Supermarkets love wine. Unlike heavily branded products (soap powder or razor blades for example), the wine sector is very fragmented. It means that no one knows what the bottle they are drinking is really worth. Hence in the UK there are all these eye-catching ‘better than half price’ deals where a little known wine is sold for a stratospherically expensive price for a few weeks before being reduced back to something like its real value. It is a con. In Portugal things are rather better in that, because nearly all the wine is Portuguese and not nearly so highly taxed, most consumers have a better idea of its real value. At one time the Portuguese supermarkets held their promotions, their feiras, during vintage. Now they seem to be holding them the whole year round. Both Pingo Doce and Continente, two of Portugal’s largest retailers, are currently holding feiras and promoting wines at low prices. Our wine, Duas Pedras, is currently being sold by Continente at €5.49. I can assure you that this is a bargain and not a con! But Duas Pedras is far from being the cheapest wine on the shelf as there are a number of ‘super preço’ wines priced at less than €2.00. The cheapest bottle with regional origin that I found comes from the Alentejo and is priced at €1.59, which must mean the wine inside is worth just a fewcentimos (cents). More surprising however are the number of reduced price Douro reds. The Douro is one of the most expensive places in the world to grow grapes and yet there are bottles on sale for as little as €2.59. Someone, somewhere here can’t be making any money on this and you can be sure that it isn’t the supermarket.
19 - 20 An outstanding wine (*****)
17 – 18 An excellent wine in its class, highly recommended (****)
15 - 16 A good wine, with much to recommend it (***)
13 - 14 An enjoyable but simple, straightforward wine (**)
10 – 12 A very ordinary wine without faults but with no great merit (*)
8 - 10 Disagreeable (no stars)
Below 8 Faulty