DEAR JESSICA: The rising cost of student fees, and my summer earnings locked up in the Icelandic banking system has left me completely skint. I still want to enjoy good wine. Is there any wine that costs less than £3 a bottle and tastes good? Sarah G, Oxford Brookes University JESSICA UNCORKED: That depends on your definition of ‘tastes good.’ While some people like jumping out of airplanes, others prefer being pampered at a spa. Wine is similar. One person will like the youth and flamboyant flavour of a young Australian Shiraz, while another prefers the softer, more mature Bordeaux.

In my quest for the under £3 a bottle ‘good’ wine the majority of people I spoke to said: "No, it doesn’t exist."

An educated man, John Chapman, from The Oxford Wine Company, put it simply — for a £3 bottle, after you take out the Government tax on alcohol, the cost of bottling, labelling, shipping and then the VAT, your wine alone costs about 10p.

For every 50p more you spend on wine, that cost goes directly into the quality of wine, not the extras.

Chapman aided my search by providing me with a standard red "Italiano" on deal at The Oxford Wine Company for £2.99. I added an Odd Bins Own Red at £3.99 (or 3 for £10, making it just over the £3 limit), and a Sainsbury’s Basic Spanish Red Wine for £2.21.

The best one of the three is the Oddbins Own Red. Of course it is also slightly over £3. While not exceptional, I found the balance between the fruit and the tannins nice. The aroma is not intense and has a slight hint of tinned strawberries. It’s a medium bodied wine with a short finish.

The Italiano is also drinkable. It has a clear, medium purple colour. It is more acidic on the palate, due to the cherry and red fruit flavours. It chewy with hints of tobacco, but the finish is still short.

The Sainsbury’s Basic Spanish Red Wine is just that . . . basic. The best thing about this wine are the words written on the back of the bottle, "If you are not completely satisfied with this product, return it for a full refund," which I will be doing.