I feel positively elated about the prospect of dining out, although the reservation is for an outside table, in a courtyard, with plenty of space around, and under an umbrella if it is raining.
Apparently we are all preparing our gardens for a fairly socially-distant summer and that is why there has been a run on garden furniture. Garden tables, chairs and particularly umbrellas and patio heaters sold extremely well all through winter.
If we are eventually allowed to hold large family gatherings in the garden then at least we will have enough chairs for people to sit on.
With that in mind and the need to build up stocks to prevent a last-minute rush to the shops, here are 20 excellent wines that deliver lots of flavour for £10 and under.
Whites and sherry
Vinho Verde 2020, Mimo Moutinho, Portugal, Aldi, £4.99: Cracking value in this under-a-fiver fresh-tasting, lemon and stone fruit filled wine. Only 11 per cent alcohol, so it is good for lunchtime sipping.
Saint Mont 2019, Finest, France, Tesco, £6.50: Don’t let the boring label put you off this wine, it is surprisingly full flavoured, with zippy grapefruit and lime flavours, wrapped up in peaches and apricots.
Soave Classico, The Best, Italy, Morrisons, £6.50: Fragrant, floral and delicate, but certainly big enough to pour alongside fish and salads. Herb-sprinkled, stone fruit flavours with lime freshness and a crunchy, minerally finish.
Assyrtiko 2020, Aspri Petra, Florina, Greece, Aldi, £6.99: From a single high- altitude vineyard in the mountainous north-west of Greece, this rare grape is gradually spreading from its Santorini homeland. Think lemons, herbs, blue skies and sunshine.
Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2019, Taste the Difference, Italy, Sainsbury’s, down from £8 to £7 until April 13: There is something about the seemingly light, fresh flavours of Italian whites that makes them hang around on the palate, fitting seamlessly around whatever you are eating. This is a lovely wine, with crisp, citrus and green apple flavours, a hint of spiced pears and a minerally finish.
Chenin Blanc, Finest, 2020, South Africa, Tesco, £7.50: The Tesco Finest range continues to offer really good quality wines at great value prices. This comes from the Stellenrust winery in South Africa’s Stellenbosch region. It has apple and pear flavours with just a touch of honey and apricots.
Kylie Sauvignon Blanc 2019, Côtes de Gascogne, France, Tesco, £9: Celebrity wines are sometimes a disappointment but the range from Kylie Minogue has been put together by really good winemakers, with, I am sure, input from the lady herself. This is a bright, breezy wine from south-west France with notes of pink grapefruit and lemon. Ideal as an aperitif or with shellfish.
Mad Fish Sauvignon Blanc 2020, Western Australia, Tesco, £9: Made by Janice McDonald, Gourmet Traveller winemaker of the year, this is a refined, precision-made Sauvignon with nettles, passion fruit and a citrus-charged herby finish.
Orvieto Classico 2019, Santa Cristina, Campogrande, Co-op, £10: Just limboing into this line-up with its £10 price tag, this is a stylish Orvieto, made by the famous and historic wine producer Antinori. It has rounded flavours of apple, peaches and just a hint of almonds on the finish, which is long and elegant.
Palo Cortado Dry Sherry, Morrisons, £6.26 for a half bottle: Sherry sales have boomed during lockdown as we all rediscover the delights of a glass of sherry at the end of a working-from-home day. Made by top producer Lustau, this is fabulous value. Full of hazelnut and raisin flavours, it is dry, smooth and delicious. Serve just slightly chilled with a few salted almonds.
Claret 2019, Bordeaux, France, Tesco, £5: I have no idea how Tesco manages to get such good flavours into the bottle for this price. No grand château name, just simple red fruits with a balance of acidity and weight.
Pinot Riot 2020, South Africa, Sainsbury’s, down from £7 to £6 until April 13: With a fun label, this offers light, fresh, cherry fruit with a bright summery finish. Try chilling it down and pour alongside a pizza or fish.
Carmenère 2019, Fairtrade, Chile, Co-op, £6: Lush, plummy flavours that are soft enough to enjoy on their own but then go well with pasta and pizza.
Ch. Capendu 2018, La Comelle, Corbières, Jean Claude Mas, Waitrose, £6.99: From the star winemaker of the Languedoc, Jean Claude Mas, this blend of Carignan and Grenache Noir is a robust wine with dark red fruits, herby notes, a touch of spice and a long, palate-filling finish. A definite bargain.
The Scarlet Pimpernel 2020, South Africa, Co-op, £7: Despite the label bearing two crossed swords, this wine is named after the flower which grows in the vineyards, and not after the swordsman who rescued people from the guillotine. A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec, it is a well-made, structured wine that will stand up well to a steak.
Margaret River Shiraz 2019, The Best, Western Australia, Morrisons, £7.50: Famed for its cool ocean breezes, Margaret River still manages to ripen Shiraz enough to let the fruit shine out, without the hefty, weighty style of some other parts of Australia. This is a refined, elegant plum and spice-driven wine.
Porta 6, 2019, Lisboa, Portugal, Tesco, £7.50: A big chunky wine that can take on spiced pork ribs and a hearty casserole. Soft tannins, bags of fruit and a gluggable style.
Côtes du Rhône Villages, Finest, Signargues 2019, France, Tesco, £8: This is full of generous plum, blackcurrant and cherry fruit, layered with spice and ending with a warm, soft finish.
Red Burgundy 2018, The Best, France, Morrisons, down from £9.25 to £8 until Tuesday: Burgundy is a name that instantly makes your wallet clamp shut. Good Burgundy is so expensive, but this one tastes well above its price point. Soft raspberry and cherry fruit, a hint of oak and a delicate, harmonious finish.
Rioja Reserva 2017, The Best, Marqués Los Ríos, Spain, Morrisons, £8.75: Consistently good, this is a rounded, creamy style of Rioja with bags of plum fruit and just a hint of vanilla rounding out the flavours.