In the second of my four collections of wines for festive entertaining I recommend these reds, and, in some cases, 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. Wines are listed in ascending order of price per cl.
Ch de Lacarelle 2016 Beaujolais-Villages 12.5% £7.75 The Wine Society
Ridiculously cheap for this amount of fruity, youthful pleasure. This was a delightful vintage for accessible Beaujolais, one of the world’s underpriced wines.
Jiménez-Landi, Bajondillo 2016 Méntrida 14.5% £7.50 The Wine Society
Crazy price for a Spanish Garnacha that tastes like strawberry juice that stones have been soaked in. Dry and appetising on the finish.
Aldonia Vendimia 2015 Rioja 14.5% £8.95 Tanners
60% Garnacha, 40% Tempranillo. Fruit not oak soars out of the glass. This non-industrial wine, the product of a very ripe vintage, is bursting with life. Great value.
Ch de Balan 2015 Bordeaux Supérieur 14% £9 Oddbins
50% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon with excellent fruit and drive. A good example of the extraordinary value found in Bordeaux’s lower reaches.
Undurraga, Cauquenes Garnacha 2015 Maule 14.5% £9.50 The Wine Society
Satisfying southern Chilean, chock full of fruit. Many a Châteauneuf producer would give their eye teeth for this sort of structure.
Dom de la Meynarde 2016 Côte du Rhône-Villages, Plan de Dieu 13.5% £10 M&S
Truly a beaker of the warm south and a great emissary of the superior 2016 vintage in the Rhône. Warm, sweet, juicy, with gentle tannins.
Dom du Moulin d’Éole, Les Thorins 2014 Moulin-à-Vent 12.5% £10.95 The Wine Society
A serious cru Beaujolais with some maturity but also still some potential and chewiness. This would be lovely with cold roast beef.
Alexandre Burgaud, Lantignié 2016 Beaujolais-Villages 12.5% £11.50 Berry Bros & Rudd
Just the job for guests who want a red to drink as an aperitif. Fresh and super-juicy from very old vines made by the nephew of highly regarded Jean-Marc Burgaud.
Regina Viarum Mencía 2016 Ribeira Sacra 13.5% £11.50 The Wine Society
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.
Casa Santos Lima, Al-Ria Reserva 2015 Algarve 14.5% £13.50 The Wine Society
The first wine I have ever recommended from the far south of Portugal. Blend of Touriga Nacional and Syrah delivering both friendly bitter cherry fruit and refreshment.
Ch Ste-Eulalie, La Cantilène 2015 Minervois-La Livinière 14.5% £13.50 The Wine Society
This producer has been making fine wines for years. Round, satisfying Midi blend and ridiculously good value.
Braunewell Spätburgunder 2015 Rheinhessen 12% £14.75 Lea & Sandeman
Germany’s accessible, often floral, answers to red burgundy are increasingly popular, and this one is especially keenly priced.
Cantine Paolini 2012 Etna 13.5% £14.95 Uncorked
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.
MOB, Lote 3 2014 Dão 12.5% £14.95 Berry Bros & Rudd
Debut vintage of a joint venture between three of the Douro’s best winemakers. Superb drinkability, zestiness and complexity for the price.
Palacios Remondo, Vendimia 2015 Rioja 14% £29.95 a magnum Berry Bros & Rudd
From the family bodega of the maker of one of Spain’s most expensive wines, L’Ermita in Priorat. Another friendly 2015 Rioja. For those who like modern wines with local character.
Federico Paternina, Gran Reserva 2006 Rioja £15 Oddbins
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. Top stuff.
Dom des Trinités, L’Étranger 2015 Vin de France 13% £15.95 Lea & Sandeman
Century-old Cinsault vines. Solid and friendly with some sweetness and real interest for the money.
Zorzal, Eggo Tinto de Tiza Malbec 2014 Mendoza 13.5% £15.99 Slurp
The Michelini brothers made this in fashionable concrete eggs from vines grown high in the Andes. Positively leaps out of the glass with a grainy finish that feels like licking the inside of a concrete egg. Probably best with food.
Poggiopiano, La Tradizione Gran Selezione 2013 Chianti Classico 14.5% £16 The Wine Society
Pure essence of a hot Tuscan summer with the wood in check. Long and satisfying for fans of Sangiovese tanginess.
Sendiäna 2014 Lebanon 14% £17 The Wine Society
Spicy, rich and complex. A blend of Bordeaux and Rhône grape varieties. Persistent and rewarding.
Piemaggio, Le Fioraie 2008 Chianti Classico 14% £19.50 Lea & Sandeman
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.
Salomon Shiraz 2013 Fleurieu Peninsular 14.5% £20.75 Lea & Sandeman
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.
Celler Sangenís i Vaqué, Vall Por 2006 Priorat 15% £22.95 Berry Bros & Rudd
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.
Ch Fleur Haut Gaussens, La Viminière Malbec 2015 Bordeaux 13.5% £22.95 Berry Bros & Rudd
A most unusual varietal red bordeaux that could almost be mistaken for a high quality Argentine red. Rich and flattering with a velvety texture. Perfect for those who like to be enveloped by their wine.
Frog’s Leap Zinfandel 2015 Napa Valley 14% £25.50 Berry Bros & Rudd
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.
Tongue in Groove, Cabal Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014 Waipara 14% £26.95 Lea & Sandeman
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 Kiwi Pinot. Glorious.
Dom Tollot Beaut 2012 Chorey lès Beaune 13% £27.30 The Wine Tasting Shop, £40 The Sampler
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?
Eymann, Sonnenberg Pinot Noir 2014 Pfalz 13.5% £28.95 Berry Bros & Rudd
Serious German answer to red burgundy with zest, density and grainy potential for development.
Mas Doix, Salanques 2014 Priorat 14.5% £30 The Wine Society
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 and complex wine with lovely completeness, offering a great combination of ripeness and definition.
Givry 1er cru 2014, Dom du Clos Salomon, Premier Cru 2014 Givry £30-£32 Four Walls Wine, The Secret Cellar, In Vino Veritas
Light, fresh southern burgundy. Very elegant with masses of eloquent fruit in a lightweight register. Lunchtime burgundy?
Viñedos Alcohuaz, Tococo Syrah 2015 Elqui 13.5% £30.95 Berry Bros & Rudd
This is so very obviously hand-made and fine that I made this note: “Really tastes of place — not that I’ve been there.”
Dom Vincent Paris, Granit 60 2013 Cornas 13% £31.95 Uncorked, also Wholefoods, Vino Vero
Pure northern Rhône Syrah grown on granite in this dynamic appellation. Absolute perfection to drink now.
Lingua Franca, Avni Pinot Noir 2015 Eola-Amity Hills 13.5% £41.25 Berry Bros & Rudd
Outstanding. A pure, emphatic, appetising expression of terroir without any surplus sweetness.
Philippe Livera, Domaine des Tilleuls Clos Village 2014 Gevrey-Chambertin £42.50 Harvey Nichols
A real charmer from this attractive red burgundy vintage with sufficient fruit to stand up to turkey.
Dom Christian Sérafin, Vieilles Vignes 2007 Gevrey Chambertin 13% £60 Berry Bros & Rudd
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.
Next week: sweet and fortified wines
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