Festive reds


Reds for drinking over the festive season, a follow-up to these dry whites. A version of this article is published by the Financial Times.

A plethora of reds for seasonal drinking at a wide range of prices. Remember that merchants such as Lea & Sandeman offer considerable discounts on the single-bottle prices cited below if a mixed dozen bottles are bought. To buy from The Wine Society you have to buy a share at £40 but you can often set this, or part of this, off against your first order. Many of these wines are widely available internationally.

Ostoros Pinot Noir 2016 Eger, Hungary
£6.75 The Wine Society
Delightfully inexpensive wine that really does taste (a bit) like Pinot. Spicy and only very slightly syrupy. 13.5%

Vignerons Ardéchois, Grand Aven 2015 Côtes du Vivarais, Rhône, France
£8.95 The Wine Society
Grenache/Syrah blend from the Ardèche aged in subterranean caves. Lots of life and finesse. Waves a charming farewell. 14%

Leconfield, Warner’s Corner Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 Coonawarra, Australia
£8.95 The Wine Society
Take advantage of how (regrettably) unfashionable Cabernet is currently in Australia. This is an early-drinking version of an Australian classic. 14.5%

Dom du Carjot, Les Capitans 2017 Juliénas, Beaujolais, France
£9.95 The Wine Society
The first of many Beaujolais recommendations; the region is on fire with underpriced artisanal magic. Great purity and a certain stoniness. 13%

Ch Barréjat, Tradition 2016 Madiran, South West France
£10.50, £21.50 a magnum, £87.50 a five-litre jeroboam Stone Vine & Sun
Pure fruit trumps the notorious tannins of the Tannat grape in this bright, energetic, unoaked wine. Lay in some big bottles for entertaining. 13%

Dom du Père Caboche, Le Petit Caboche 2017 Vaucluse, Rhône, France
£10.50 Yapp Bros
Quite a triumph of character and authenticity for the money from this Châteauneuf producer. A precocious baby Châteauneuf? Best vintage yet. 15%

Dom de la Pigeade, Les Sables 2016 Ventoux, Rhône, France
£10.95 Stone Vine & Sun
Rich fruit with a herbal overlay. Lovely round stuff but with good freshness too. 13.5%

Aldonia 2016 Rioja, Spain 
£11.40 Tanners (current special offer)
Unusually, this rioja is mainly Garnacha (Grenache). Lots of sweet fruit but real life and vibrancy too. Belies its alcohol level. 15%

Ch Argadens 2015 Bordeaux Supérieur, France
£11.50 Tanners
Entre Deux Mers estate admirably revitalised by the Sichel family. Even lesser châteaux made lovely wines in 2015. See this  wine of the week. 13.5%

Ch Cabos 2015 Bordeaux, France
£11.50 Lea & Sandeman
Another mainly-Merlot bottle of structure and excitement that’s the product of Entre Deux Mers in 2015. 14%

Ch Les Gravières de la Brandille 2015 Bordeaux Supérieur, France
£11.50 Stone Vine & Sun
And one from the right bank, a sort of baby Pomerol with a medicinal hint and great richness. Drink over the next few years. 13.5%

Talosa 2016 Chianti Colli Senesi, Tuscany, Italy
£11.50 Stone Vine & Sun
Juicy, correct expression of Sangiovese. Very direct and fully ripe but with authentic tanginess on the end. 13%

Dom du Grand Prieur 2016 Vacqueyras, Rhône, France
£14.50 Montrachet
Food and caution definitely needed with this youthful, potent wine, but there is freshness too, thanks to the elevation. 15%

Ch de Pizay 2016 Morgon, Beaujolais, France
£14.50 Le Bon Vin
Fragrant and rather burgundian with a definite future. Just the job for refugees from the Côte d'Or. 13%

Ch Fleur Haut Gaussens 2015 Bordeaux, France 
£29 a magnum Berry Bros & Rudd
I tasted this last year and noted ‘perfect for Christmas 2018’. A recent re-taste did not change my mind. 13.5%

Manzanos, De Alto Reserva 2011 Rioja, Spain 
£14.55 Cellar Door Wines
Good old Riojans believe in ageing their wines before selling them. This is so transparent, vivacious and fresh you could drink this with fish. 13.5%

René Lequin-Colin, Pinot Noir 2015 Bourgogne, Burgundy, France
£14.95 Stone Vine & Sun
A rare, affordable burgundy – but it needs a bit of air before serving. Decant this one. Beautifully balanced. 12.5%

Sottimano, Bric del Salto 2016 Dolcetto d'Alba, Piemonte, Italy
£14.95 Lea & Sandeman
L&S have a great range of bargains from this producer. This tight, nervy, crisp Piemontese wine would be a good introduction to them. The 2015 Nebbiolo at £19.75 is also well worth it. 13%

Le Galantin 2012 Bandol, Provence, France
£15.95 Tanners
Great price for a mature essence of Provence made by Céline Pascal for her family business. Warm and spicy. 13.5%

Ben Glaetzer, Wallace Shiraz/Grenache 2016 Barossa Valley, Australia
£16 The Wine Society
Wonderfully silky, satisfying, well-balanced wine with the alcohol well hidden. 14.5%

Rocca di Fabbri 2013 Montefalco Rosso, Umbria, Italy
£16.50 Tanners
Not totally unlike a Brunello di Montalcino with a few years in bottle. 13.5%

