Christmas is rolling around once again and with the wetter, colder weather and richer foods comes the opportunity to sip on some robust and rich wines. As perfect for pairing with a festive cheeseboard or red meat feast as they are for gifting to the red wine lover in your life, the below wines present you with plenty of opportunities to indulge this festive season.
Read on for our top red wine picks for this year and scroll down for some really special bottles, we have outlined some fantastic tipples to try.
Handcrafted by the Casella Family in the land of sunshine, great coffee, wine and food, Pepperbox Shiraz is the perfect wine to complement the flavours of braised meats. With flavours of blackcurrant and cherry, this wine has a spicy aroma and silky-smooth finish and displays notes of ripe fruit and soft, round tannins. Naturally intense, it’s the perfect partner for festive food (lamb shanks, slow-cooked beef and chocolate puddings) and the ideal choice for special occasions with friends and family this Christmas and New Year.
Where to buy: Tesco
Sea Change Negroamaro
A fantastic regional red grape variety, Negroamaro is a real favourite of the local ‘Pugliesi’. This luxurious wine offers the perfect balance between a fruit led Merlot and an intense flavoursome Malbec, and its velvety mouthfeel complements Italian dishes such as tomato-based pasta or crispy stone baked pizza.
Where to buy: seachangewine.com
Baron de Badassière Carignan
This red wine hails from the Picpoul de Pinet region of the Languedoc, near the coast of the south of France, and Baron de Badassière refers to the Badassière vineyard which lies near the small town of Pomérols.
An unoaked red, bright red in colour with deep purple hints; the nose is aromatic and lifted, with cassis, plum and herbs giving way to spice and a touch of game. The palate is medium to full with attractive berry fruit intensity, fresh acidity and firm but smooth tannins.
Villa Maria Private Bin Merlot 2020
Bright aromatics of black plums and berry fruits sit alongside subtle vanilla and cedar oak undertones, making this a versatile wine is suitable for any occasion, but especially with enjoyed with roast lamb with an herb crust. This wine was previously only sold in New Zealand and the brand also has sustainability at its core, with all packaging sourced near to its Auckland Estate, and bottles made from recycled glass.
Where to buy: waitrosecellar.com
Primitivo di Salento Doppio Passo
Said to be the best-selling red wine in Germany, Doppio Passo is a deep ruby red colour wine, tending towards amber with ageing. Regarding the nose, in youth it has fresh varietal aromas that become more complex with time, on the palate there are varietal characteristics such as blackberry, cherries and ripe fruits in general.
A very interesting structure is achieved due to the good balance between these soft tannins and acidity. It matches well with mature hard cheeses, roasted pork, beef steaks and all game dishes.
Price: £79.95 for a case of six
Where to buy: Amazon
Sea Change Organic Bobal
Hailing from the sun-soaked vineyards of Valencia, this delightful organic wine is full-bodied with high tannins and a beautiful long finish, just perfect paired with Iberian specialities such as paella and chorizo, or chargrilled vegetables.
With the removal of the unnecessary plastic wrap around the cork of their bottles, the use of renewable plant-based closures and the paper for the labels coming from certified sustainable forests and made partially from grape waste, combined with a donation to marine charities from every bottle sold we think choosing Sea Change does make a difference.
Where to buy: seachangewine.com
Journey’s End ‘Huntsman’ Shiraz Mourvedre 2019
A fresh, fruity and spicy Shiraz from Stellenbosch in South Africa. A little bit of Mourvedre and a tiny bit of Viognier sit alongside the Shiraz in this full-bodied wine. It’s dark ruby red in colour with expressive aromas of violets, redcurrant and cherries with hints of white pepper and liquorice. On the palate those typical hedgerow berry fruit, dried herbs and white pepper spice flavours come through with a restrained use of oak adding softness. The fresh, vibrant acidity lifts the dark fruit flavours leading to a clean finish. Delicious with wintery stews and red meats.
Where to buy: Noble Green Wines
Journey’s End Cabernet Franc 2019
A soft, easy and elegant, full-bodied 100% Cabernet Franc with excellent floral aromas and delicious, soft and forward red fruits on the palate. Wonderful paired with red meats such as venison or steak with béarnaise, perfect for that decadent dinner this Christmas.
Where to buy: Tanners
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Pinot Noir 2019
Villa Maria Cellar Selection is a 100% Pinot Noir originating from a diverse range of vineyard sites in both the Awatere and Wairau valleys in the Marlborough region.
