Which? reveals the best own-brand wines and spiritsAsda and Morrisons drinks top our taste tests
19 August 2015
Supermarket own-label gin and white wine has beaten big-name brands such as Gordon's and Oxford Landing in a Which? expert taste test.
We asked a panel of experts to taste test a range of spirits and wines, including full and medium-bodied red wines, crisp and dry white wines, gin and whisky.
Gin from Morrisons and white wine from Asda topped our taste tests, with other supermarket own-label drinks also faring well.
Which? editor Richard Headland said: 'Once again our taste tests have shown that supermarket own labels are giving the big brands a real run for their money. Some inexpensive bottles received a much higher score from our experts, proving you don’t always need to splash out.'
For the full list of all the Best Buy wines and spirits, go straight to our best food and drink pages.
Best white wines
Asda’s Extra Special Leyda Valley Chilean Sauvignon Blanc was the top-scoring white wine with a score of 79%, and it was also the cheapest costing £5.75. It was described by our experts as ‘very fruity with a lemony finish’ and being ‘a very appealing summer drink’.
Other highly-rated white wines included Lidl Cimarosa Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (£5.89), Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Albarino 2013 (£8) and Waitrose Grüner Veltliner Niederösterreich 2014 (£7.99).
The two branded white wines in our taste test, Cono Sur Bicicleta Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (£6.99) and Oxford Landing Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (£7.99), finished at the bottom of the table.
In our gin category, Morrisons’ London Dry Gin (£10.49) came top of our gin taste test with a score of 80%, with experts describing it as ‘well-rounded’ and ‘refreshing’.
Lidl’s Castelgy London Dry Gin was the joint cheapest gin we tested, costing £9.99, and came joint-second in our test with Waitrose London Dry Gin (£12), both scoring 78%.
Greenalls’ London Dry Gin (£15) was the top scoring branded gin but was ranked fourth overall in our taste test, with a score of 77%. Gordon’s Special Dry London Gin was ranked ninth with a score of 74%.
Best red wines
Within the red wine category, we looked at 12 full-bodied reds (such as a Shiraz or similar) and 10 medium-bodied reds (such as a Merlot or a similar grape variety). The own-label contenders for a Best Buy crown were nominated by supermarkets Aldi, Asda, The Co-operative, Lidl, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Waitrose. We pit these own-brand wines against brands including Barefoot, Jacob's Creek and Trivento.
Some supermarket wines fared well, with our experts awarding Which? Best Buy recommendations to three supermarket medium-bodied reds and four full-bodied bottles. The top-scoring medium-bodied red was described as a ‘light, easy’ wine with ‘smooth tannins’ and ‘more character’ than most of the other medium-bodied reds tested.
The top-scoring full-bodied red wine was the only branded red to appear in our Best Buy table, and was championed by our experts for being ‘attractive’, ‘dense’, ‘darkly fruity’ and ‘spicy’.
See the full list of wine taste test winners on our best red and white wines page.
Supermarkets put in another strong showing in our whisky category, but fewer Best Buys were awarded overall with just one blended whisky and three single malt drinks earning our recommendation.
The Best Buy blended whisky was described as ‘sophisticated’, ‘balanced’, ‘smooth’, and ‘creamy', which is all the more impressive considering that this winning bottle was also one of the cheapest we assessed. Our top-scoring single malt was praised for being ‘outstanding’, ‘cracking’ and ‘elegant’, with a ‘long, smooth finish’.
Go straight to our Best Buy whisky page to find out which brands and supermarkets triumphed.