Warming, and refreshing, winter reds


A version of this article is published by the Financial Times. 

In the second of my four collections of wines for festive entertaining (see last week's whites, as well as my recommendations for fizz and sweet and strong wines), I recommend these reds, and in some cases suggest how they might best be enjoyed. Some of them, particularly the simpler beaujolais, would make great aperitifs for those who prefer reds to whites. Others are grand enough to be a centrepiece at a special meal. The burgundies and Pinot Noirs may be especially suitable for turkey and its sweeter trimmings. See winesearcher.com for stockists near you.

Ch de Lacarelle 2016 Beaujolais-Villages 12.5%
Ridiculously cheap for this amount of fruity, youthful pleasure. This was a delightful vintage for accessible beaujolais, one of the world’s underpriced wines.
£7.75 The Wine Society

Jiménez-Landi, Bajondillo 2016 Méntrida 14.5%
Crazy price for a Spanish Garnacha that tastes like strawberry juice that stones have been soaked in. Dry and appetising on the finish.
£8.50 The Wine Society

Aldonia, Vendimia 2015 Rioja 14.5%
60% Garnacha, 40% Tempranillo. Fruit not oak soars out of the glass. This decidedly non-industrial wine, the product or a particularly ripe vintage, is bursting with life. Great value.
£8.95 Tanners

Ch de Balan 2015 Bordeaux Supérieur 14%
50% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon with excellent fruit and drive. A good example of the extraordinary value to be found in Bordeaux’s lower reaches. Best with simple food.
£9 Oddbins

Undurraga, Cauquenes Garnacha 2015 Maule 14.5%
Thoroughly satisfying southern Chilean chock full of fruit for drinking with or without food. Many a Châteauneuf producer would give their eye teeth for this sort of structure.
£9.50 The Wine Society

Dom de la Meynarde 2016 Côte du Rhône-Villages, Plan de Dieu
Truly a beaker of the warm south and a great emissary of the immediate allure of the superior 2016 vintage in the Rhône. Warm, sweet, juicy, with wonderfully gentle tannins. Substantial.
£10 M&S

Dom du Moulin d'Éole, Les Thorins 2014 Moulin-à-Vent 12.5%
A relatively serious cru beaujolais with some maturity but also still some potential and chewiness. This would be lovely with cold roast beef but it does need food.
£10.95 The Wine Society

Alexandre Burgaud 2016 Beaujolais, Lantignié 12.5%
Just the job for guests who want a red to drink as an aperitif. Fresh and super-juicy from very old vines and made by the nephew of highly regarded Jean-Marc Burgaud.
£11.50 Berry Bros & Rudd

Regina Viarum Mencía 2016 Ribeira Sacra 13.5%
Excellent value. The fragrant Mencía grape most often encountered in Bierzo is in this case grown on the steep banks of the river Sil in north-west Spain.
£11.50 The Wine Society

Casa Santos Lima, Al-Ria Reserva 2015 Algarve 14.5%
The first wine I have ever recommended from the far south of Portugal. Oaked blend of Touriga Nacional and Syrah that delivers both friendly bitter cherry fruit and refreshment.
£13.50 The Wine Society

Ch Ste-Eulalie, La Cantilène 2015 Minervois-La Livinière 14.5%
This producer has been making some of the finest wines in this western Languedoc village for years. Round, satisfying Midi blend and ridiculously good value. What’s not to like?
£13.50 The Wine Society

Haskell, Dombeya Fenix 2011 Stellenbosch 14%
A Bordeaux blend that includes Malbec, from one of the Cape’s most accomplished winemakers. Great price for this amount of complexity and maturity.
£14.50 Lea & Sandeman

Braunewell Spätburgunder 2015 Rheinhessen 12%
Germany’s accessible, often floral, answers to red burgundy are increasingly popular, and this one is especially keenly priced.
£14.75 Lea & Sandeman

Cantina Paolini 2012 Etna 13.5%
Pretty good value for a five-year-old wine from such a fashionable appellation. Light-bodied and fully mature with the warm, singed quality of reds grown on Sicily’s volcano.
£14.95 Uncorked

MOB, Lote 3 2014 Dão 12.5%
Debut vintage of a joint venture between three of the Douro’s most admired winemakers. Superb drinkability, zestiness and complexity for the price but this should certainly age further.
£14.95 Berry Bros & Rudd

Palacios Remondo, La Vendimia 2015 Rioja 14%
From the family bodega of the maker of one of Spain’s most expensive wines, L’Ermita in Priorat, this is another friendly 2015 rioja. Those who like modern wines with local character should love this.
£29.95 a magnum Berry Bros & Rudd

Mas de la Devèze 2014 Côtes du Roussillon-Villages 15%
Very sweet and luscious. Round with tannins completely overwhelmed by the spicy fruit with a hint of liquorice. A bit potent but very comforting. Most suitable accompaniment a cold?
£14.99 Laithwaites

Federico Paternina, Gran Reserva 2006 Rioja
This is not the greatest mature rioja you will ever taste but it may well be the best value. All that soft American oak, vanilla and lively tobacco leaf fruit. Great stuff for the money.
£15 Oddbins

Dom des Trinités, L'Étranger 2015 Vin de France 13%
Century-old Cinsault vines. Solid and friendly with some sweetness and real interest for the money.
£15.95 Lea & Sandeman