Rich in flavour, this wine has aromatics reminiscent of freshly roasted coffee beans and red summer fruits and dried herbs such as thyme and rosemary that intermingle with red cherries and cranberries. On the palate, smoky toasty oak frames juicy red fruits, finishing with a fine line of acidity and velvety tannins.
Villa Maria EarthGarden Pinot Noir 2019
Villa Maria is a New Zealand success story, founded by Sir George Fistonich in 1961 at 21 years of age and now exporting to over 60 international markets. In addition to organic practices, Villa Maria instils sustainability in every area of its business. All the packaging for every single bottle of Villa Maria wine is sourced within 22km of the Auckland Estate to reduce carbon emissions, and all bottles are made with an average of 69% recycled glass.
This Pinot Noir expresses black fruits such as boysenberries and blueberries with subtle floral notes and gentle acidity. The cocoa powder tannins and smoky toasty notes add complexity with a generous earthy textural finish.
Where to buy: Noble Grape
The Bolney Estate Lychgate Red 2018
A medium-bodied dry red wine with earthy aromas, hedgerow fruits and black cherry. The palate shows ripe blackberry and black pepper flavours held together with soft tannic structure. Pairs perfectly with the Christmas duck, goose or beef, as well as the stilton on the cheeseboard.
Where to buy: Bolneywineestate.com
Penfolds Max’s Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
A richly balanced Cabernet Sauvignon displaying classic varietal elements. This wine is full of charm, and it is fresh and vibrant with fruit intensity, supple ripe tannins and generosity of flavour. Max’s Cabernet Sauvignon displays the Penfolds ‘stamp’ inspired by Max Schubert, a winemaking legend in Penfolds history.
Where to buy: Sainsbury’s
The Bolney Estate Winemaker’s Edition 2019
A well-balanced, medium-bodied red wine with smoky aromas, black pepper and dark cherry. The palate shows earthy notes complemented by blackberry and dark chocolate, offering a good tannic structure, making it a perfect wine for ageing. Pair with steak or meaty pasta for an elevated dish.
Where to buy: Bolneywineestae.com
Contino Reserva 2017
Deep ruby red in colour, clear and bright, the nose is very expressive, with fruit expression and elegance standing out. Red fruits are well integrated with spicy notes adding to the finesse and on the palate, the wine is well balanced and with a very long finish.
Château des Laurets 2016, Puisseguin Saint-Émilion
Characterised by a brooding depth of flavour, this wonderfully complex, yet easy-drinking blend was partially aged for 14 months in new barrels (30%), second fill barrels (30%) and vats (40%).
Deliciously fruity, this wine offers a remarkable aromatic complexity on the nose, with notes of cedar and Morello cherry. Its 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc blend reveals subtle, well-integrated oak on the palate and crisp black fruit flavours, along with an exquisitely elegant, velvety mouthfeel and a great length; its sophisticated tannins will please drinkers young and old. A perfect match with red or white meats, and fine cheeses.
Where to buy: Ocado
Robert Oatley Finisterre Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
The Robert Oatley Finisterre range is premium range of wines which focus on specific sites within some of Australia’s best regions and sub-regions. The wines are only made in small quantities and the grapes for the Robert Oatley Finisterre Cabernet Sauvignon come from a single vineyard located in Wilyabrup in the Margaret River winegrowing region.
The vines have an average age of 18 years old and the Cabernet Sauvignon fruit is hand-harvested with a berry selection in order to select only the best grapes. The wine was matured for 12 months in a combination of new and old French oak barriques and the result is an appealing wine full of cassis flavours with soft and silky finish. Enjoy with beef, lamb and poultry for a pairing to remember.
Where to buy: farehamwinecellar.co.uk
Castello dei Rampolla Chianti
Unquestionably one of Tuscany’s greatest producers using minimum intervention techniques to make some of the most evocative wines of the region. 2018 is a fine vintage in the area, with beautiful aromatics, and this is Chianti at its most classical and elegant. Packed full of sour cherry, lavender and black fruits with ripe and full tannins, this is a powerhouse of a Chianti.
Where to buy: Jeroboams
Penfolds Father Grand Tawny
Father Grand Tawny is a tribute to over 170 years of Penfolds winemaking excellence. A blend of outstanding wines matured in seasoned small oak casks, achieving a minimum average blended age of ten years, this results in a wine with concentration, vitality, exceptional balance of fruit, nutty oak age complexity and distinctive spirit. All of these elements culminate in a balanced, clean and lingering tight finish.
