The Festive Red Wine Guide 2016



Updated 15 December to take in a Christmas offer price in the Co-op – £5 off its Chateauneuf-du-Pape

A round-up of red wines of all persuasions, origins and prices to cover the festive season whether you're looking for something cheap to fuel a party or something top-end for a celebratory meal. Wines are listed in ascending order of price. For alternative stockists, including in other countries, try wine-searcher.com.

Percheron Shiraz Mourvèdre 2015, Swartland, South Africa

A bargain from the Cape’s now fashionable, warm Swartland region. Full-bodied, velvet-textured and packed with rich, spicy flavour.

£5.95, The Wine Society


Cruz de Piedra Garnacha 2015, Calatayud, Spain

Full-blooded Spanish red, full of berry fruit and earthy spice. More sophisticated than its price would suggest.

£5.95, The Wine Society


Les Hauts de Saint-Martin 2014, Saint-Chinian, Languedoc, France

The distinctive taste of red wines from Saint-Chinian's schist soils: spicy, stony, meaty, chesnutty; supple red-berry fruit, a whiff of wild herbs and light tannins.

£6.99, selected Co-op


Adnams Tempranillo 2015, Bajo Aragon, Spain

Dark, juicy, young red made from Tempranillo, the grape best known for its leading role in Rioja. No oak here, just juicy, perfumed blackberry fruit and a peppery cumin twist.

£6.99, Adnams


The Society’s Exhibition Côte-de-Brouilly 2015, Beaujolais, France

2015 is a fabulous vintage for Beaujolais from simple Beaujolais up to the ten individual crus, of which Côte-de-Brouilly is one. This is a delight, with lush strawberry-scented fruit around a more savoury mineral core.

£9.50, The Wine Society


Château L’Ermitage Sainte Cécile 2011, Costières de Nîmes, Rhône, France

Expressive, full-bodied blend of Syrah, Mourvèdre and Grenache from the southern Rhône. Flavours of woodsmoke, black cherries, red berries, cocoa and tapenade underpinned by smooth, dry tannins and minimal oak. Great value.

£10.99, D Byrne; £13.59, Noel Young Wines


Co-op Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2014, Rhône, France

This is a good Châteauneuf at its usual price of £15.99, but it's a bargain at £5 off. The Co-op gets it from one of Châteauneuf’s top producers, the Perrin family, and it’s hums with warmth and generous fruit, nutty, sweet earth and smoked paprika flavours. Happily, it’s in almost all stores – one of the most widely available of Co-op wines.

£10.99, Co-op (down from £15.99 until 3 January 2017)


Château de Ricaud 2012, Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux, France

Welcoming modern Bordeaux: all the pleasure of ripe Merlot and none of the pain of sunless undernourishment. Blackcurrant, mulberry, chocolate, vanilla, cedar and fresh herb flavours, supple texture and reassuring, dry, clean finish.

£14, Oddbins


Mitolo The Nessus Shiraz 2014, McLaren Vale, Australia

Dark, rich blackcurrant, blackberry and smoky notes lifted by delicate currant-leaf freshness on the finish. One for lovers of powerful Australian Shiraz.

£14.50, Oddbins


Domaine Jean-Louis Tissot Arbois Trousseau 2013, Jura, France

Pale and interesting red from the Jura’s Trousseau grape: lively cherry, cherry kernel and peppery spice flavours and super-light, sleek tannins. Light in body but not on flavour. Food-friendly: think sausages (any kind), charcuterie or mild game birds.

£14.60, Yapp Brothers


CVNE Rioja Reserva Imperial 2010, Rioja, Spain

A Reserva of deep colour, similarly deep flavour and a perfect balance of sweet fruit and rich oak nuttiness. It’s from one of Rioja’s greatest producers (CVNE) and, delicious as it is, it could be cellared for eight more years.

£16.99, selected Co-op; £20, The Wine Society; £23, or £20 in a any 6-bottle mix, Majestic


Michael Klouda Wines Broken Vine Zinfandel 2014, Lodi, California, USA

It was hard to choose between Lea & Sandeman’s new California wines, but in the end I've opted for an old-vine Zinfandel that has a freshness, suppleness and clarity quite unlike the traditional, jammy Zinfandel blunderbuss. It has red cherry and raspberry purity, a pinch of spice and savoury roast-meat depth. A match for turkey and all the trimmings.

£19.50, Lea & Sandeman


Fattorie Romeo Allegracore 2014, Etna Rosso, Italy

Characteristically elegant, fragrant, tangy red from Mount Etna's volcanic slopes: wild strawberries and sour cherries coming together as if they wanted to be a cross between Burgundy and fine Barolo.

£19.95, Tanners


Seresin Rachel Pinot Noir 2012, Marlborough, New Zealand

Lithe, graceful Pinot from New Zealand’s largest biodynamic wine estate. Toasty oak, black cherry and dark chocolate flavours, a luxuriously silky texture and a fresh herb and orange-infused finish.

£22.50, D Vine Cellars; £23, Booths supermarkets


Man O’War Ironclad, Waiheke Island, New Zealand

A Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petit Verdot from 45 different vineyards on Waiheke Island in Auckland Bay. Deep, intense and velvety with blackcurrant, chocolate and cardomom flavours and a long, cool, cedary, mineral finish. Class in a glass.

£29, Oddbins


Au Bon Climat La Bauge Au-dessus Pinot Noir 2012, Santa Maria Valley, California, USA

A Burgundy-style Pinot Noir of beauty, complexity and lingering quality; fragrant wild strawberry and cherry fruit, delicate nutty oak and fine texture.

£36, Marks & Spencer


Château Batailley 2006, Pauillac, France

If you want a polished, mature claret (aka red Bordeaux) look no further. This classed growth Pauillac, with its mellow cedary sweetness, subtle meatiness and rich summer berry fruit, is perfect now but could be kept another seven years.

£49.95 (down from £70) until Christmas, Jeroboams


Domaine Louis Latour Château Corton Grancey Grand Cru 2009, Corton, Burgundy, France

Red Burgundy doesn't come much more opulent and powerful than this: a case of Corton's natural power combined with the seductive ripeness of the 2009 vintage. Rich cherry fruit with a touch of cassis, smoky, toasty, cocoa and mocha flavours hiding velvet-soft tannins and then a twist of orange peel giving freshness to the finish. All too drinkable now, but deserves to be cellared a few more years and could be kept at least ten more. And save some budget and cellar space for the 2010: it’s exceptional.

£61.68, TheDrinkShop.com; £69.95, Whiteside Wines; £70.74, Master of Malt; £375 for 6, winedirect.co.uk


All photographs except Adnams Tempranillo by Joanna Simon

#wine #red #Christmas #supermarket #festive

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Website © 2019 Joanna Simon

Header photo © Waitrose & Partners Drinks / Cat Garcia