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  • Jancis Robinson
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  • Jancis Robinson
3 Dec 2011
 

This is a longer version of an article also published in the Financial Times.


Because the Financial Times wants to publish just 25 recommendations on each of these Saturdays leading up to Christmas, I had a particularly difficult time limiting my red-wine choices. Below is a much longer list than the one published in the FT, listed in ascending price order based on the UK stockist I found easiest to locate. But I suspect that for many of these wines there are other stockists, not just outside the UK of course but even within it. Trust wine-searcher.com will reveal all.

As usual at this time of year, I have favoured Pinot Noir and red burgundy because I think they go particularly well with what is sometimes called festive fare.

Hoping very much you find something here to your taste. I love all of them.

Dominio Lasierpe, Sainsbury's Taste the Difference 2010 Navarra
Very well mannered. Lots of almost rude fruit. But the Graciano dominates which is most unusual! Taste the difference indeed... 13.5%
£6.99 Sainsbury's

M Chapoutier, Sainsbury's Taste the Difference 2010 Côtes du Rhône-Villages
Attractively spicy and come-on on the nose. Proper stuff that is dry not sweet. 14%
£6.99 Sainsbury's

La Vieille Tour de Seguin 2009 Bordeaux Supérieur
Well-balanced, bumptious young claret stuffed with fruit rather than oak. Already enjoyable.
Reduced to £6.99 Wine Rack (£8.99 from February)

Quinta da Bacalhôa, Tinto da Anfora 2008 Alentejo
Portugal is full of underpriced gems such as this rich blend of Aragonez (Tempranillo) with Portuguese varieties. Playful, satisfying with a flavour that reminded me of marrons glacés. Neat and complete. 14%
Reduced to £7.49 Waitrose (£7.99 after 4 January)

Ch Barrejat, Tradition 2009 Madiran
Great-value example of south-west France's most famous red. Tastes more mature than a 2009. A slightly dusty wine that is really artisanal and mouth filling. Needs food. 13%
£8.25 Stone, Vine & Sun

De Morgenzon, DMZ Syrah 2009 Stellenbosch
Very well made Cape red by Carl van der Merwe, ex Quoin Rock. Well-mannered nose, then sweetness and acidity plus nicely tamed tannins. Not expensive. 14.5%
£8.95 The Wine Society

M Chapoutier, Taste the Difference 2009 Crozes-Hermitage
The retailer says this is '100% Syrah, carefully [as opposed to carelessly] selected by Michel Chapoutier from the best terroirs.' Smoky, liquorice-scented. Absolutely classic with good polish. This is the sort of Syrah that the Australian artisans are trying to make - but it's usually a lot more expensive. Great value. 13%
£9.49 Sainsbury's

Les Rochelles, Breton 2009 Anjou-Villages Brissac
Riper than most red Loires thanks to the vintage but still fragrant and racy with masses of fruit. No hurry to drink this. Classic, almost overripe, Cabernet Franc. GV 14%
£9.95 The Wine Society

Wynns Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 Coonawarra
This is a consistently underpriced classic combination of grape and very particular, cool Australian terroir, made by a hugely admired team. You could age this for many more years. 14.5%
Reduced to £9.99 Co-op (until 3 January), £14.99 Waitrose (17 stores)

Vignerons Catalans, Cuvée Extrême 2008 Côtes du Roussillon-Villages
Medicinal, rich, rewarding blend of Rhône varieties from the sunniest corner of France. Very sweet start and nicely polished. A real fruit salad here. 14.5%
£9.99 Marks & Spencer (150 stores)

Cellers Unió, Taste the Difference 2008 Priorat
Not a bad price for the age of this wine from the overpriced Catalan appellation. Really interesting nose that does communicate the llicorella schists. Now gently middle aged but with a nice finish that recalls the llicorella soils. 14.5%
£9.99 Sainsbury's

Ch Segonzac, Oak Aged 2009 Premières Côtes de Blaye
Real interest on the nose - even if not the densest 2009 red Bordeaux. Very well made though. 14.5%
£9.99 Waitrose

