As the weather turns colder and the nights get darker, it’s natural that people tend to switch to heartier, richer dishes paired with richer red wines, which have a bit of warming oomph! Chief wine buyer, Phil Edwards at drinks21 gives his recommendations for the best red wine this Christmas.
D’arenberg the Cadenzia 2009 (£15) Intense red cherry appearance when poured suggests a full-bodied complex dry red. Intense red cherry, cranberry, kirsch notes appear with a subtle background of pepper, stone fruit kernels and nutty spiced oak. The palate is full and lush dominated with red fruits intertwined with full bodied potpourri character, savoury dry herb notes and rounded soft tannins balanced with silky acidity.
This wine is a blend of 3 grape varieties – 50% Grenache, 45% Shiraz and 5% Mourvedre and great match with grilled sausages, smoked meat & roast venison.
Jean-luc Colombo Côtes du Rhône Les Forots 2009 (£12.50) From 60 year old plus vines grown on chalky soils, this single vineyard wine offers superb value. An original and unique Syrah it is richly aromatic with a very fine structure and good attack of raspberries, blackberries and blueberries on the palate with a finish where notes of violets, liquorice and spices dominate. Perfect with roast beef and mature cheeses.
Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Merlot/Malbec/Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (£21.50) This Reserve Blend is widely regarded as being amongst the finest of New Zealand’s red wines. The wine is deeply coloured with aromatics hinting at dark fruits and chocolate. The flavours are typical of Gimblett Gravel merlot blends, with fruitcake, plum, cherry, chocolate and oak spice all evident – delicious with a lamb casserole.
Pio Cesare Barolo – £45 Awarded a superb 93 points by Decanter magazine, Pio Cesare Barolo boasts lovely dark fruits, nice acidity and softening tannins coupled with a nut and leather finish. A real winter wine, warming and full bodied.
Penfolds Bin 620, 2008: £1,000 An iconic wine, this is the first release of this particular Penfolds wine since 1966. Coonawarra was blessed with a great vintage when the earlier-ripening Shiraz could be blended with the later-ripening Cabernet to highlight the best of both varieties, and their synergistic union. The brilliantly clear, deep purple-crimson colour is an enticing start, and the seamless fruit and oak integration on the bouquet is perfect. Complex cedar and cigar box aromas are entwined with a basket of perfectly ripened black fruits. The palate is exceptionally intense, yet supremely elegant, with immaculate balance, texture, structure, line and length. Its outstanding tannins give the wine a certain authority. Extremely limited availability worldwide.
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