coins£5.43 is the average-spend on a bottle of supermarket wine. And with the recession predicted to carry on until goodness knows when that amount isn’t likely to increase any time soon - unless our Chancellor of the Exchequer decides to put up alcohol excise duty yet again. And he might - but until that time comes what exactly does an average-priced bottle of wine taste like?

sugar cubesSome may have an aftertaste of over-cooked jam (South African reds seem particularly prone) and some may be over-sweet (adding sugar or concentrated grape must to pad things out can work out cheaper than using 100% freshly-pressed grape juice - all allowable within the wine ‘quality’ laws of many countries) but if you can avoid these then you’ll find some perfectly nice fruity reds and refreshing whites.

But while this average labelled, stoppered and taxed supermarket bottle costs just slightly more than a fiver, the value of the wine inside it works out at only two quid.

And should this bottle retail for £5.43, £3.99 or even £2.99 then the wine inside will be worth even less - possibly as low as 50 pence.

So how can wine makers make a profit at these low, low prices? By mass production and investing a lot of money in modern stainless steel wine facilities that’s how. It’s not romantic, but neither is a discounted 23p tin of own-brand baked beans, and we consume vast quantities of these too.

PG Wine Reviews

blackberriesTesco World of Wine Australian Merlot

£3.99 Tesco

Simple fruity red with flavours of damson, blackberry and crème fraiche.

Aldi Andarra Chilean Merlot

£3.99 Aldi

Bargain of the Week. A very acceptable blackcurrant and toffee-tasting red. There's plenty of other equally good tasting Merlots about that are more expensive.

McGuigan whiteLinda Mora Argentinean white Torrontes 2014

£4.99 Co-op (down from £5.99 until February 24)

If you like your whites floral then this is the wine for you. It's rather cor blimey on the nose followed with peach and apple on the tongue.

McGuigan Classic Australian Semillon Blanc 2012

£5.99 Tesco (down from £7.99 until March 10)

A rather sophisticated flavour mix of pear, lemon zest, peach and kiwi fruit. Plenty going on.

Bioletti's Block Californian Petit Sirah 2013

£5.99 Ocado (down fron £11.99 until February 24)

A flavourful red: fig, blackcurrant and liquorice.

Spar South African Shiraz Reserve

£5.99 Spar

The new bottle label makes this much more appealing and the wine inside's got better too – spicy cherry flavours.

This article also appeared as Paula's Wines of the Week on

pancakes with icecreamAs you squeeze the lemon juice over your pancakes tomorrow will you be contemplating an accompanying glass of wine or a nice cup of tea? Wine isn’t the natural partner of choice for the traditional Shrove Tuesday meal because lemon and the necessary lashings of sugar will almost stop the taste buds registering anything – unless the wine is even sweeter or more acidic than each of the pancake toppings. So what wine, if any, matches these criteria?

heart wine glassSchmoozing with booze this Valentine's Day is a sure-fire way of turning your loved one's knees to jelly. Start by whipping out a bottle of vintage Dom Perignon chilled to 38 degrees Fahrenheit from the fridge, open it (without taking your eye out with the flying cork) before pouring it into elegant champagne flutes.

Christmas baublesFive weeks on from Christmas I'm still left with several partially completed bottles of sherry. So just to help clear away a space on the front room mantelpiece I finished off the contents of the Amontillado and sloshed the sweet into a trifle. Their flavours still hit the spot but they didn't seem quite as fresh as they were when first opened.