Value Wine for Party Time

In the name of dedicated journalism, DAVID PARKE and friends try the cheapest of the cheap in the wine stakes.

If you’re as strapped-for-cash as I am, but still looking for an enjoyable tipple without having to take a bail-out from the European Central Bank, help is at hand!

Our four guinea pigs were 1st year students Tom, Anna, Lizzie and Abi, aka ‘Bollinger’, due to her penchant for buying expensive alcohol. What follows are their experiences ordeals with the three of the cheapest bottles of plonk that Cambridge has to offer.

1) Pinot Grigio Veneto, Selwyn College Bar, £4.80

Fairly representative of every college’s under-a-fiver white. Described as having “an intense and delicate flavour” and “pairing nicely with seafood and cheese cracker combinations”, let’s find out what out testers had to say…

Anna: Oh Jesus, that’s intense alright – a bit like being hit in the face with a potent fart.

Lizzie: I can see where they’re getting the ‘seafood’ from. There’s a definite aftertaste of crabsticks.

Tom: *takes a small sip* It’s not actually that bad… *aftertaste hits him* Oh God, what is that?!

Bollinger: *smelling the top of the bottle* That. Smells. Like. Feet.

Final verdict: If you like the taste of greasy fish, you’ll love this.

2) Kooliburra reserve Shiraz, Aldi, £3.99.

The label tells us that this wine displays “an intensity of red berries, leading to black olives, cloves and spice” and that “the finish lingers”. Our tasters will confirm that once again, the finish most definitely lingers.

Not quite right for your first date

Anna:  Well I can definitely taste the olives. And maybe a little bit of vinegar too.

Lizzie: Are you sure this is even wine?

Tom: It tastes like the Mahal.

Bollinger: *runs to the sink to spit it out*

Final verdict: More like a gone-off Greek salad than a wine, this is probably one to avoid.

3) Canti Merlot Sangiovese Sicilia, Sainsbury’s, £4.99

Representing the higher end of cheap vino, a rather modest description on the bottle informs us that this has a “distinct bouquet of berries”. After the previous two disappointments, could this turn out to be a hit with our tasters?

No need to be careful with this one

Anna: I’ve definitely had worse, but if anyone bought this for me, I’d probably be insulted.

Lizzie: The only berry this smells like is Halle Berry, if she hadn’t showered for a week.

Tom: That’s a bit harsh… although I’d probably only drink it if pennied.

Bollinger: Please can we open a bottle of something that doesn’t taste like fish, olives or Hollywood actresses? I’m not sure if my palate can take much more …

Final verdict: Possibly the best out of the three, we still needed a plug hole to pour the rest of it down.

So, when it comes to wine Cambridge perhaps isn’t the best place to tighten your belt. It’s worth investing in a bottle worth at least £6.99 if you want to enjoy your evening, and probably £9.99 if you want to feel like ever drinking again the next day.

If you go to a posh college, there might even be a wine bursary you could apply for to fund your amatory shenanigans. Otherwise, stick to cocktails or beer – there’s far less chance of projectile vomit.

  • Frequent Buyer

    Just came from the shops and there's about a dozen bottles of wine that are less than £5 and probably taste better. Poor research…

    • Sheesh!

      As usual with the Tab, it wasn't meant to be brilliant investigative journalism, it's just a bit of fun. Lighten up.

      • Frequent Buyer

        Difference between bit of fun and then actually putting some effort in…

        • The effort police

          Were you there the whole time this highly scientific experiment was taking place? you are making unfounded accusations based upon a gut feeling ( and a single trip to 'the shops') . That is unscientific and poor form.

  • Pretentious bollocks

    There are plenty of bottles in Sainsburys on 2 for £10 offers which, if you were told cost £10-15 each, whilst perhaps you wouldn't orgasm in delight, but niether would you spit out and cry about…. I'd be intrigued to see "Bollinger"'s reaction if you gave her a standard £15-20 bottle cava in a Cristal bottle and the Cristal in a Sainsbury's own-brand bottle; bet she'd prefer the cava….

    • Silly bollocks

      Bollinger clearly has ideas above her station. People like her give cambridge a bad name.