Dom Rochette 2010 Régnié
Massively full of fruit and purity. Lovely stuff. Bursts with life and far from heavy. VGV 13%
£10.95 Lea & Sandeman

Thymiopoulos 2009 Náoussa
Lovely energy in this really interesting, rather burgundian, unoaked northern Greek wine. Smells just like strawberry-rhubarb jam. Great value. 13.5%
£10.95 The Wine Society

Bird in Hand, Two in the Bush Shiraz 2009 Mount Lofty Ranges
Thick and sweet and incontrovertibly Australian. Very intense. Glossy, long and satisfying. 14.5%
£10.99 Waitrose

Dom René Lequin-Colin 2009 Bourgogne
This vintage produced a raft of ultra-fruity wines. This is fresh, zesty and honest - far better value than most New World Pinot Noir. A great match with cold turkey? 13%
£11.25 Stone, Vine & Sun

Crossroads, Taste the Difference Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2010 Hawke's Bay
Hand-crafted fine wine from New Zealand's (non-Pinot) red-wine hot spot. Really sinewy. Not overstated - relaxed wine. 13%
£11.99 Sainsbury's

Sesti, Monteleccio 2009 Toscana
All early-maturing Sangiovese from a thoroughly reliable Brunello di Montalcino producer. Punchy; tastes extremely healthy.
£12.67 Goedhuis

Ch Beauregard Ducasse, Cuvée Albert Duran 2006 Graves
Excellent price for a five-year-old wine. Lively, fresh, well-behaved, mineral claret. 13%
£12.95 Stone, Vine & Sun

Bernard Métrat, La Roilette Vieilles Vignes 2009 Fleurie
Now this one gets the sappy saliva flowing from just one sniff! Lovely smooth texture yet real zest and a bit of polished minerality. Just what the doctor ordered. Lovely now but no hurry. A perfect wine for cold turkey? 13%
£12.95 The Wine Society

Gilles Robin, Les Papillons 2010 Crozes-Hermitage
Very pure and flattering on the nose. Polished tannins and very sappy. What is not to like? Northern Rhône Syrah plus sweetness. VGV 13%
£12.95 The Wine Society

Aldeanueva, Campo Aldea Graciano 2006 Rioja
The juicy mulberry fruit of the rare Graciano grape and a certain softness on the nose. Very delicate and lively, positive finish. Both educational and gently pleasurable. 14%
£12.99 Marks & Spencer (150 stores)

Ch d'Aydie 2008 Madiran
Lovely pure freshness, bone dry with nicely managed tannins. Could be great with fatty meat. Quite a find on the high street. 14.5%
£13.49 Waitrose

Dom de la Rectorie, Côte Mer 2005 Collioure
Lazy summer days... Not the kybosh of alcohol that is evident in many Collioures. Interesting layers instead. Quinine and ripe red fruit. This may not be an adjective beloved of sailors but this strikes me as a particularly calm wine. Great value. 14%
£13.50 The Wine Society

Ch Romanin, L'Étoile de Romanin 2007 Les Baux de Provence
Lovely cocktail of different fruits on the nose with some alluring maturity. Not the sort of wine you expect to find in a supermarket. The Cabernet gives it zest but does not dominate it. Sinewy and interesting. 14%
£13.99 Marks & Spencer (150 stores)

Luigi Maffini, Kleos Aglianico 2009 IGT Paestum
Sweet start, almost as though it's made from dried grapes. Assertive but not over alcoholic. Lots of structure from the wonderful Aglianico grape. 14%
£14.95 Lea & Sandeman

M Chapoutier, Les Meysonniers 2009 Crozes-Hermitage
Great stuff to find on the high street. Leather and liquorice and sinew. Really refreshing with minimally obvious oak. Proper wine. 13%
£14.99 Sainsbury's

Delas, Les Challeys 2009 St-Joseph
Leathery nose. Polished. Correct and a tad green but lots of fun. 13%
£14.99 Sainsbury's

Russo 2008 Etna Rosso
Pale ruby. Lovely mineral whiff with sweet Sicilian volcanic fruit, lightness and great texture.
£15 Goedhuis

