After enduring too many bottles of cheap, mainly New World, wine as a student, I freely admit that I’m sceptical about buying cheap wine. Given recent hikes in prices, to me this now means anything sub-£7. It’s just false economy, and often a pound or two more, chosen well, buys something in a totally different league.

I was extremely sceptical then when I saw that the Times wine writer, Jane MacQuitty, was doing a series on ‘wines for under a fiver’. Call me a wine snob, but I really would be very wary of picking anything up at less than £5 full-price, so I was intrigued to see what she would come up with.

On Saturday March 6th, MacQuitty covered white wines priced at less than £5, including one fizz and three pudding wines. Well over half are available from the major supermarkets, although there was also a good selection from Majestic.

It was disappointing, but perhaps not suprising to see that of the thirty wines, 21 (including two of her three top choices) were currently on offer at the time, and were all normally priced at more than £5. She does however, perhaps acknowledge this as the supplement mentions ‘amazing deals this month.’

Anyway, I thought I’d abandon my prejudices and give a couple a go, sticking to the handful of wines that normally retail at sub-£5. Although I couldn’t quite bring myself to buy the £3 Marsanne from Asda – even if it was one of MacQuitty’s top three – my first choice, the 2009 Grand Lopez Airén-Sauvignon Blanc (£4.49, Waitrose), had sold out.

However, the 2008 Pujalet (£4.99, Waitrose), a Vin de Pays from South West France, was surprisingly agreeable. I served it in a chiller collar, covering the label to see what comments it elicited blind and my husband, whose palate is even more choosy than mine, was pleasantly surprised.


A blend of Colombard and Ugni blanc, the wine was light with a lovely freshness. It won’t win any awards for flavour and complexity, but the delicate floral nose and zingy citrus notes on the palate made it a refreshing accompaniment to pizza at least!

Whilst I haven’t set aside my concerns about sub-£5 wines completely, on this basis I will look out for the Grand Lopez, and report shortly on MacQuitty’s recommended reds.