A Christmas buyer's guide, pt 3: come on you reds!

After the past two weeks, I'm assuming you've got plenty of white and fizz in the fridge (or that you have my buyers' guides on the fridge door, at least). Now for the Christmas reds.

Party red ... 2003 La Serrana Tempranillo, £2.99, Majestic Wine Warehouses. So many wines under £3 are either dilute or raw, but this is a genuinely fruity viva España tinto.

Everyday red ... 2002 Rodet Syrah, Vin de Pays d'Oc, £4.99, Sainsbury's. No apologies for bringing back my candidate for under-a-fiver wine of the year. This spicy, peppery, blackberryish syrah has won a Vin de Pays d'Oc trophy and is worth revisiting time and again.

Payday red ... 2003 Palha-Cañas, Estremadura, Casa Santos Lima, £6.99, Waitrose. A classic Portuguese blend redolent of blackberries overlaid with a vivid coating of spicy oak to create a vibrant, juicy, robust style with terrific flavour at the price.

Under a tenner ... 2003 Dashwood Pinot Noir, Marlborough, £9.99, Oddbins. New Zealand's Dashwood has come up with a screwcapped, delicate cherry- and raspberry-like pinot noir to rival a good village red burgundy. Even traditionalists will it find hard to resist.

Pukka red burgundy ... 2000 Volnay 1er cru, Domaine de la Pousse d'Or, £19.99, Majestic Wine Warehouses. You want to jump for joy when you find as true and thrilling an expression of pinot noir as this sumptuous premier cru with its enchanting perfume, strawberry fruit and delicately spiced oak.

Claret for under a tenner ... 2000 Château La Tour Saint Bonnet, £9.99, buy two for £8.99 each, Majestic Wine Warehouses. Good value claret? Not the oxymoron it sounds in this case. A plump and juicy young Médoc from the landmark 2000 vintage with pure, vivid berry fruit and drink-me-now approachability.

Claret lover's claret ... 1999 Les Tourelles de Longeuville, £16.99, Majestic Wine Warehouses. Pichon Longueville's second wine is consistently one of the best offcuts. A classic Pauillac with undertones of vanilla and minerally fruit topped by succulent fruit.

New World cabernet sauvignon ... 2001 Rustenberg Peter Barlow, £22.50, selected branches of Waitrose. Supremely classy Cape cab whose classy, spicy French oak, tannins and firm acidity provide a balanced frame for a richly fruity red with opulent cassis.

Italian rosso ... 1999 Ascheri Barolo, Sorano, Podere di Serralunga d'Alba, £18.99, Tesco. This superior single-vineyard barolo from Matteo Ascheri is a stylishly crafted Piemontese red, which in this fine vintage has produced a floral, peppery style with the classic, tarry undertones of the nebbiolo grape.

Spanish tinto ... Roda II Reserva, £19.99, Oddbins. A breathtaking blend of tempranillo with a dash of graciano and garnacha. Sleek, sumptuous berry characters inlaid with French oak. Leaves you satisfied yet craving more.

Spice of the new ... 2003 Clos de Los Siete, by Michel Rolland, Mendoza, £9.99, or two for £9.49 each, from Majestic Wine Warehouses and Waitrose Inner Cellar. A sumptuous Argentinian blend from Bordeaux winemeister Michel Rolland that looks expensive and, with voluptuous mulberry and damson fruit gift-wrapped in deftly sweet oak spiciness, tastes expensive too.

Off-the-wall red ... 1999 Brigaldara, Amarone della Valpolicella, £22.99, Booths. Displaying gorgeous notes of liquorice spice and liquid cherries, the palate is almost like cherry jam in chocolate. A dry port-like red with smooth tannins and a deceptive 16.5 per cent alcohol.