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Welcome to the first ever woman&home Wine Awards, designed to make it easy for you to find great-tasting, top-quality wines for any occasion – the ideal glass of bubbly to serve to party guests, a special bottle for a midweek treat or a pull-out-the-stops number to wow dinner-party guests or special occasions.
We’ve chosen wines that are food-friendly, ones that can fuel a party and ones that stand proudly beside your festive centrepiece. Enjoy them with friends, with family – or make a quiet dinner for two extra-special.
We’ve selected reliable standbys from traditional regions across France, Italy, Spain and the New World – but you will also find wines from less-familiar grape varieties and upcoming wine regions, all ripe for discovery. Each of the wines selected by our tasting panel can be trusted to deliver on taste and value for money.
How we tested
Our tasting panel, led by the wine experts at our sister title, Decanter (opens in new tab), joined by members of the woman&home food and lifestyle team, selected wines for their quality and taste. The tasters knew the prices of the wines at the time of tasting so that we could make straight judgements about value for money. We also judged the wines on how well they would work with food, with a few suggested food pairings.
DOC: Italy | 11% ABV | £9.99 | M&S
Made for M&S at a family-run estate in north-east Italy’s Veneto region, this is textbook Prosecco. The gentle apple and pear fruit flavours are crisp and defined, offset by a gentle fizz. A great party wine that’s relatively low in alcohol.
Spain | 11.5% ABV | £11.49 | Waitrose
A Cava with character, this wine has attractive saline notes mixed with green-apple flavours. Bright, clean, and intense, it would work brilliantly with tapas and savoury canapés.
Spain | 12% ABV | £14 | M&S
A step up from basic Cava, the extra bottle age gives this wine more depth. We liked the gentle almond notes among the bright lemony notes.
DOC: Italy | 11.5% ABV | £7.99 | Aldi
Friendly on the planet and the palate, it is citrusy and gently herbaceous, with a welcome touch of sweetness to balance the acidity. Refreshing, party-ready – and great value.
France | 12.5% ABV | £22 | M&S
A beautiful golden colour, creamy texture, aromas of buttered toast and flavours of lemon curd and delicate bubbles… This wine has everything you could want from a good Champagne, and it comes at an affordable price.
France | 12.5% ABV | £26.99 | Waitrose
Top supermarket Champagne. Cranberry and redcurrant, with lively acidity. Would work well with food too, making it a great celebratory wine.
England | 12.5% ABV | £39.99 | Virgin Wines
With grapes harvested from a village in East Sussex, a few years of bottle age have given it beautiful brioche and pastry aromas. Elegant and complex, it’s a brilliant example of English sparkling wine.
England | 11.5% ABV | £22 | M&S
Made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes grown on the Hush Heath Estate, this wine strikes a balance between complexity and approachability. The ripe pear and apple fruit is underscored by smoky, flinty hints. Balanced, drinkable and affordable too.
White, Rosé, and Dessert Wine
France | 13% ABV | £15.99 (£13.99 for 6) | Majestic
Complex and elegant, with flavours of ripe apples, buttered toast, hazelnuts and lemon. Ideal for the festive table.
France | 12.5% ABV | £14.95 | Co-op
Winner of best supermarket own label wine, this delivers great Chardonnay fruit character and an appealing texture, with elegance and balance – all for an affordable price.
Spain | 13% ABV | £12.50 | Abel & Cole
Fresh, easy-going with appealing flavours of ripe apple and tropical fruit. A portion of the profits go to ocean conservation projects.
Portugal | 12% ABV | £5.29 | Aldi
A vibrant freshness, citrus acidity, and floral, grapefruit-pith flavours make this a real palate-awakener. Great value too.
Germany | 12.5% ABV | £9.50 | M&S
Pinot Blanc grapes give this a delicate aroma of white flowers and a pleasing nuttiness. Try it with your cheeseboard.
Greece | 12.5% ABV | £10 | M&S
A blend of Assyrtiko and pink-skinned Moschofilero grapes, it has crunchy redcurrant fruit flavours. Crisp, dry and stylish – a natural partner for seafood.
Best Red Wines
Italy | 14% ABV | £15.99 | Waitrose
With cherry flavours and hints of dried spices, this wine will delight lovers of Italian reds. Food friendly, try it with slow-cooked stews or pasta with tomato-based sauces.
Australia | 14% ABV | £13.99 | Virgin Wines
McLaren Vale is the home of big, bold, spicy Shiraz, and this is a textbook example. Rich, deep, with sweet ripe fruit and hints of leather, serve it with roast beef or game.
