The Tab’s guide to Tesco bargain wine

The good, the bad and the ugly – straight from the bottom shelf.

best guide tab tesco wine
“Wine is bottled poetry” – Robert Louis Stevenson

We all know the feeling, standing in front of the booze shelves in Tesco looking lost, dazed and confused as we browse the endless amount of wine – 95% of which you probably can’t afford.

But have no fear, for the Tab has reviewed some of the best and worst wines available for under £5 (albeit in a completely unhelpful manner) so you don’t waste your time on shit that tastes like lighter fluid.

It’s not exactly Decanter magazine and there’ll certainly be no polite spitting – it’s all going down the hatch. Don’t except any corks either – remember screw caps are a sign of innovation, not cheapness.

One day you’ll be drinking from the top shelf. But that day is not today.


Blossom Hill – California

11.5% ABV


Description: “Perfect for sharing on any occasion” – sharing this wine would be straight up anti-social, on any occasion.

Taste: Sharp, sour, shit. Quite acidic on the tongue. Could be actual acid. Not sure where the “luscious melon flavours” have got to.

Rating: 1/5

Oxford Comparison: Marston Ferry swimming pool – smells of chlorine, may contain urine.

The white

Echo Falls – California

12% ABV


Description: “Tastes sublime when pasta is on the menu” – so if you’re self-catered and living out, that’s all the time.

Taste: Cheap wank from across the pond and another name that sounds like an American teen-drama set on a college campus in the early noughties. There’s the faintest touch of some undesignated fruit but it’s still painfully bland.

Rating: 2/5

Oxford Comparison: St Hugh’s – uninspired, easily forgotten, lacking substance.

Black Tower – Germany

9.5% ABV


Description: “A spicy pinot grigio that’s easy drinking” – of course it’s easy, you’d get pissed quicker sniffing shandies.

Taste: Irrelevant – yes it’s actually mildly palatable but that’s because it doesn’t contain any alcohol. Don’t be caught out by the token over-sized bottle, it’s exciting I know, but we must remember why we’re here; chronic intoxication.

Rating: 0/5

Oxford Comparison: Rowing – seems great, but merely a façade; a pointless pursuit leading only to sobriety.


Isla Negra – Chile

12.5% ABV


Description: “Isla Negra is a seaside village, famous for the artists and writers who come to be inspired by the ocean and the mystical landscape” – can we get drunk now?

Taste: Really quite decent. It’s actually a £10 wine but Tesco seem to have it permanently half price – not sure whether this is a good or a bad thing, but hey, it tastes alright. Can’t quite pick out the “ripe plum and raspberry”, but it’s certainly full bodied, with a strong intensity [insert other generic wine-tasting terminology].

Rating: 4/5

Oxford Comparison: Christchurch BOPs – intense, full of character, sometimes fiery.

The reds

Tesco Everyday Value Red Wine – Spain

11% ABV

£4.00 (for 1 litre)

Description: “An uncomplicated wine” – well that’s one way of describing it.

Taste: Oh come on it’s in a carton, don’t do this to yourself. One review on the Tesco website describes it as “harsh with no redeeming qualities”. Wine should only be drunk out of a cardboard box on the Varsity ski trip.

Rating: 1/5

Oxford Comparison: Donner @ Hassan’s – potentially detrimental to your health, morally frowned upon, comes in a box.

Tesco Australian Cabernet Sauvignon

13.5% ABV


Description: “A smooth, medium-bodied red with berry fruit flavours” – I concur.

Taste: What taste, its £3.80 and a beefy 13.5%! This really is the best bottle to enter into alcoholism. You know how they drink wine like water in Game of Thrones? They’re drinking this.

Rating: 5/5

Oxford Comparison: Spoons – cheap, loved by all, nurses alcoholics.

So, what have we learnt today?

American wine is wank, cheap white tastes far worse than cheap red, and always check the ABV. In general, if you’re going to buy cheap, I’d suggest sticking to a red; unlike the vast majority of whites under £5, they don’t taste like they’ve had a dishwasher tablet dissolved in them.