12 best winter red wines

Cosy up by the fire and talk the long, dark nights away with our pick of bottles for the cold months

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The Independent Online

Picture yourself snuggled on the sofa by the fire at the end of a long busy day or imagine yourself sitting down to delicious home-cooked dinner with friends and family. All that’s missing is a nice glass of red. Here's our pick of the best offerings of the season, from high street bargains to luxury buys for the festive season and beyond.

1. Domaine de Montval Syrah 2013 IGP Pays du Gard: £9.99, majestic.co.uk

 

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This easy-drinking and softly textured red wine, which Majestic has bought 30,000 bottles of, is outstanding value. It’s made from Syrah grown around Nîme and is full of blackcurrant and cherry fruit, bolstered by hints of dark cocoa and pepper.

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2. Château Beaumont Haut-Médoc 2010: £14.50, thewinesociety.com

 

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A great one for the festive season, this delicious and extremely classy Bordeaux is a fine accompaniment to any festive meat, from game to turkey to beef. A long-standing favourite among Society members, it’s fragrant and ripe with great balance and a long, velvety finish.

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3. Casillero del Diablo Carmenère 2012: £5.99, co-operativefood.co.uk

 

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A bargain for a great carmenère that works particularly well with casseroles and spicy meat dishes like Chilli con Carne at festive dinner parties, this wine is bursting with berry flavours and mocha notes and rounded off with subtle spiciness. 

In store only

 

 

4. Primarius Pinot Noir 2011: £8.99, tesco.com

 

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Prefer something lighter-bodied? This smooth and silky wine from vineyards in Oregon, has aromas of raspberry and red cherry, which unfold on the palate. Tesco bought a batch as a one-off special package, hence the very reasonable price tag.

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5. Rust en Vrede Stellenbosch Ridge 2010: £24.13, amazon.co.uk

 

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This intense ruby coloured wine hails from Stellenbosch, one of the premier wine regions in South Africa, but as the estate was established in the 17th century, it’s often considered more “classic” than “New World.” Boasting aromas of ripe plum and fresh cherry, it has damson and redcurrant on the  palate and a long, velvety finish.

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6. The Exquisite Collection Minarete Ribera del Duero 2013: £5.99, aldi.co.uk

 

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This full-bodied, fruity wine comes from Ribera del Duero region, home to some of Spain’s grandest producers of bold reds. But unlike many wines from this region, Aldi is offering this one with a bargain price tag.

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7. Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Côtes du Rhône Villages 2013: £7, sainsburys.co.uk

 

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Vines are planted on a soil composed of shingle, chalk and clay, the grapes are hand-harvested and the wine is vinified in cement vats for two to three weeks after fermentation. The result is a classic Rhône red blend that goes a treat with roast beef.

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8. Mt Hillary Shiraz, McLaren Vale 2012: £14.95, bbr.com

 

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This textbook Australian Shiraz is exceptionally well balanced. It has a nose full of ripe blackberry, plum and a hint of spice, whilst the palate has a rich blackberry character, underlying chocolate notes and a sweet-oak spiciness, with a fresh acidity.

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9. Terra Do Zambujeiro Alentejano 2009: £25, hotelchocolat.com

 

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This rich, full-bodied wine has great depth of flavour and a fabulous finish. It’s crafted by a boutique winery in the Alentejo region and good news for the entertaining season is that it goes well with everything from beef to cheese to chocolate. Expect notes of dark chocolate, violet flowers and an edge of spice.

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10. Celler de Capçanes Vall Del Calas 2011: £16, oddbins.com

 

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The Celler de Capçanes cooperative was formed by five families in the 1930s in the village of Capçanes in northeast Spain. This Merlot-based blend is ripe yet elegant, with aromas of ripe dark fruit, wild herbs and berries. On the palate, it’s spicy and intense, with vanilla and dark exotic fruit flavours.

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11. Chateau Brassac Bordeaux Superieur 2012: £6.99, co-operativefood.co.uk

 

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This is a real crowd-pleaser of a Bordeaux that particularly complements red meat dishes. It has aromas of blackcurrant and blackberry and spicy notes, while being fresh, concentrated and well balanced on the palate. Snap up a few if you can – this is great value.

In store only

 

12. Bourgogne Rouge Le Taupe 2012: £11.99, marksandspencer.com

 

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This is a winner for Christmas Day as it goes a treat with turkey. This soft, silky, purple-hued Pinot Noir was produced by Romaric Chavy, the seventh generation of his family to tend the vines of Chavy-Chouet, Burgundy. It has cherry, berry and spice flavours.

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Verdict:
If you’re able to splash out, we think the Château Beaumont Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux 2010 is exceptional. For something cheaper, Aldi’s The Exquisite Collection Minarete Ribera del Duero 2013 is astonishingly good value.

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