I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all been drinking a bit more at home recently, right? Without being able to go to the pub, but with the sun still shining almost every weekend, I’m sure I’ve not been alone in enjoying a glass of wine at home.
Drinking wine out and about often means looking at the prices and choosing the second cheapest one that sounds ok (who’s with me?), but buying wine to drink at home means more choice, and being able to drink much fancier wine. I’d never be able to afford to drink the wine we have at home out in a restaurant!
Anyway, with so much choice out there and so many places to buy your lockdown wine, I wanted to share the best wine I’ve had during lockdown and the best places to buy them online.
At the bottom of the post, I’ve also included a new secret that I’ve just discovered for avoiding those wine hangovers. I never intended to include it here, but I’m so surprised it works that I couldn’t resist!
Looking for other ways to stay entertained during lockdown that don’t just involve drinking? Take a look at these posts:
- How to Spice up Your Daily Lockdown Walk
- Virtual Travel Experiences to Enjoy from Home
- 10 Things to Do at Home During Lockdown
Where to Buy Your Lockdown Wine
To be honest, supermarket wine is pretty good these days! Co-op and Morrisons in particular have very reasonably priced bottles in their own brand ranges, which usually taste great. Of course you can also order a home delivery from the supermarket to help with social distancing, but there’s nothing like a knock on the door from someone there specifically to deliver your wine.
Corney & Barrow
I’m going to start with Corney & Barrow because this is where we get the majority of our wine, mainly down to the fact that we have a friend who works for them. Putting all of our trust in Adam, we let him select a mix of wines for us based on his knowledge of wine and what we like.
Of all the bottles that Adam has chosen for us, I can only think of one bottle that I didn’t like – everything else has been spot on. Everyone needs an Adam. Of course I have a few favourite bottles from Corney & Barrow, and I’ll share these with you later in this blog post.
Adam has kindly said that I can share his email address with you incase you really do want your own Adam – it’s email@example.com and let him know that I sent you his way.
As I live in Leeds and love to support the local businesses here, I had to include Wayward Wines. Don’t worry, they deliver across the country! Their wines are more expensive than what we’ve been drinking during lockdown (cheapest bottle online is £13.50 and for most of them you’re looking at £20-£30 a bottle) but it’s good wine and delivery is free in Leeds for orders over £30 and free everywhere in the UK for orders over £95. Once lockdown is over, you can visit their cute bottle shop in Leeds too.
Another Leeds business, but again delivering UK wide during lockdown. Their L4 (Latitude Liquid Liberation Lifeline) collections make wine ordering easy. They have mixed wine cases, premium mixed wine cases, cocktail packs and G&T packs and everything is very reasonably priced too. A mixed case of wine (red, white or mixed) is £55 for 6 bottles, including free delivery if you live in a Leeds postcode.
If you’re Leeds based, please pop into the shop/wine cave after lockdown for their wine knowledge and expertise, and try some of their wines which are selected based purely on taste, with plenty of research to make sure every wine tastes excellent!
Adnams are most famous for their beer, but their wine (and their gin) is equally good. They’ve been brewing beer in the quaint English town of Southwold for over 670 years and we always pick up a case of wine, at least one bottle of gin and a few beers from their shop whenever we visit.
But the great news is that you can *order online for delivery all over the UK, and their wine is both delicious and affordable.
My favourite Adnams wine? Their White Burgandy Cuvée Paul Talmard. This wine is the perfect balance between a light, refreshing white to be drunk ice cold in the sun, and a wine that actually has a fair amount of substance and flavour.
It’s an unoaked Mâcon-Chardonnay with fruity tastes of peach, pear and honeydew melon, and it’s produced by the Talmard family who have been producing wine since the 17th century.
Wine arriving on your doorstep once a month without you even having to remember to order it? Yes please! There are loads of wine clubs and subscription services out there and I couldn’t possibly list them all. They usually pull you in with a great offer, but if you don’t cancel it you could end up spending much more than you intended to on wine.
We’ve done the Sunday Times Wine Club which has been great for red wine in particular, but Wine Society seems to be one of the best out there. My dad is a huge advocate of Wine Society and has used them for years, mixing between everyday drinking wine (amazing value for money with these) and special occasion bottles, which he often buys En Premieur.
En Premieur is basically when you buy wine still in the barrel at the lowest price it will ever be, before the vintage is officially released. You don’t pay tax until it’s shipped to you, and the idea is that you pop the bottle somewhere safe for a few years until it’s ready to drink.