Zorzal, Eggo Tinto de Tiza Malbec 2014 Mendoza 13.5%
The Michelini brothers made this from vines grown high in the Andes in fashionable concrete eggs. Positively leaps out of the glass with a grainy finish that feels like licking the inside of a concrete egg. Probably best with food.
£15.99 Slurp

Poggiopiano, La Tradizione Gran Selezione 2013 Chianti Classico 14.5%
Pure essence of a hot Tuscan summer with the wood in check. Long and satisfying for fans of Sangiovese tanginess.
£16 The Wine Society

Sendiäna 2014 Lebanon 13.5%
As spicy, rich and complex as a Levantine business deal. A blend of Bordeaux and Rhône grape varieties. Persistent and rewarding.
£17 The Wine Society

Piemaggio, Le Fioraie 2008 Chianti Classico 14%
Unusually mature Tuscan and, apparently, found in the cellar by the new owner. Gentle and fun. Great value if you appreciate how wine evolves in bottle.
£19.50 Lea & Sandeman

Salomon Shiraz 2013 Fleurieu Peninsula 14.5%
This Syrah and Viognier blend from close to the South Australian coast is made by Austrians. Round, flattering and luxurious. It somehow tastes like salty satin.
£20.75 Lea & Sandeman

Celler Sangenís i Vaqué, Vall Por 2006 Priorat 15%
A most unusually mature, full-throttle red from the hills of Catalunya. Sweet, very thick and velvety with a slightly hot finish (note that high alcohol). The more refined Coranya 2004 at £36.50 is also fair value for such a mature wine.
£22.95 Berry Bros & Rudd

Ch Fleur Haut Gaussens, La Viminière Malbec 2015 Bordeaux 13.5%
A most unusual varietal red bordeaux that could almost be mistaken for a high-quality Argentine red. Very rich and flattering with a particularly velvety texture. Perfect for those who like to be enveloped by their wine. Probably not a long-distance runner but massively delivers pleasure. The American oak is not too obvious.
£22.95 Berry Bros & Rudd

Frog's Leap Zinfandel 2015 Napa Valley 14%
From an early Napa adopter of organic viticulture and a champion of balance in all wines, including this beautiful rendition of California’s signature grape. Such zest and lift without any sense of excess. A great way to support post-fires northern California.
£25.50 Berry Bros & Rudd

Tongue in Groove, Cabal Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014 Waipara 14%
Voluptuous violets and so full of charm that winemaker Lynnette Hudson must be very proud of this. Too sweet for burgundy but so much more interesting than the average New Zealand Pinot. Glorious.
£26.95 Lea & Sandeman

Dom Tollot-Beaut 2012 Chorey-lès-Beaune 13%
Chorey is always relatively well-priced and Natalie Tollot runs the most admired domaine in the village. Sturdy, unmistakably burgundian and ready to drink. What’s not to like?
£27 Richard Granger, £27.30 The Wine Tasting Shop, £40 The Sampler (halves from Four Walls Wine)

Eymann, Sonnenberg Pinot Noir 2014 Pfalz 13.5%
Based on biodynamically grown top-quality Pinot plants. Particularly serious German answer to red burgundy with zest, density, freshness and the grainy potential for further development.
£28.95 Berry Bros & Rudd

Mas Doix, Salanques 2014 Priorat 14.5%
From one of Priorat’s over-achievers. A blend of 65% Garnacha, 25% old Carignan and 10% Syrah in which you can almost taste the local dark llicorella rock. Very smart, dense, complex wine with lovely completeness, offering a great combination of ripeness and definition.
£30 The Wine Society

Dom du Clos Salomon, Premier Cru 2014 Givry
Light, fresh southern burgundy. Very elegant with masses of eloquent fruit in a lightweight register. Lunchtime burgundy?
£30–£32 Four Walls Wine, The Secret Cellar, In Vino Veritas

Alcohuaz, Tococo de Alcohuaz Syrah 2015 Elqui 13.5%
This may seem expensive for a Chilean red but it is so very obviously hand-made and fine that it is irresistible. I found myself writing about this southern hemisphere answer to Côte Rôtie, ‘Such accomplished winemaking. Lots of polished fruit. Wonderfully pure. Really tastes of place – not that I’ve been there’!
£30.95 Berry Bros & Rudd

Dom Vincent Paris, Granit 60 2013 Cornas 13%
Pure northern Rhône Syrah grown on granite in this dynamic appellation. Absolute perfection to drink now if you treasure fragrance rather than sweetness. I could imagine this with goose. Lots of energy here.
£31.95 Uncorked, also Wholefoods, Vino Vero

Lingua Franca, Avni Pinot Noir 2015 Eola-Amity Hills 13.5%
Ex somm Larry Stone and Dominique Lafon of Burgundy’s new adventure in Oregon. Seriously outstanding, with the hand of Lafon evident in this pure, emphatic, appetising expression of terroir without any surplus sweetness. Rewarding.
£41.25 Berry Bros & Rudd

Philippe Livera, Dom des Tilleuls, Clos Village 2014 Gevrey-Chambertin 13%
A real charmer from this attractive red burgundy vintage with sufficient fruit to stand up to turkey but this one should still be going strong well into the next decade.
£42.50 Harvey Nichols

Dom Christian Sérafin, Vieilles Vignes 2007 Gevrey-Chambertin 13%
You pay more for real burgundy … The chief attributes of this wine with its combination of bitter cherries and leaf mulch are that it has bottle age and is from a particularly accessible vintage. The 2010 at £79.50 has more grunt and definition.
£60 Berry Bros & Rudd