Edmeades Zinfandel 2008 Mendocino
Contained, dry nose. Nothing about this wine flaunts its alcohol. Well structured and very Zinfandel. Not exactly an iron hand in a velvet glove; more velvety richness inside an iron corset. Serious wine and quite a bargain for a Californian. 15.4%
£15.50 Mr Lawrence, £16.50 Halifax Wine Co, £16.99 Noel Young, etc

Luigi Einaudi, Vigna Tecc 2008 Dolcetto di Dogliani
Real grunt and integrity and lusciousness. Lovely stuff - and not expensive for a Piemontese wine. 14%
£15.95 Lea & Sandeman

Joseph Drouhin, Cuvée Véronique 2008 Givry
Very pretty light red burgundy that is at its peak. Reminds me a little of Véronique Drouhin's Oregon Pinots. Just right now. 13%
£15.99 Laithwaites

Ch Vignelaure 2006 Coteaux d'Aix en Provence
Herby dry-farmed, very intense nose. Pure and racy with plump fruit but no rough edges. A precise wine in mid evolution. A very particular taste - Provençal blend of Cab and Syrah. So whistle clean and persistent. Bravo! 13.5%
£16 The Wine Society

Brooks, Runaway Red Pinot Noir 2009 Willamette Valley
Explosive, unadorned, quite sweet Oregonian. Full of genuine life and freshness. Great stuff! Well truffled. 13.3%
£16.50 Stone, Vine & Sun

Clonakilla, Hilltops Shiraz 2010 Canberra
SO correct and dry and fresh and proper! This is real wine with a story. VGV. Flirtatious and silky. 14%
£17.99 Waitrose

Ch Lanessan 2001 Haut-Médoc
Fully mature reliable cru bourgeois. Slightly dusty fruit but many layers and vigour. Fair price.
£18.67 Goedhuis

Meerlust Pinot Noir 2009 Stellenbosch
Lovely lift on a proper burgundy nose. Lots of dry fruit and savour with a real beginning, middle and end.
£18.99 WineRack

Castagna, Adam's Rib 2008 Beechworth
Very meaty nose. Quite evolved and confident. Lovely purity.
£19.65 Les Caves de Pyrène

La Tour de Mons 2008 Margaux
Loose and light and fresh and expressive. A reasonable buy on the high street. 13%
£19.99 Sainsbury's

Perrin et Fils, Les Sinards 2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Proper edgy wine. Transparent, with vitality. Hint of liquorice. Not over opulent. 14%
£19.99 Sainsbury's

La Rioja Alta, Viña Ardanza Reserva Especial 2001 Rioja
Warm, fully evolved vanilla notes - pure classic rioja, tobacco leaves and spice. Quite delicate and fresh. Impressive persistence.
£20 Majestic (if 2 bottles bought)

Roux Père et Fils 2009 Volnay
Real life here even if the wood may not have been the youngest and freshest. Very nice expression of the appellation. Definitely the burgundy on the high street to head for. Admirably vibrant. 13%
£20 Marks & Spencer (150 stores)

Marc Colin, Vieilles Vignes 2006 Santenay
Santenay is on a roll. Vibrant, lip-smacking fruit with real intensity. Savoury finish and great pleasure and subtlety at a price below many a Central Otago Pinot Noir from much younger vines.
£21.67 Goedhuis

Castello del Terriccio, Tassinaia 2006 IGT Toscana.
Lovely appetising stuff, great balance and zest. Compelling. 14%
£21.95 Lea & Sandeman

Hollick, Wilgha Shiraz 2003 Coonawarra
Gentle and subtle and really lovely. Real Coonawarra integrity and great maturity. Long and neat. 14%
£22.50 Tesco Wine By The Case

Dom Fernand & Laurent Pillot, Morgeot Premier Cru 2009 Chassagne-Montrachet
Spicy, gentle and utterly admirable and echt at this price. Bone-dry end. Long and convincing. VGV 13.5%
£22.75 Lea & Sandeman