A newer wine subscription service that I’ve spotted recently is Winecroft, which selects fine wines from Michelin starred restaurants and delivers them anywhere in the UK and Europe. You take a scientifically-based taste test to see what your preferences are and get a personalised selection based on that. You get tasting notes and learn how to skilfully select wines from restaurant wine lists.
The pricing is similar to Wayward Wines in that you’re paying £20-30, sometimes a little more, for a bottle of wine. But when you compare that to how much you’d pay for the same bottle in a restaurant (especially a Michelin star one) its incredibly good value for money.
My Top 10 Lockdown Wines
I’ve mentioned already that most of the wine we’ve drunk during lockdown has been from Corney & Barrow, so it will come as no surprise that the wines I’m about to talk about are all from there. These wines come from family-run vineyards, meaning that as well as supporting an independent wine merchant, you’re also supporting small, independent wineries.
You’ll notice that the majority of these wines are white or rosé too, on account of the gorgeous weather we’ve been having! The prices range, with a couple of more expensive ones, but in general these wines aren’t dissimilar to what you might pay for a standard bottle in the supermarket.
I also want to say that I’m by no means a wine expert, and I don’t understand all the complexities of the different varieties and whatnot. These are just the wines that I’ve personally really enjoyed and would recommend, but I also appreciate that we all have very different tastes!
Soave Classico Terre di Bronoligo DOC, Cecilia Beretta
This was one of favourite whites, and I can only describe it as buttery! This Italian wine is made using 100% Garganega grapes grown in the countryside surrounding Verona and Treviso in the north east of Italy.
The grapes are gently pressed and then transferred to stainless steel tanks with selected yeasts and fermented at temperatures controlled between 15-17 C for 15 days. Around 15% of the grape must is then transferred into French oak barriques to finish fermentation which softens acidity and gives it that buttery, creamy richness.
Old Vines Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch, South Africa
I loved this wine before I even tasted it because of it’s back story and it’s link to women’s empowerment. Luckily, it tasted fabulous too!
Old Vines is South Africa’s only women’s empowerment winery, and was started in 1995 by a mother and daughter team who used their background in wine, journalism and business to start their own winery. 16 women and one man are responsible for the production of the wine and the running of the business.
The wine is made from 100% Chenin Blanc grapes and the flavours are fairly complex, yet it goes down an absolute treat with or without food. You’ll notice peach, pear, almond and marzipan, leading to a creamy taste with a touch of acidity.
Ana Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand
If you like a Sauvingnon Blanc this is perfect as, and this might sound a bit obvious, it just tastes like a really good Sauvingnon Blanc! This one comes from a range of high hills between Wairau and Awatere in the Malborough region of New Zealand.
The hills block most of the rain, daytime is warm but nights are cool, and there are strong winds coming from the sea. As a result, you get a distinct mineral taste, along with freshness and acidity. You can’t really go wrong with this wine!
Chardonnay Bodega Ruca Malen 2017
The first wine I had from Bodega Ruca Malen was a red, which I’ve written about below, and I was very excited to try their Chardonnay! The high altitude and UV levels which create a vivid colour in the red, promote freshness and acidity in this white wine.
There’s plenty of complexity amongst the flavours of citrus, apricots, peaches, caramel, vanilla and oak, but the acidity perfectly cuts through and it’s a gorgeous wine.
Picpoul de Pinet, Domaine de Morin-Langaran, Languedoc
The final white I’m going to write about is one that’s exclusive to Corney & Barrow. This French wine is made from Picpoul de Pinet, an old Languedoc grape variety grown on the banks of Lake Thau, in sight of the famous oyster-beds of Bouzigues. The vines are aired by the salty sea breeze, and you get a silky, yet crisp white wine… another one perfect for enjoying in the sunshine!
La Source Gabriel Rosé AOC Cotes de Provence 2018
Provence Rosé is my favourite type of wine! Adnams used to sell one which was quite possibly my favourite wine of all time, but they don’t seem to be doing it anymore. Just a couple of days ago however, I tried La Source Gabriel and it was just as good, if not better. As it comes from a small vineyard of just 10 hectares, the winemaker can give the whole vineyard his full attention.
This rosé is so pale in colour that you could easily mistake it for a white wine at first glance, and it should be enjoyed extra cold in the sunshine. It’s refreshing, delicate and a little fruity (think fresh berries and custard), and I am absolutely obsessed. At £12.95 a bottle it’s not cheap, but it’s absolutely worth it (and compare that to what you’d pay in the pub for a bottle of wine!).
