A dozen classic red wines for serving with the Christmas meal:
Beaujolais, France: CHASSAUX FLEURIE 2021
Bargain Gamay from Beaujolais’ best known Cru – well-made appealing soft delicate red with crunchy red fruits, hints of pepper and refreshing acidity at a cracking price. A light fresh style ideal for serving with Boxing Day cheeses and charcuterie.
Navarra, Spain: VINA ZORZAL GRACIANO 2020
£8.95 The Wine Society
Wonderfully juicy lightly spiced red fruited Graciano from the often-forgotten Navarra region, currently the source of fantastic value wines compared to its neighbour Rioja. I have often written about Vina Zorzal’s Garnacha, but the Sanz family’s dynamic modern winery in Corella village also makes superb lightly oaked Graciano too.
Tuscany, Italy: POGGIO CIVETTA ‘GOVERNO’ 2019
This deep dark gutsy Tuscan red is one of Lidl’s treasures in their Winter wine tour – made using the old fashioned ‘governo’ method once used widely in Chianti. This addition of dried grapes adds intense rich flavour, hints of raisiny sweetness and a bitter twist to the finish. Suit those who usually enjoy Amarone.
Puglia, Italy: PAZZIA PRIMITIVO DI MANDURIA 2020
Plenty of spicy Puglian Primitivos on our shelves, but this well-made example from Manduria – the best vineyard area in the Salento peninsula for this grape – really stood out in a tasting recently. Deep dark colour, rich damson fruits, opulent black cherry, vanilla notes and saline finish – for those who like big reds with an approachable price.
Mendoza, Argentina: CATENA HISTORICO CABERNET FRANC 2019 ***STAR BUY***
I adore Cabernet Franc, the forgotten cousin of the Cabernet family. It can make sinewy, savoury fantastically fresh reds – but in Mendoza it shows its lusher more succulent side. The historic Catena winery are masters at tempering tannins and creating approachable reds – and this is beautifully velvety, smooth with smoky oak notes and enough spice to match turkey and its trimmings.
Leyda Valley, Chile: VENTISQUERO KALFU KUDA PINOT NOIR 2018
£13.85-£16.50 Fintry Wines; Harvey Nichols; Frontier Fine Wines; Cambridge Wine
From granite-based Las Terrazas vineyard in cool climate Leyda which faces the Pacific benefitting from cool breezes and morning fog. Very refined serious Pinot for the price with vibrancy and freshness from its minerally acidity. Bright cherry fruit, light spice and soft oak notes.
Rioja, Spain: GLORIOSO GRAN RESERVA RIOJA 2015 ***STAR BUY***
£19 The Wine Society
Clear winner in a recent tasting – this 100% Tempranillo made by winemaker Robert Rodriguez from Bodegas Cosme Palacio is superbly made. Deep dark gutsy Rioja with fine aromatics, mature rich cherry and fruitcake flavours with balancing dryness on the finish. Good price for this quality and vintage.
Clare Valley, Australia: JIM BARRY SINGLE VINEYARD SHIRAZ 2017
£21 Morrisons; £19 Strictly Wine
From the legendary Jim Barry estate run by winemaker Peter Barry, home to some of the world’s best Riesling and Shiraz. This elegant Shiraz is sourced from the Florita vineyard in Watervale, a north west facing slope with loam over limestone – it is very different from other Oz Shiraz, with lighter cassis-fruits and quite savoury meaty flavours with Clare Valley’s elegant acidity and light spice.
Bordeaux, France: LACOSTE BORIE 2015
£24 Justerini & Brooks
Crunchy cassis fruit and beautiful structure here in this second wine from the impressive fifth growth Pauillac Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste, owned by Francois-Xavier Borie. The family farm 225 acres south of Pauillac and craft this 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc blend from their younger plots. Good price for Pauillac.
Waipara, New Zealand: MUDDY WATER PINOT NOIR 2018
£24.95 Corney & Barrow
For those who love Pinot Noir with their Christmas turkey, this is an interesting savoury smoky minerally Pinot Noir with dark cherry fruits. Made from ungrafted 30 year old vines on the family’s 12 hectare Waipara plot, in South Island just north of Christchurch, from a mix of clones and biodynamic farmed vines. Matured 14 months (40% new) in French oak, with no fining or filtration so decanting is recommended.
Burgundy, France: DOMAINE BESSON GIVRY PREMIER CRU LES BOIS GAUTIERS 2013 ***STAR BUY***
£33 Little Rascal Wine Shop, Edinburgh
This mature gem from the hard-working Besson family in Cote Chalonnaise is superb for those who like an ageing Pinot Noir with their turkey. Guillemette and Xavier made this vintage with its beautiful ripe cherry fruits, fresh balanced acidity and soft supple tannins – with later vintages now made by their son Henri-Vital.
Burgundy, France: DOMAINE GENOT BOULANGER POMMARD ‘VIEILLES VIGNES’ 2017
£52 Justerini & Brooks
Beautiful example of the famous Pommard appellation, a blend from three plots of old vines planted in 1930s and 1940s. Current generation Aude and Guillaume Lavollee made this impressive aromatic Pinot with sturdy red fruits and softly integrated oak (12 months with just 20% new oak).
Join Rose’s Classic Bordeaux wine tasting on 27 April in Edinburgh www.rosemurraybrown.com