Where to buy: Majestic
Hattingley Valley STILL Pinot Noir 2020
A warming winter wine, ideal for cosy evenings and candle-lit dinner parties, the brand-new 2020 STILL Pinot Noir from Hattingley Valley is a delicate red wine bursting with aromas of cherry, raspberry, strawberry and pomegranate, accented with rich hints of toast and dark chocolate. With an elegant structure and silky finish to every sip, the STILL By Hattingley 2020 Pinot Noir is best enjoyed with a warming venison casserole around the dinner table, or a cheese plate by the fire.
Where to buy: hattingleyvalley.com
Kopke 10 Years Old Port
The Christmas meal is only complete with a wonderful Kopke port to finish up the meal. This ten year old tawny is multi-award winning and is by Kopke, the oldest Port Wine House. This wine can be served slightly chilled with cheese or Christmas pudding and is elegant and complex, with aromas of spice, notes of dried fruit and hints of wood and honey, with a long and smooth finish.
Price: £25 – 30
Where to buy: henningswine.co.uk
Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz 2018
Penfolds Bin 28 is a showcase for warm-climate Australian Shiraz – ripe, robust and generously flavoured. First made in 1959, Bin 28 is named after the famous Barossa Valley Kalimna vineyard purchased by Penfolds in 1945 and from which the wine was originally sourced. Today, Bin 28 is a multi-region, multi-vineyard blend, with the Barossa Valley always well represented, providing a substantial proportion of the fruit for this vintage.
Dominio Fournier Crianza, Ribera del Duero 2016
This wine is bright and appealing, a deep cherry red with fresh and intense aromas. Woody notes with vanilla and pastry and varietal aromas of black fruit and liquorice. Full bodied and elegant, it pairs well with flavoursome roasted meats and strong matured cheese – perfect for Christmas meals.
Where to buy: Master of Malt
Château Clarke 2016, Baron Edmond de Rothschild Listrac-Médoc
Château Clarke takes its name from the Irish family who bought this large estate in 1771. After more than two centuries of winegrowing tradition and successive owners, the property was purchased by Baron Edmond de Rothschild in 1973. The vineyard was completely restructured, and massive investments were undertaken in order to renovate buildings and improve winemaking and storage facilities.
This beautiful crimson wine with a deep purple rim is intense and complex on the nose, presenting subtly roasted notes with bright aromas of fresh blackcurrant and black cherry, harmonising with a herbal undercurrent. On the palate, this Merlot-dominated blend rounds out with a rich, concentrated and velvety tannic texture balanced by a magnificent freshness that leads to a long and delightful finish. This wine is especially delicious alongside grilled meats and cheeses.
Where to buy: edmondderothschildheritage.com
Mendel Unus is the perfect combination of Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. The Cabernet Sauvignon, with its very present and mature tannins, forms part of the structure of the wine, while the Malbec collaborates by giving it complexity, fat and volume in the mouth. The result is a very complex, intense wine, with a lot of volume, but especially elegant and balanced. Pair with big, flavoured meats such as beef or venison.
Where to buy: houseoftownend.com
Sei Solo Bodegas y Viñedos, Sei Solo Cosecha 2018
Sei Solo source this top red from two parcels – Barroso and Acos – in the celebrated village of La Horra, aged between 60 and 90 year’s old. It’s a rich, almost ferrous style with plenty of grip and concentration, understated oak sweetness from 600-litre barrels and the focus and freshness of the 2018 vintage, provided the yields were kept low, as they were here. The younger Cosecha wines are more fruit-forward, making the perfect way to elevate Boxing Day cold-cuts and leftovers.
Where to buy: Gourmet Hunters
Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot 2017
Duckhorn has always had a special affinity with Merlot, being among the first to pioneer single varietals and Merlot-dominant blends in the region. This is a stunning example of the Duckhorn style, showcasing the rich, soft fruit character of the varietal alongside subtle spiced hints from the 16 months of ageing in a mixture of new and used oak barrels.
Luxurious aromas of crushed black cherries and plums can be found on the nose, while on the palate expect raspberries, baking spice and plum jam. Enjoy alongside your festivities or consider gifting this tasty bottle of wine.