Cape Rock, Capa Roca 2015 Olifants River, South Africa
£17.50 Stone Vine & Sun
Seriously complex, luscious blend of mainly Portuguese varieties with some Atlantic influence. Great stuff. 14.5%

Dom de Cébène, Bancels 2015 Faugères, Languedoc, France 
£17.75 Leon Stolarski
Unoaked Syrah/Grenache blend made with great sensitivity. Dances on the palate. 14%

Dom Lyrarakis, Aggelis Liatiko 2015 Crete, Greece
£17.95 Berry Bros & Rudd
Rich island wine from 80-year-old examples of a rare vine variety. 13.5%

Ch Fontesteau 1999 Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France
£18 The Wine Society
The Society currently lists many a vintage of this wine. The fully mature 1999 would be great with game. 12.5%

S C Pannell, Basso Garnacha 2017 McLaren Vale, Australia
£18.99 Oz Wines
Award-winning debut vintage of this low-sulphur wine designed for early drinking from a great champion of Grenache. 13.5%

Wickhams Road Pinot Noir 2017 Gippsland, Australia
£19.50 Stone Vine & Sun
Sweet, floral, slightly gamey. Pure and flirtatious from a cool coastal site. 13%

Lisini, San Biagio Riserva 2016 Toscana, Tuscany, Italy
£19.85 Berry Bros & Rudd
A bargain baby Brunello. 13.5%

Dom Piron-Lameloise, Quartz 2014 Chénas, Beaujolais, France
£20 Roberson Wine
Meaty, interesting perfume but delightfully refreshing. Serve cool and enjoy with cold roast beef. 12.5%

Salomon, Finniss River Syrah/Viognier 2014 Fleurieu, Australia
£20.75 Lea & Sandeman
Not heavy, old-Oz Shiraz style but beautifully energetic, lively wine from the south Australian coast. 14.5%

Giant Steps, LDR Pinot/Shiraz 2017 Yarra Valley, Australia
£21.49 Oz Wines
Phil Sexton is resurrecting an Australian classic blend with great results. Really quite a serious wine. 13%

Braunewell, Essenheim Limestone Spätburgunder 2014 Rheinhessen, Germany
£21.95 Lea & Sandeman
German answer to red burgundy with admirable nuance and ‘mineral’ influence. Very appetising. 13.5%

Ch Les Hauts Conseillants 2012 Lalande de Pomerol, Bordeaux, France
£21.95 Davy’s
Very good vintage on the right bank of the Gironde. This accessible wine is luscious and sweet – poor man’s Pomerol? 13.5%

Muga, Selección Especial Reserva 2012 Rioja, Spain
£22 The Wine Society
Beautifully balanced wine with a future that’s already rewarding. 14%

Ch Thivin, Les Sept Vignes 2016 Côte de Brouilly, Beaujolais, France
£22.23 Domaine Direct, £22-23 Butlers Wine Cellar, Four Walls, Richard Kihl, Taurus Wines
Ch Thivin makes great wine every year that could be enjoyed at virtually any point in its life. For burgundy lovers. 13.5%

Dom David Chapel, Côte de Bessay 2017 Juliénas, Beaujolais, France
£23.48 Uncharted Wine, £25 Quality Wines, £28 Lechevalier
Truly beautiful wine from the son of chef Alain Chapel. Ripe fruit but overall refreshingly irresistible. 12.5%

Prophet's Rock Pinot Noir 2014 Central Otago, New Zealand
£26 The Wine Society
One to serve blind to burgundy enthusiasts. 14%

Curto, Arborina 2014 Barolo, Piemonte, Italy
£27 The Wine Society
Food is essential with this bone-dry, super-ripe emissary from the Langhe hills. Tarry finish. 14.5%

Dom Coillot, Les Boivins 2014 Marsannay, Burgundy, France
£29.50 Stannary St Wine Co
The far north of the Côte d’Or is where bargain-hunters should look. Oakphobes should probably avoid this sweet charming wine. 13%

R López de Heredia, Viña Tondonia Reserva 2005 Rioja, Spain 
£32.50 Berry Bros & Rudd
Glorious, fully mature wine long-aged in sweet oak. So pure and fresh – and very generously priced in view of the age. 13%

Miguel Merino, Reserva 2010 Rioja, Spain
£32.95 Davy’s
Richer than the Tondonia but no less classic. 14%

Laroze de Drouhin, 2014 Fixin, Burgundy, France 
£37 Davy’s
A relative bargain from Dom Drouhin-Laroze’s négociant business. 12.5%

Dom Nicolas Rossignol, Les Vignots 2011 Pommard, Burgundy, France
£45 Lea & Sandeman
Unusual to find a burgundy at this price with some age on it. 13%

Dom Roblet-Monnot, St François 2015 Volnay, Burgundy, France
£45.60 Domaine Direct
Really rather impressive. 13%

Vieux Château Certan, La Gravette de Certan 2014 Pomerol, Bordeaux, France
£54.95 Lea & Sandeman
Fans of VCC should lap up this exciting, persistent second wine. 14%

Arnot Roberts, Que Syrah Vineyard 2016 Sonoma Coast, California, USA 
£74 Roberson
Convincing West Coast riposte to Côte Rôtie. Just four barrels made. 12%

Dom Drouhin-Laroze, Grand Cru 2013 Bonnes Mares, Burgundy, France
£102 Davy’s
For those who like to go the whole hog. 13%

Fuller tasting notes via our tasting notes database. More stockists from winesearcher.com.

Next week – strong and sweet