Wine aisleThere's no wine in the house and with only ten minutes to go before the food is ready what can you do? Buying the meal-matching wine from the local village shop or corner convenience store is the best strategy when time is limited.

Small independent shops may only stock around the fifth of the range on offer in supermarkets but you'll still be able to choose a reasonably priced and tasting wine from one of the 20 or 30 on offer. The choice will be limited to brands you've probably never heard of but are cheap, or reliable big-name brands like South Africa's Kumala and Californian blends from Gallo and Blossom Hill that will cost around £7 a bottle – always expect to pay a couple of pounds more than you would if buying the bottle from Tesco or Sainsbury's.

Chosen for their ability to sell quickly and appeal to as many customers as possible, these bulk-bottle wines offer pleasant freshness with a light fruity taste that will match almost any dish. The small shop owner will never be a source of specialist wines but what stock there is will match most of their customers' meals, whether that's slow-cooked braised beef or take-away haddock and chips.

PG Wine Reviews

Aldi Venturer range

Aldi Andarra Chilean Sauvignon Blanc

£3.99 Aldi

Creamy pineapple and grapefruit flavours.

Co-op Fairtrade Argentinean Bonarda Shiraz

£4.99 Co-op

Light cherry flavours. A good house red that'll match most foods.

Wolf Blass Australian Eaglehawk Shiraz

£5.99 Tesco

Tastes like the final part of a meal with its coffee, damson and cream flavours.

Fetzer Bel Arbor Californian Zinfandel

£6 Asda

Fetzer is one of the world's most popular wine brands so you'll be able to pick up a bottle of their reliable wines almost anywhere. This red Zinfandel is currently available at Asda at a pretty good price but your local corner shop or garage may also stock it. Expect flavours of raspberry sauce.

Spar Modesta Spanish Red

£7.09 Spar

Dark and fruity with a smoky edge.

Spar Italian Gavi

£6 Spar (offer price)

Simple white stuff that tastes of lemon, apple and pear.

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

Tasting sheetIf these weekly columns have inspired you to organise your own wine tasting at home, then you'll need to get some kit together. Buy yourself some large wine glasses (cheap supermarket ones will do) for capturing any wine aromas released when the wine is swirled prior to sniffing and tasting. And to help you keep track of all the wines you taste why not use my free wine tasting sheet available from goddard wine tasting sheet.pdf

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?

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?