By Rose Murray Brown MW    Published in The Scotsman 19 December 2015

Whether you are Christmas-ing on a Budget or want to push the boat out, our Twelve classic Christmas red wines offer something for every occasion and dish.


Co-operative Casablanca Valley Pinot Noir wine reviewCasablanca Valley, Chile: TRULY IRRESISTIBLE CASABLANCA PINOT NOIR 2015 (£7.99 Co-op)
We all love a good Pinot bargain and here it is.  I wasn’t expecting much when I saw the price, having tasted it ‘blind’ amongst other ‘cheap’ Pinot Noirs this really stood out.  It has a sweet ripeness to it, but nothing too jammy.  Raspberry and cherry fruits with a lovely lushness.  Enough weight to match with the turkey.  Very good value.  14%  STAR VALUE BUY

McLaren Vale, Australia: WILLUNGA 100 GRENACHE 2013 (£9.89-£11.99 Cornelius Wines; Ellies Cellar; Kirkness & Gorie; Luvians; Markinch Wine Gallery; Peckhams; St Andrews Wine; The Beerhive; Wine Raks)
A ripe Rhone lookalike from down-under.   Grenache grows rather well south of Adelaide in the undulating hills of McLaren Vale, giving us the lushest most succulent versión of this grape.  From 50 year old vines, Willunga’s oaked Grenache has good depth with raspberry fruits, spicy and herby notes – a good match for turkey: 14.5% 

El Meson Gran Reserva Rioja 2005 wine reviewRioja, Spain: EXTRA SPECIAL EL MESON GRAN RESERVA RIOJA 2005 (£9 reduced from £9.98 until 21 January at Asda)
For those who enjoy a smooth gamey red with their turkey, this is the best value Gran Reserva Rioja on the market.  Mature evolved bouquet, vanilla and fruit beautifully integrated, velvet smooth and long.  A great bargain made exclusively for Asda by El Coto de Rioja, this bargain has won a heap of trophies (from IWC Great Value red to Gran Reserva trophy): 13.5% STAR VALUE BUY

Mendoza, Argentina: THE SOCIETY’S EXHIBITION MENDOZA MALBEC 2013 (£9.95 The Wine Society
This is one of the best value Malbecs I have tasted – and a previous star buy in past tastings.  A superb bargain made by leading Mendoza winery Catena exclusively for The Wine Society.  Deep damson, liquorice notes, fleshy succulent fruits, deep, velvet smooth and long finish; from a mix of five vineyards (Agrelo, Gualtallary, Vista Flores, Eugenio Bustos and Altamira) to create a complex blend, finished with 18 months in French (85%) and American (15%) oak.  Serve with roast beef: 14% 


Tuscany, Italy: MORELLINO DI SCANSANO VENTOSO 2013 Poggio Argentiera (£11.50 Oddbins)
It is hard to find a decent Chianti at this price (unless you try quaffable Lidl’s Fortezza dei Colli at £6.99 if you like them light in weight) – so head off-piste with Oddbins, south of Siena and Chianti Classic land down to the wild sun-baked hills of the Maremma.  This is now the home of bargain ripe Sangiovese.  Fresh unoaked cherry fruits, savoury notes with good weight and texture : delicious served with cold turkey and cranberry sauce – it’s also ‘organic’ to boot: 14%

Tuscany, Italy: BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2009 (£14.99 Lidl)
For those who like a big gamey mature powerful red.  Smells of game, truffles, stewed fruits with black cherry fruits, vanilla flavour, velvet smooth and a big warm kick of alcohol to the finish (watch it at 15%).  An approachable style and good price for a Brunello – bring out the beef: 15%


German Baden Pinot Noir Karl H Johner wine reviewBaden, Germany: ENSELBERG SPATBURGUNDER 2011 Weingut Karl H Johner (£19.99 Waitrose)
Spatburgunder is the German name for Pinot Noir.  This was a clear winner in our tasting with its sweet succulent ripe fruits, beautifully balanced palate and velvet soft smooth tannins.  Made by the well-travelled Karl, who makes wine in Germany and New Zealand in a very Burgundian traditional manner: try with roast duck or goose: 14% STAR VALUE BUY

Burgundy, France: SAVIGNY LES BEAUNE PREMIER CRU DOMINODE 2012 Domaine Serrigny (£26 The Wine Society
This is a new domaine to me, very charming red Burgundy with a lovely silkiness and softness and long finish.  Made by sisters Francine and Marie Laure who have run the domaine since their father died in 1995.  The softness of this wine would make it suitable for serving with vegetarian food: 13%

Bordeaux, France: CHATEAU RAMAGE LA BATISSE 2009 (£15.99 each for 6 bts or £26 bt Laithwaites
This Haut Medoc Cru Bourgeois is drinking beautifully right now from the ripe succulent 2009 vintage.  The chateau is just over the border from Pauillac, it shares some of the cedary aromas, cassis depth and power of its illustrious neighbours.  Merlot’s dominance gives it a lushness and approachability.  A cracking buy at under £16 with roast beef: 13.5%

Piedmont, Italy: LANGHE NEBBIOLO 2013 G D Vajra (£22.99 Valvona & Crolla; Drinkmonger, Edinburgh & Pitlochry; Fine Wine Co, Edinburgh; Vino Wines, Edinburgh)
Hard to track down good affordable Barolo or Barbaresco, so opt for this well-made modern-style Langhe Nebbiolo instead.  It offers a gentle fruity introduction to the fiercesome Nebbiolo grape with a tarry aroma, a lushness of fruit, succulent and smooth with its typically grippy finish – a good match for lamb or guinea fowl: 13.5%

Lacoste Borie 2010 wine reviewBordeaux, France: LACOSTE BORIE PAUILLAC 2010 (£24 Berry Bros & Rudd
For those who like a classic claret for Christmas, this has cigarbox cedary nose, rich powerful cassis fruits and a lovely length.  Made by fifth growth Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste from its deep gravelly vineyards.  Plenty of Cabernet Sauvignon black fruit notes, but with an approachability and lushness on the mid-palate from 32% of Merlot in the blend.  A classic for roast lamb or beef: 13.5%  STAR BUY

Marlborough, New Zealand: DOG POINT PINOT NOIR 2012 (£27.50-£30 Harvey Nichols; Berry Bros & Rudd; Majestic Wine; Luvians; Woodwinters)
One of Marlborough’s best Pinots made by the charming Sutherland and Healey families of Dog Point.  According to Ivan Sutherland, the richness of fruit comes from clay soils.  He captures the bright cherry red fruit and hallmark spice notes by focusing on low yield fruit and careful pressing to get subtlety and finesse.  Delicious with roast duck or turkey: 14%

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