Fancy some cheap and I mean really cheap wine? then take a trip to the Calais and hit the numerous wine outlets where you will find hundreds of bottles at sub £5 prices and some of them surprisingly, very drinkable. On average tax on wines in Britain is an astonishing eight times higher, so jump in your car, clear some space get a couple of friends to share the cost and head over to France for the day and if you pardon the pun ‘fill your boots’
It gets better, getting your hands on cheap wine is one thing but if you preorder at ‘Calais Wine Superstore‘ or one of the ‘Majestic warehouses’ and spend a combined £250 you also get the cost of the Ferry or EuroShuttle refunded.
So off I headed one Saturday morning with my son and a friend, wines preordered and free EuroShuttle ticket in hand. Our initial order was from Majestic as the wines were more familiar but still heavily discounted and reaching the £250 was pretty easy.
After a journey of around two and a half hours, we arrived in France and headed straight to the ‘Wine Superstore’ as we had already ordered from Majestic and the wine would be waiting boxed up to go.
When we arrived the store was fairly empty and not being familiar with some of the wines they sell we headed to the free tasting room for research purposes. Around the room they had automatic wine dispensers and chilled cabinets with self-pour bottles of fizz and whites. On the main table, they already had numerous bottles of reds again, all self pour.
There was a member of the sales team on hand to mainly advise and open any bottles you cared to try and nothing was too much trouble for them.
All the bottles had the price on them ranging from £1.99 upwards. Now don’t get me wrong a lot of the bottles I tried were pretty bad but there were a few gems (see bottle picture above).
The whites were a bit hit and miss but I did enjoy the Wilde Thing Chardonnay/Pinot Grigio for £1.99 if a little intense for some. This was made by the daughter (Lisa Mcguigan) of McGuigan Estates’ founder, Brian McGuigan.
The Julia Florista a Portuguese blend of Tinta Roriz and Castelao which for £2 a bottle was insane value and it seemed like a lot of people thought the same as it was being bought by the trolley load. They also sell it as a 5 litres box (which brings the price down to around £1.50 a bottle)
The Porta 6 which a lot of people here are raving about since its introduction on James Martin’s Saturday Kitchen, again great value at £3.49 a bottle.
I’m a big fan of Lindemans wines and this Bin 40 Merlot was, in my opinion, a step up in class and flavour again for very little money.
I also splashed out on some other Portuguese wine notably the Goragem Touriga Nacional which was priced at £8.99 ( £8.99 i hear you cry !!) if you bought two but it was an excellent wine and normally around £12 more over here.
Could have spent more time and money in the Superstore but we still had to get to Majestic to pick up our initial order and get back in time to get the shuttle home.
Majestic was similar to the UK warehouses but with cheaper wine and a more limited selection but still fantastic savings to be made. As I said earlier the initial £250 order was made through Majestic as I had a better idea of the wines. The order was all packed and ready for us when we arrived, so all we had to do was pay, load up the car and leave.
If you have a party or wedding planned or just want to stock up I definitely recommend a trip to Calais as you can bring back more than enough wine as long as it’s for personal use and for a fraction of the price you pay over here. My receipt in Calais Superstore said that I had saved £131 on UK prices for my order, so a very fruitful day and enjoyed by all.