Spain | 13.5% ABV | £12.50 | Asda
Oak-ageing gives hints of vanilla and underscores damson and prune flavours. Top value for a wine of this age and quality.
Argentina | 14% ABV | £16.99 | Waitrose
Here, ripe, soft, chocolatey fruit has a savoury twist, with touches of soy and black pepper. A natural for wintry stews.
Italy | 14.5% ABV | £13.99 | Waitrose
Juice is passed over the grape skins twice to give a deeper colour and more body. This version is spicy and well balanced, soft, ripe, velvety and approachable.
France | 13.5% ABV | £34.99 (£28.99 each for 6) |Majestic
Classic Bordeaux, this has notes of leather, cigar box, and thyme beneath flavourful red-berry fruit. Decant before serving with a forerib of beef or a festive cheeseboard.
France | 13% ABV | £28.99 (£24.99 each for 6) | Majestic
Made from the fruit of 45-year-old vines and oak-aged for 14 months, this is silky-smooth and elegant with luscious red-berry fruit. A festive must-have.
Portugal | 13% ABV | £7.99 | Aldi
This is nicely scented, with plum and blackberry fruit notes, and hints of cedar, black pepper, and spice. Well made and incredible value.
South Africa | 13.5% ABV | £8 | M&S
Made using South Africa’s signature red grape, this is packed with black cherries, has a juicy palate and a touch of bitter chocolate and smoke. Perfect midweek with pasta or a stew.
Portugal | 14% ABV | £8 | M&S
Alicante Bouschet will be new to many, but is impressive here with juicy, crushed-cherry and blueberry aromas, and subtle smoky hints. Serve lightly chilled with charcuterie. This variety, a cross created in Austria in 1922, can be made in a range of styles. This one is light-bodied, with lip-smackingly juicy-berry fruit, and is dangerously easy to drink. If you like Pinot Noir, you’ll love this.
Best Alternative Wines
Italy | 11.5% ABV | £22 | dellavite.com
This candy-floss pink Prosecco from the Delevigne sisters is made in a largely solar-powered winery. It’s unlikely anyone will turn down a glass of this well-made, frothy, strawberry-ish fizz this party season.
Fizzero Zero Alcohol Sparkling White | £4.50 | M&S
The variety and quality of ‘no’ and ‘low’ alcohol wines has never been higher. Fizzero blends fermented grape juice with green tea for dryness and mouthfeel. It looks just like a bottle of fizz. The sweetish apple and grape flavours have a subtle note of lychees.
Special Recognition Awards
This part of the wine awards recognises the wine ranges and styles that stood out to the judges during panel tastings.
Best classic range: Waitrose No.1
Wines from Waitrose’s No.1 range are made in collaboration with top wine producers around the world. Winning wines such as Waitrose No.1 Piccini Estate Chianti Classico Riserva 2017, Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore DOC 2018, Castillo Perelada Cava Brut, and Sauternes Château Suduiraut AOC 2015 give drinkers a taste of classic wine styles, and based on our tasting, that’s what these well-made wines deliver.
Others in the range to look out for include Waitrose No.1: Douro Valley Reserva Quinta da Rosa (£12.49), a great dinner party red; Pouilly-Vinzelles Joseph Drouhin (£26.99), a special white Burgundy for friends; and, for your festive table, Symington Crusted Port (£19.99).
Most innovative range: M&S Found
M&S launched its Found range in 2021 to shine a spotlight on ‘hidden gems’ from around the world – that could be unfamiliar grape varieties or lesser-known wine regions. We applaud M&S for encouraging wine drinkers to be more adventurous. The winning wines we tasted, M&S Found Weissburgunder 2021 from Germany, Alicante Bouschet DOC 2021 from Portugal, and Zweigelt 2021 from Austria certainly fit the bill.
Others to look out for? Try M&S Found: Blanquette de Limoux (£10), a well-made sparkler from France; Ribolla Gialla (£7.50), a citrus-fresh, crisp white from Italy; and Xinomavro & Mandilaria (£9.50), a supple red blend from Greece.
Miranda McMinn is the editor of woman&home magazine, the brand that prides itself on celebrating, supporting, and inspiring midlife women. Previously she has worked on magazines and newspapers including Marie Claire, Red, The Times, the Observer, and the Daily Mail.
A midlife warrior herself, Miranda has three children and has a passion for country walks, log fires, and winter swimming—she swims all year round in the Hampstead Ladies Pond and heartily recommends it—nothing like a dip in a 4 degree pond to get you ready to face the day!
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