Of the reds, the maligned Beaujolais comes into its own. It is a red that can properly be served chilled. The best are the select crus, particularly Brouilly and Moulin-à-Vent. However, all suppliers stock a wide range of Beaujolais Village which is immaculate for a barbecue. Drink young.
Apparently, more Prosecco is being bought than ever before. Sadly, some is filthy. The very best at a fair price is Tesco Finest; look for the revered name Bisol on the label. It is just £8. Some wine merchants sell Bisol for nearly double.
Both Aldi Champagne at £10 and its £7 French Blanquette sparkling are acceptable. Oddly, its recent foray into more expensive bottles at £9.99 is a disappointment.
Marks & Spencer stocks some tremendous bottles and constantly have deals on as well. On a recent visit, an Italian white was halved from £10. By buying a mixed case of six, one secured another 25% off and so it cost £3.75. Real value. Both the white 2014 Mâcon-Villages (it has a number ending 703 on the back label) and red Solliard Bordeaux are serious. The Château Gillet red from Bordeaux at £8 is impressive too.
Marks has got adventurous, as its Cabernets from Bolivia and Chile, Casa de Colores, demonstrate. It stocks both the white and pink fizz made by Graham Beck, a serious producer in South Africa. He makes his wine in the classical manner and it shows. At £13 this is a clever alternative to official Champagne. If you like rosé (sadly it is generally a pretty colour rather than a great drink) you can buy for £18 Miraval, as made by Brad and Angelina on their French estate.
A much cheaper pink sold at Wine Rack for £6.99 is Les Calandières.
The safest bets at Sainsbury’s remain the Limoux Chardonnay at £8 and, madly, the Romanian Pinot Noir at £4.79. We were recently given a glass of French Pinot from a £32 bottle. The Sainsbury’s tasted better! Again, deals here are regular so pounce when multi-buy offers appear.
Asda has launched a range of wines. Best is its Spanish Cigale red at £5.97. Luscious and tasting expensive, it comes with a gorgeous, colourful label too.
Moving upmarket, Planeta Chardonnay from Sicily does a remarkable job of emulating very good Burgundy but at £21 a bottle. You will find it in the deli section of Carluccios. The Fortnum and Mason own label selection is astonishing. One can order online. Its Rosé Champagne is £15 cheaper than the price at which the maker sells under its own name.
If eating out in London or Manchester bear in mind that the Hawksmoor restaurant group charges corkage of £5 on a Monday, regardless of the size of the bottle. Sartoria, with a brilliant Italian menu, has a Monday wine list where some regular prices are halved.
Finally, good glasses. We urge you to visit TK Maxx. Look out for the Spiegelau brand. Very impressive and for £9.99 you can get four big Bordeaux glasses of the best quality.
Contibutors Professor Dominic Regan and Sean Jones QC