movie with a partner or friend, choose one or two affordable wine options which you can enjoy with your movie snacks.
‘For instance, if you love a fruity finish, go for a French Pinot Noir or an Italian red – such as M&S’s Montepulciano d’Abruzzo – packed full of ripe cherry flavours.’
Your tastes won’t broaden until you’ve shopped about a bit.
‘Don’t be afraid to experiment with new varieties, until you find a new bottle that captures your interest,’ he says.
‘Good wine doesn’t have to come from the classic regions that we usually hear about, explore different regions and origins and notice the difference in the tasting notes.
‘For instance, M&S’s Classics wine range offers an Italian Mixed Case, so you can explore the various well-known and lesser-known wine regions across Italy, all in one convenient and affordable case.’
Don’t default to champagne
You heard it here first.
‘When picking out a bottle of fizz for your next celebration, look wider than the classic champagne varieties, and explore the more affordable bottles of Prosecco, Cava, English sparkling or Cremant,’ Fred suggests.
It’ll be kinder on your wallet, too.
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