Petit Ballon Rosé, IGP Comté Tolosan, Producteurs Plaimont
If you want a fabulous rosé but don’t want to spend as much as you would on la Source Gabriel, this is the one for you. Another wine exclusive to Corney & Barrow, and again light, refreshing and far too easy to drink! The best way to describe Petit Ballon rosé is strawberries and cream in a drink, but don’t worry, it’s definitely still a dry wine!
Gascony has a rich viticultural history, but in the latter in the latter half of the 20th century its dwindling population saw villages and vineyards abandoned. A local man called André Dubosc was determined to restore the area’s wine reputation in the in 1970s and brought together a group of winemakers to found Producteurs Plaimont in 1979.
Corney & Barrow have been partnering with this vineyard for over 20 years, and in the winter after every harvest, the buyers fly to Gascony to spend time perfecting their house wines with Plaimont’s skilled winemaking team.
Sanziana Pinot Noir Recas Cramele 2018
A couple of year ago I went to Cluj in Romania for a weekend and had my first taste of Romanian wine. Romania hasn’t got the fame of France, Italy and Spain when it comes to European wine, but it really should! Luckily, when we returned Adam had our back with this light, easy-drinking and inexpensive Romanian Pinot Noir, which we’ve since ordered many times (most recently we ordered a case just of this wine).
The Recas Cramale estate is owned by a winemaking team of three families, and includes vineyards that are said to be some of the oldest in the world. It’s a fruity wine with flavours of strawberry, raspberry and cherry, a slight smokiness and the ability to disappear before you’ve even noticed you’re drinking it!
Soraie, Veneto IGT, Cecilia Beretta
This red is made by the same producers as the buttery white I mentioned earlier, and again it’s one of those wines where you really notice the texture as well as the taste.
Soraie is made from a mixture of Merlot, Corvina, Cabernet Sauvignon and Croatina grapes, which are hand picked and semi-dried for a month before fermentation. This means that they lose around 30% of their water content, resulting in more concentrated flavours.
It’s a gorgeously rich and velvety wine, great after some time in a decanter if you have one, and you’ll taste flavours of plums, cherries, vanilla and even chocolate. Yet somehow, this wine isn’t too heavy!
Petit Verdot, Bodega Ruca Malen, Mendoza, Argentina
Uh this wine is so good! Another one for the decanter too, which feels fun and fancy in itself. Bodega Ruca Malen is a boutique winery in Mendoza that was set up in 1998, where vines are grown at high altitude with high levels of UV, resulting in a vivid red colour.
The wine is aged for 12 months in 80% French and 20% American oak barrels, and you get a (very) full-bodied yet smooth red wine, with flavours of black fruit and liquorice. If you want something luxurious to go with your Sunday roast, I highly recommend this.
If you’re starting to plan travel again and love wine, here are some of my favourite places for enjoying fabulous wine (some of them might come as a surprise!):
- The Best Wine and Craft Beer Bars in Wroclaw
- Finding the Best Cicchetti (and Wine) in Venice
- How to Spend 24 Hours in Ljubljana if You Love Food & Wine
- A Glamping Paradise on a Vineyard in Slovenia
- Eating and Drinking in Trento, Trentino
- Cosy Places to Drink in Vilnius
- 7 Things to Do in Cluj Napoca
The Secret to Avoiding a Hangover
I promised I’d finish this post with a secret: the secret to avoiding a hangover. The answer? Drink less!
Only joking. I was kindly gifted a product called Survivor, in return for an instagram post. With absolutely no expectations (I get terrible hangovers and drinking less is the only thing that helps), I never thought I’d be including it in a blog post. But after a heavy night, I was up early the next day being super productive and honestly feeling like I’d not had a drink at all!
Survivor is a pack of capsules that you take whilst you’re drinking, and before bed. You’re supposed to take two every four drinks, which to me felt a little vague – four small glasses of wine is very different to four huge gin and tonics. Then you take another two before you go to sleep.
It’s a natural product, basically a vitamin tablet, that accelerates the breakdown of Acetaldehyde, a byproduct of alcohol that’s more than 40 times more toxic than alcohol itself, and causes many of the hangover symptoms like nausea, stomach inflammation, headaches and general fuzzy brain. It also replenishes nutrients and improves sleep quality.
I was blown away by how well it worked, and wholeheartedly recommend it. However, please don’t let this product make you drink more than you usually would. It might prevent a hangover, but it won’t stop you making bad decisions and it won’t alleviate the next day beer fear. And whilst Survivor does help with the long-term effects of drinking, we all still need to be responsible and look after ourselves.
For 30% off your purchase of Survivor, use the code FRIENDS30.