Malbec: Is it always better to pay more? - WineUncorked: Wine Reviews and Tips

This is a tale of two supermarket French Malbecs: one costs £4.49 and is Aldi's Vignobles Roussellet Vin de France, and the other – SPAR's M Malbec Pays D'Oc IGP - costing £6.50. Both taste fruitily of damsons, plums and cherries; both are quaffable, and both are excellent value for money. So why does one just taste a little bit more exciting?

It all comes down to money and what you can get for it, and what the wine maker can use it for to put in their bottles.

SPAR's M Malbec may cost two pounds more a bottle but the value of the wine inside is only 50p more than Aldi's Vignobles Roussellet. You see it all comes down to price mark ups.

When the 50p-worth of wine in the Aldi bottle is added on to the cost of making the wine and growing the grapes, plus buying the glass bottles and hiring a bottling line to put the wine in nice containers, then transporting and importing it into the UK where immediately it has a nice large dose of duty and VAT added plus a bit of profit for the supermarket seller it all comes in at a perfectly reasonable and pretty low price (for the UK) of £4.49.

So there's an awful lot going on for that added four quid. And it's a similar story for the SPAR M version but this time we start with a slightly more expensive wine at about £1 in value then all the same costs take place and voilà we have a final price to you squire of £6.50.

But why is the value of the SPAR wine worth twice as much at a pound compared to Aldi's 50p? That's where the IGP vs Vin de France on the label comes in.

IGP, or Indication Géograhique Protégée, indicates the quality level and protected geographical region of the wine inside the bottle. And is one step higher in the quality stakes than the Vin de France criteria, where we see no geographical indication of where the wine comes from except somewhere in France.

So Vignobles Roussellet (also known as La Maison Lacheteau under which it provides Majestic's Lacheteau Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Vin de France at £6.49 and Tesco's Lacheteau Touraine Sauvignon Blanc at £7.50) can source its Vin de France from anywhere within France's borders – getting the best deal it can and buying in bulk.

Where as the protected geographical wine under the IGP label must source all the Malbec from with the southern French region of Pay's D'Oc, plus pass a bit more scrutiny from the palates of the tasting committee.

So higher costs up front for the IGP wine maker per bottle than the Vin de Pays.

So SPAR's M Malbec costs more and has a higher quality wine classification – but does it taste any better? Well yes it does. It's slightlier fruitier with a greater depth of flavour that makes you want to think about opening another bottle.

But is it better value for money? Well no. Aldi's Vignobles Roussellet Malbec is priced at £1 less than the average spend on a bottle of wine – making it part of that rare breed of cheaper wines that taste really good at under a fiver. So its value for money credentials are massive.

SPAR's M Malbec is also great value in that you may just enjoy it more – 150% more when you compare it £ to £.

But I'll let you make the final judgement on that.

Two MalbecsPG Wine Reviews

Aldi's Malbec Vignobles Roussellet Vin de France


Flavours of damson, plum and cherry with a bit of milk chocolate. Quaffable and great value.

SPAR's M Malbec Pays D'Oc 2015, IGP


Greater depth of flavour and very moreish. Nice wine.

This article also appeared as Paula's Wines of the Week on

Email newsletter

Get the latest wine reviews
and tips straight to your inbox


About WineUncorked and its editor, Paula Goddard Read more