Big red wines for cold nights | Fiona Beckett on drink

Although I’ve been extolling the virtues of lighter, fresher reds for the past few months, there’s something about the clocks going back that makes me crave a heftier, more substantial one. For those of us who suffer from Sad (seasonal affective disorder), autumn is depressing at the best of times, even without the relentlessly bad news that pops up on our screens daily. (Remind yourself it’s less than two months before the nights start getting shorter again, but in the meantime we need all the treats we can get.)

This year, I’ve noticed that Australia seems to be in the game again. In recent years, it’s been somewhat polarised between ridiculously cheap and eye-wateringly expensive wines, and with not much in between, but Tesco showed a selection of well-known brands at its tasting a few weeks back that reminded me why we used to love it so much in the early 1990s. (Avoid its Taparoo Valley Shiraz, though: at £3.99, it is, unsurprisingly, a shocker). It was good to see familiar names such as the 14.5% Wirra Wirra Church Block (which Tesco currently has on offer at £10 and Waitrose at £13.49) and Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet (14.5%), which is £9 at Tesco, and be reminded just what good value Aussie reds can be.

Syrah also features in many reds from southern France, along with its BFFs grenache and mourvèdre, a combination often referred to as GSM. Try the faugères, one of the Languedoc’s best appellations, in today’s pick below, and the syrah-dominated blend from the Minervois. Most côtes du Rhônes are based on this combination, or on those great bedfellows syrah and grenache at least. Look for alcohol content of 13.5% or more – it suits grenache. Mourvèdre, AKA mataro and monastrell, can also be a good buy on its own. The cockle-warming Tapa Roja from M&S has Bonfire Night written all over it.

Another combination that hits the spot are touriga nacional, touriga franca and tinta roriz, the grape varieties from the Douro that are used to make port and also good-value basic reds. Most supermarkets have an own-label version, and Morrisons’ very decent one is on offer at the moment.

Now is generally a good time to stock up on wine, because the supermarkets tend to run their 25%-off-six-bottles deals now rather than nearer Christmas, when the less organised among us normally get around to buying our festive wines. But don’t worry: I’ll be catering for you, too.

Five reds to keep the cold at bay

Tapa Roja Old Vines Monastrell 2019 £7 Marks & Spencer (in store only), Ocado, 13.5%. Bargainous, big, hearty red from the south of Spain. Great wine for a cheeseboard.

Morrisons the Best Douro Red 2019 13.5% copy

Morrisons the Best Douro Red 2019 £6.50 (on offer), 13.5%. Unsurprisingly, red wines from the Douro have a port-like character, even though they’re dry rather than sweet. A great partner for stilton or a stew.

Chateau Millegrand Aurore Minervois 2018

Château Millegrand Aurore Minervois 2018 £10 selected Co-ops, 14%. Cracking, syrah-dominated blend: rich, spicy and powerful. Could go with any red meat, and would be great with the turkey.

Domaine des Trinités Faugères Le Portails 2019 copy

Domaine des Trinités Faugères Le Portail 2019 £13.99 (or £13.29 by the half-case) Cambridge Wine Merchants, £14.95 Lea & Sandeman (or £13.50 by the full case), 13.5%. Sumptuously rich, spicy, southern French blend of syrah, grenache and mourvèdre. Drink with anything big and beefy.

La 50:50 Côtes du Brian 2018 Domaine Anne Gros Jean-Paul Tollot 14.5%

La 50/50 Côtes du Brian 2018 Domaine Anne Gros et Jean-Paul Tollot £17.99 Adnams, £18.75 Lea & Sandeman, £18.95 Jeroboams, 14.5%. Côtes du Brian sounds like something out of Monty Python, but this is a serious red from the Minervois made by two acclaimed Burgundian winemakers and with an almost amarone-type richness. Needs decanting, and drinking with a big, beefy stew – ox cheek would be perfect.

Source link

Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: