Under £5

2007 lle La Forge Merlot, Vin de Pays d'Oc

From the go-ahead Jean-Claude Mas, this is a modern French merlot whose vibrant dark cherry fruitiness is framed with a stylish touch of smoky oak. The best-value claret look-alikes on the market.

£4.99, Aldi

Under £10

2006 Saint Joseph, Cave de Saint Désirat Cuvée Prestige

An elegant northern-Rhône style with aromatic fruitiness, peppery undertones and pure classic black fruits underscored by fresh acidity.

£7.99, from £10.99, to 2 Dec, Waitrose

Splash out

2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Cuvée des Antiques

A spicy blackberryish red whose vivid fruit richness is surprisingly approachable for its youthful power and just the kind of comforting southern blend you need as the nights close in.

£13.99, Majestic