By Rose Murray Brown MW   Published in The Scotsman 24 March 2018

Top twelve red wines from around the world for serving this Easter – to suit all budgets, priced from £6.99 to over £20.


Lidl Winemakers Marlborough Pinot NoirNew Zealand: WINEMAKER’S SELECTION MARLBOROUGH PINOT NOIR 2016 (£6.99 Lidl)    ***STAR BUY***
Last year it was Aldi’s Pinot Noir which won our tasters’ star vote, but this time Lidl has come up trumps with an even cheaper version.  In Marlborough’s classic candy character with light cherry and plum fruits.  It is lightweight, but pretty, juicy, easy-going with an appealing freshness typical of the region.  Good value: 13.5%

New Zealand: TE HAUPAPA PINOT NOIR 2017 (£8.99 Aldi)
From a brand new vintage, fresh off the boat.  2017 was a cool wet challenging vintage compared to 2016, so this has a distinct lightness of fruit compared to most Otago Pinots, which you would expect at this price as you rarely see them under a tenner.  Light cherry strawberry bouquet, sweet upfront fruit typical of Otago with smooth rounded finish: 13%
France: VINSOBRES 2015 Domaine de Croze-Brunet (£7.99 Lidl)
One of the least known Cote du Rhone Villages, the beautiful village of Vinsobres is now a ‘Rhone Cru’.  This Drome appellation, about 40 kilometres north of Chateauneuf du Pape, makes similar but simpler reds from the classic southern Rhone Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre blend.  Soft fleshy, spicy plum at a very good price: 14%
The Wine Society Montepulciano d'Abruzzo wine reviewItaly: MONTEPULCIANO D’ABRUZZO VIGNA CORVINO 2016 (£7.95 The Wine Society    ***STAR BUY***
Our tasters loved this lush peppery unoaked Italian.  East coast Abruzzo often gets overshadowed by better known Tuscany and Puglia, but Rocco Pasetti has done more to champion this region than anyone.  Once the famed winemaker of the Roxan co-operative, he now runs his own estate near Pescara between the Appennini mountains and the Adriatic making brilliant value wines: 13%

One of Aldi’s new premium wines made by the reputable Bodegas Salentein in Uco valley tucked in the Andes foothills in Mendoza.  Blackpepper and mint, vanilla, spice and tobacco (from 12 months French oak) – a smooth easy drinking Cabernet with a surprisingly mellow character given its youth.  Serve it Argentine style with roast beef or cheddar cheese: 13.5%


If you normally buy Rioja, head to Aragon’s Carinena in Zaragoza where you get much more for your money.  This old vine Garnacha/Tempranillo/Cabernet Sauvignon blend has a wonderfully mellow mature bouquet with ripe berry fruits, silky palate and spicy length – needs plenty of aeration after opening to show its best.  Serve with roast chicken or lamb: 13%

Greece: THYMIOPOULOS XINOMAVRO 2015 (£11 Marks & Spencer) 
Delighted to see M&S stocking Greek wines as they often get forgotten.  Apostoles Thymiopoulos is Greece’s most exciting winemaker, who makes the wonderful Earth and Sky Xinomavro which came top in our recent Greek tasting.  This M&S blend is exclusively made for the supermarket from Thymiopoulos’ biodynamically farmed vineyards.  A very approachable savoury moderately tannic red at a good price to serve with roast duck: 13.5%

Australia: PASTOR’S SON SHIRAZ 2015 Peter Lehmann (£15.99
Barossa Valley is well known for its big juicy brambly Shiraz and this example from the late ‘Baron of Barossa’ is no exception.  Lashings of plum and cherry fruits, bitter chocolate notes, velvet smooth palate and hints of oak – a wine to suit those who like super ripe blockbuster fruits.  A good match for beef steak or venison stew: 14.5%

Spain: MUGA RIOJA RESERVA 2013 (£14.50 The Wine Society
From one of my favourite Rioja producers.  In 2013 Jorge Muga opted not to make his Gran Reserva, but put all his grapes into this Reserva.  Vanilla and strawberry aromas with sweet spicy cinnamon notes.  Great price for a Rioja Reserva – an ideal wine to serve with Easter roast lamb or game: 14%

Israel: CLOS DE GAT HAR’EL MERLOT 2013 (£17.95 Rude Wines        ***STAR BUY***
If you normally drink Chilean Merlot, you might well enjoy this unusual example from the beautiful Judean Hills near the biblical Ayalon Valley between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.  The very ripe luscious sweet style is perhaps more Australian, as Clos de Gat’s stellar winemaker Eyal Rotem trained there.  Very popular with tasters who enjoyed its soft smooth plummy fruit style: 14%


Crozes Hermitage 2015 Maison Les Alexandrine wine reviewFrance: CROZES HERMITAGE ROUGE 2015 Maison Les Alexandrins (£23.99 Henderson Wines, Edinburgh; Lockett Bros, N Berwick; Sutherland Bros; Beerhive, Edinburgh; Markinch Wine Gallery, Fife)    ***STAR BUY***
I have so often been disappointed in Crozes Hermitage as the reds can be quite coarse and unrefined – but this 100% Syrah from the superb 2015 vintage made by new micro-negociant Alexandrins (Nicolas Jabolet and Perrins of Beaucastel’s joint venture) is delicious with blackberry aromas and poised ripe black cherry fruits: 13%

Portugal: QUINTA DOS CARVALHAIS ALFROCHEIRO 2015 (£21.99 Fine Wine Co, Musselburgh)
Dao reds have a wonderful herby earthiness.  They are usually made from blends of grapes, this is unusual in being 100% Alfrocheiro Preta, made from a little known dark skinned grape with dense colour, very attractive floral aromas, bright raspberry fruits and hints of smoke from short French oaking.  This beautiful quinta in the Mangualde commune of Dao is just starting to make its mark: 14%

Join Rose’s Hidden Gems of Australia wine tasting in Edinburgh on 11 April £42


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