Three quid bargain wine

Mont Tauch labelMany wine experts predicted the extinction of the three pound bottle from Britain's supermarket wine aisles following the Chancellor's recent duty increases. But rummage among the expensive named chateau in the 'French' wine aisle of your nearest Somerfield supermarket and you'll find a great bargain hiding behind a sepia monstrosity of a wine label. Mont Tauch Corbières 2006 may not look much from the outside but the young and vibrant wine inside will get you excited.

meat balls and spaghetti Why? Because this blackcurranty tasting blend of Carignan, Mourvèdre and Syrah grapes is on offer at £3.19 a bottle until 3 June 2008. If you can't get to a Somerfield before the offer expires don't worry. The normal bottle price is just 30p more at £3.49. That's still an amazing price for a fruity astringent 'plonk' that goes well with meaty munchy foods like pasta, pizza and bolognese.

And the offer price gets even more bargainacious if you take six bottles through the checkout. Like its other supermarket rivals Somerfield offers an extra 5% discount when you buy six or more bottles of wine (they don't all have to be the same but they can be). So buy half a case of this southern French red and each bottle works out at just three pounds and thruppence.

But if you're looking for sophistication you're not going to find it in this blend of grapes sourced from the Cooperative des Producteurs du Mont Tauch. The elderberry aroma and under-ripe berry flavours do soften upon decanting but the wine's essential raw character still remains - all the way to the last drop.grapes

If you do want something a little less rough around the edges then try the same producing cooperative's Fitou. This is essentially the same wine but with grapes sourced from a smaller area and with a higher proportion of the quality grape varieties Syrah and Mourvèdre. Tannic Carignan, the greater per percentage of basic Corbières, doesn't possess enough of the balancing acidity which is essential if a wine is to survive and not break down after a couple of years in a bottle. Beef up the Syrah and Mourvèdre in the blend and your Fitou should keep, and soften, into the next decade.

Mont Tauch Fitou is available at both Sainsbury's and Waitrose for £5.99.