      • Rude Bollocks

        What exactly is 'her station', and what are the appropriate ideas for it? I fail to see exactly what is wrong with appreciating quality, nor in being willing to pay for it. It's not as if the article mocks people for being unable to afford good wine, or for not being interested in buying quality. If you don't care for it, alright, but it's inverse snobbery of the worst kind to judge those who do.

  • this sucks

    These people all sound like pretentious twats. What sort of students drink wine anyway?

    • ummm

      I'm assuming this is a joke?; what students don't drink wine?!?!

      • this sucks

        sigh.. I guess students at normal universities then

      • Er.

        Most non-Oxbridge ones.

        • Tiger blood

          Still not true, they do pre-drink too…

  • Feel Mislead

    The rhyme-y title sets this article up to be a bit of a laugh, but it's not. It's snobby and piss poor. And totally subjective.
    Next time write one about how a group of preppy teens think all clothes are tacky unless they've got a Hollister label?

  • TPJurassic

    Value wine gives me a headache the next morning – not conducive for paying attention in my Zoology lectures!

    • TPJ


      • The Original TPJ

        I do Zoology when I'm not at training, problem?

  • Stalin

    Khvanchkara every time.

  • Groovy Knight

    Can't believe Sainsbury's Spanish red wine is not here, £3.39 for 75cl of 12% "red fruit flavours" bliss. Poor research indeed, that or the researcher is a snob.

    • Bandana

      Well I guess you could say it is red and sticky!

  • Pitiful

    If you were wine, you'd come in a box.

  • lol @ old joke

    I used to drink cheap wine before I took an arrow to the knee

  • Chairman

    Clearly none of you have any kind of experience of good wine. I've had that Merlot Sangiovese a few times and for £4.99, and discounting for the fact it's Italian, it's damn good!

  • Bottled it

    Stop whining about the cheap plonk!

  • Engineer

    (Alcohol Content * Volume) / Price is the only indicator you need, the higher the better. Everything else is secondary.

  • just…

    go to sainsburys and buy whichever £8-£10 bottle is being sold at half price.

  • Sainsburys house

    Are you blind?

    • Sainsburys basics

      or just dumb?

    • Taste the Difference

      Maybe after drinking a bottle of you…

  • TP- va-JJ

    I would buy wine but i'm too much of a pussy

  • TPChemist

    You're all wasting your time on this wine rubbish – just get a natsci friend to swipe some ethanol from labs and have it with shloer – glorious – and lots of fruity legs too!

  • Economist

    "without having to take a bail-out from the European Central Bank"

    Go home.

  • Soave Character

    Why am I not included?

  • Daily Mail

    Jokes aside, objectively this article is a piece of shit. It is trying to tell cash-strapped students not to buy wine unless it's pushing a tenner. At least ONE of these characters could have represented the 'voice-of-reason' type. Otherwise why are there 5 people (inc. author) telling us the same thing? Poor journalism.

  • We Love


    • Give

      a shit mate

  • You have forgotten

    Aldi's wine at £2.49 a bottle

  • The best wines…

    are 14.5% or above.

  • Awful

    What a shit article. So much potential for humour, and maybe even an earnest recommendation, but…no. Pretentious twats, they probably drink the very same wine at formals quite happily, or are loaded enough to spend 20+ quid on a bottle on a regular basis. Good for them…

  • Insider info

    Someone I know who is a wine buyer for supermarkets said that, out of the lower price range, the better wines are normally the ones with the supermarket's own name on them.

  • Terry Bird

    Forrin Muck! What abaat some English wine, mate?

  • £3.57

    Easy drinking by the 3rd glass.

Heard something newsworthy?

REVIEW: Philadelphia, Here I Come!

Jamie P. Robson is enchanted by this pitch-perfect production of Brian Friel’s humorous, touching play about the uncertainties of leaving home.

Cambridge has a huge class problem

You don’t need to be embarrassed if you grew up in a house with a dining room.

, Contributing Editor

This video shows how 200 new skyscrapers will alter London forever

It looks completely different

, Contributing Editor

Where and how you’re most likely to die taking a selfie

Don’t pose with grenades

, Contributing Editor

People who say ‘Landan’ need to stop

You don’t sound like Danny Dyer, you sound like a dickhead

, Chief Reporter

LSD is essentially a good thing, says science

Two studies have found it can make you happier and might help to reduce domestic violence