When I think of “Friday-night wines”, I mean styles suitable for a no-frills, laid-back evening in, just for yourself, or à deux, or maybe with a couple of good friends. Not a dinner party, mind, and not involving serious cooking. The television and sofa may well form part of it; slippers optional. So, what sort of wine do we want when we are relaxing at the end of the working week?
In the red corner, nothing too heavy and tannic. The most burly of premium reds demand fine dishes to match, and a lazy Friday night doesn’t call for that. I want softer, juicier styles. As for whites, I don’t think the very oaky sort works, either – the toasty, vanilla-laced varieties. Stick to easy-drinking, brightly fruity whites, crisp and refreshing.
Friday nights in often mean a takeaway, so my food-matching suggestions this week include some typical takeaway dishes. Wines such as unoaked chardonnays, Rhône blends and muscadets are versatile – they can be enjoyed on their own or with a range of dishes – and they’re effortless food matchers.
I want to be able to pick up my Friday-night wine easily, on the way home from work, perhaps. And good value is paramount, too – this is not the kind of evening for splashing out. All the wines below are on special offer at the moment – snap them up this evening and chill out.
14%, Tesco, £8, down to £7 for Clubcard holders until April 3
A grenache-dominant blend from the hot southern Rhône, with some savoury notes and a bit of sweet spice along with blackcurrant and black cherry. Very good with a rich beef stew, roast root vegetables, rosemary and garlic, and more simply, pepperoni pizza.
13.5%, Marks & Spencer, £9.50, down to £7.50 until April 10, in-store only
Interesting, ripe but fresh blend of mainly garnacha blanca (white grenache) with 15% macabeo, one of the Cava grapes, from high-altitude, chalky sites in north-east Spain. A peachy, dry, lightly peppery white that’s great with savoury pastries such as a chicken pie or a red-pepper quiche. Note the relatively high abv; it isn’t a quaffing white…
13.5%, Morrisons, £8.25, down to £7 in Scotland until March 28, in England and Wales until April 11
Appealing offer on an easy-drinking, soft but rich carménère. This grape delivers spicy hints along with black fruit, and it’s a particularly fine match for spicy meat dishes such as lamb rogan josh or pork/beef fajitas. It’s made by Cono Sur for Morrisons.
13%, Tesco, £7.50, down to £6.50 for Clubcard holders until April 3
The Porcupine Ridge range from respected winemaker Marc Kent is great value; this youthful chardonnay is unoaked and majors on bright fruit – pineapple and orange peel burst out – and there’s a rich hint of butterscotch. An easy-going white that pairs up nicely with chicken, including fried and tikka masala.
12%, Sainsbury’s, £8.50, down to £7 until April 11
This is exactly the sort of wine I put in my fridge for a Friday night in, to drink on its own or with fish and chips or a homemade vegetable risotto. It’s got refreshing green apple, grapefruit and lemon and a hint of yeast to round it out. Fairly light at 12% – eye-catching offer, too.
More from Susy Atkins: The best new gins to hail the start of spring
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