Terre Inconnue, Guilhem 2008 Vin de Table
Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Merlot. Very dramatic over delivery of everything. Vital, luscious and explosive in the mouth. 14%
£23 Dynamic Vines

Dom Bachey-Legros, Les Fourneaux Vieilles Vignes Premier Cru 2008 Santenay
Racy with an undertow. Strong struck-match character (which I love) but beware if what you seek is sweet, concentrated fruit. Dry but appetising finish. Great value. 13.5%
£23.65 Jascots

Dom Giraud, Tradition 2008 Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Big and sweet and sinewy. Lots of polish. So different from the supermarket Châteauneuf offerings! Tingly despite the alcohol. 15%
£23.95 Lea & Sandeman

Desert Heart Pinot Noir 2007 Central Otago
Very direct, flirtatious fruit. Actually this seems to stand out from the overcrowded space that is Central Otago Pinot. Very satisfying. Good stuff. 13.5%
£24.49 Waitrose (5 stores)

Chanson 2008 Nuits-St-Georges
Light ruby with some energy on the nose. Correct. Nicely balanced with no tough tannins. 13%
£24.99 Sainsbury's

Dom Fernand & Laurent Pillot, Morgeot Premier Cru 2009 Chassagne-Montrachet
Spicy, gentle and utterly admirable at this price. Long and convincing. 13.5%
£25.25 Lea & Sandeman

Freycinet, Louis Pinot Noir 2008 Tasmania
Very exciting energy. Like a creditable red burgundy in a particularly ripe vintage. 14%
£25 The Wine Society

Revello 2004 Barolo
Scented, correct, smoky. Not flashy, despite the use of French barriques. Dry finish, quite enough fruit and a fine introductory object lesson in the charms of mature Barolo. Good value.
£25.17 Goedhuis

Ch Haut-Bailly, La Parde de Haut-Bailly 2008 Pessac-Léognan
Very smart oak and integrity. Solid stuff, planed down so that it is drinkable at this stage. Beautifully made. 12.5%
£26.50 Lea & Sandeman

Dom Giraud, Tradition 2008 Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Big and sweet and sinewy. Lots of polish. So different from the supermarket Châteauneuf offerings! Tingly despite the alcohol. Already quite round and resolved. Pretty good. 15%
£26.75 Lea & Sandeman

Rippon Pinot Noir 2008 Central Otago
Spicy and deep with wonderful texture and integrity of fruit. SO different from the NZ Pinot Noir norm! Exciting. Complete. Long. 14%
£26.75 Lea & Sandeman (price as part of a case)

Morassino 2007 Barbaresco
Racy and tarry with real nerve and typicity. Great liquorice and tension! Sweetness then caressing whiffiness. 14.5%
£27 Marks & Spencer (125 stores)

O Fournier, Alfa Crux Malbec 2006 Mendoza
Naughty heavy bottle (but they have since mended their ways). This is Very Serious Wine. Really spreads across the palate. Bring on that steak and chimichurri. 15%
£27.50 Tesco Wine by the Case

Collemattoni 2006 Brunello di Montalcino
Open and evolved and flattering and sweet. So rich! But not tarty nor heavy. Lovely wine. 14.5%
£28.50 Lea & Sandeman

William Downie Pinot Noir 2010 Gippsland
Unlike any Australian Pinot I have ever come across and nor does it taste like red burgundy. Dry finish with a hint of volcano - really fascinating effort from a very dedicated newcomer.
£38.95 Slurp.co.uk

Ch Haut-Bailly 2001 Pessac Léognan
Beautiful, mature, classed growth.
£41.67 Rodney Fletcher Vinters

René Rostaing 2007 Côte Rôtie
Very fresh, sumptuous, lacy nose and silky texture. North Rhône classic before the prices went up. 13%
£42.50 Adnams

Dom Sylvain Cathiard 2006 Vosne-Romanée
A sought-after name. Super fleshy and flattering. Very bright cherry fruit. And more than a hint of Vosne's precision. Just right for drinking this Christmas. Very clean, brisk, energetic and healthy. 13%
£45 The Wine Society