Where to buy: 8wines.com
Vilafonté Series M
This delightful full-bodied wine from South Africa is made up of Merlot (49%), Malbec (30%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (21%) and boasts velvety tannins that is also reserved and firm. A tasty offering with plenty of black olive, chocolate and tobacco, and soft, smooth and fruit body.
Where to buy: houseoftownend.com
Argos Shiraz, Joanne Irvine
Originally bred as hunting dogs, majestic greyhounds are constant companions in the life of Jo Irvine, the winemaker, and they have also been associated with royalty, warriors and noblemen for centuries.
From this South Australian winery comes this pure fruity and smooth Shiraz, perfect for pairing with your Christmas lunch if beef is your bag, or a bountiful Boxing Day buffet. With an intense ruby red colour and packed with rich dark red and blueberry fruits, expect an elegant and silky tannin finish.
Where to buy: houseoftownend.com
Bodegas Arzuaga Navarro, Reserva Especial Arzuaga 2016
Low-yielding bush vines on clay-limestone soils provide the grapes for Arzuaga Navarro’s Reserva Especial, nearly all of which comes from Burgos. Blending Tinto Fino with 3% Albillo Mayor, it has sweet vanilla and mocha flavours from new French oak, dense, youthful bramble and blackberry fruit and glossy tannins.
Ribera del Duero’s red wines underscore the purest expression of Tempranillo, Spain’s most well-known grape and a festive favourite. Big, bold and textured, but with plenty of rich, old-world sensibility, spice, dark fruit and smoky flavours characterise the Reserva and Gran Reserva wines, making them a perfect complement to the traditional Christmas centrepiece and cheeseboard.
Where to buy: Vinissimus
Château des Laurets Baron, ‘Sélection Parcellaire’ 2016, Baron Edmond de Rothschild, Puisseguin Saint-Émilion
So deep in colour that it is almost black, this premium wine is the quintessence of Château des Laurets Baron. It was sourced from 100% Merlot grapes grown in vineyards spanning just four hectares across the oldest and best plots in the highest part of this 40-hectare property.
The nose releases lightly toasted notes of fresh wood with black cherries, a mark of this vintage’s exceptional maturity and elegance. Tasting offers an explosion of ripe fresh fruit such as lightly stewed black cherries and blueberries. This wine is characterised by a wonderful woodiness balanced by mild toasted notes, a result of its maturation in new French oak barrels. Enjoy with dried aged red meats.
Where to buy: The Oxford Wine Company
San Leonardo 2016
“Surely the most successful Bordeaux blend of Northern Italy”, according to wine critique Jancis Robinson. The San Leonardo from 2016 is incredibly velvety and supple with aromas of graphite, ground coffee and sour cherry on the nose and a vibrant, long palate with a saline-edged, bitter chocolate finish. This hearty red is made up of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenère and Merlot and comes highly rated by the experts.
Where to buy: Honestgrapes.co.uk
Guerrieri Rizzardi, ‘Calcarole’ 2011 Amarone Classico DOC
Hailing from Italy and made up of Corvina (70%), Rondinella (10%) Barber (10%) and Sangiovese (10%), this is a truly wonderful Amarone, where the richness, texture and depth come to the fore. Full of blackberry and dark cherry aromas, coupled with oak and sweet spice, at 16.98% abv, this is one powerful wine that is best served alongside roast venison, braised beef, curry based dishes and cheeses.
Where to buy: houseoftownend.com
Chateau de Pommard Clos Marey Monge Monopole 2019
Clos Marey-Monge Monopole is a complex, generous and aromatic wine. The flattering nose reveals delicate powdery aromas along with notes of dried flowers, roses and red fruit, highlighted by peppery notes. The palate is fresh, round and generous, while the tannins are silky with a light sweetness. Enjoy now or give as a gift and the receiver can savour for up to 25 years.
Where to buy: chateaudepommard.com
Château Pape Clement 2009 Grand Cru Pessac-Léognan
Château Pape Clément is a Bordeaux wine from the Pessac-Léognan appellation, ranked among the Grands Crus Classé for red and white wine in the Classification of Graves wine of 1959. It is the oldest wine estate in Bordeaux, harvesting its 700th vintage in 2006.
A robust and rich wine made up of Cabernet Sauvignon (50%), Merlot (45%) and Cabernet (5%), this fine wine will make the perfect decadent pairing to your festive celebrations.
Where to buy: houseoftownend.com
Prices correct at the time of publication.