Red wine for Christmas: 12 choices to see you through the festive madness

The countdown is on. The tree is up, you’ve ordered the turkey, the presents are (nearly) all bought and you’re thinking about added extras. It’s my job to help you with drinkies – here’s some red wine for Christmas.

Pinot noir is one of my favourites:

The pinot noir grape is so versatile.  It will sip well with practically every flavour you might throw at it in the festive hotch-potch of food. I might draw the line at vanilla ice cream, but hey, each to their own. 

Jackson Estate Homestead Pinot Noir (reduced to £10.49 at Waitrose until December 26, 13.5% abv) has ripe red fruits, is silky smooth with light tannins and has a touch of earthiness to match the veggies on your plate. Spar’s PN Pinot Noir (£6, 13.5% abv) has plummy fruit, with pepper spice and is a winner in the quality versus price ratio. At Lidl,  Alte Vogtei Zu Ravensburg Spätburgunder (£8.99, 12.5 %abv) has light tannins and lovely raspberry notes. Spätburgunder is the German name for pinot noir.

Reds from the Americas:

No self-respecting chef would ever deliberately put together the random mix of flavours that is a typical Christmas dinner – from turkey, sprouts and chestnuts to bread sauce, sausages and bacon – but your wine choice has to stand up against all of them.  

Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (reduced to £10 at Tesco until January 1, 14% abv) This big Chilean Cabernet is full of dark cherry fruit and works brilliantly with the food. It’s a strong, concentrated flavour and won’t be overawed by honey-basted parsnips.   If you’re one of these people who likes roast beef for Christmas, this juicy Argentinian malbec is just the thing. Mora Vista Special Selection Malbec 2016 (£9.99, Virgin Wines, 12.5% abv) has dense, plummy fruit but with a light finish.  Back to Chile and Viu Manent ViBo Vinedo Centenario 2013 (RRP £16.99, oddbins.com, 13.5% abv) is intense with blackcurrants with an element of mint, of freshness and complexity which won’t overpower your Christmas plate. Shenandoah Amador County Zinfandel 2015 (£10.50, The Wine Society, 14.5% abv) has cherries running through it, soft tannins and a peep of chocolate. I’d love this on Christmas Eve.

A flirt with France:

Beaujolais is great with hard cheeses, and its fruitiness will add a lift to most meats and your Boxing Day buffet. Henry Fessy Brouilly 2015 (RRP £12.99, Waitrose) offers a raspberry medley with cheese and doesn’t demand a palate battle. Hot off the press, and Morrisons The Best Fleurie, 2016 (£8.25, 13% abv) has won silver in the new International Wine Challenge awards. Oh, my, cherries and violets. Or how about a Bordeaux. Château Sénéjac Cru Bourgeois (£16.99 at the Co-op ) is a delicious wine from the Left Bank, plums, spice, mocha, and woody notes. It is complex yet not overpowering and perfect for Christmas lunch.

Fireside riojas for a moment of calm:

Tesco finest* Viña del Cura Rioja Gran Reserva DOC 2011 (£11,  14% abv) is a delicious fruity wine with notes of blackberry. It is light enough to enjoy as a drink to wind down at the end of the day; or its berry flavours would be perfect with turkey, duck, beef or game.  Palacios Remondo Rioja Crianza La Montesa 2013 (RRP £16.49 Ocado, 13% abv) A luscious Rioja, full of interesting fruit and spice flavours. Produced mostly from the garnacha grape, which makes it lighter and easier to drink than some of the old-school riojas, but it retains a definite touch of class. A serious candidate to accompany Christmas dinner.

The last word on red wine for christmas:

Wine Atlas Negroamaro red wine for Christmas

Asda’s Wine Atlas range was created to help people discover wines from lesser known regions. Better still, they don’t break the bank. Wine Atlas Negroamaro (£5.68) is a stunning berry-packed rich, juicy red from Italy. It has a burst of fruits on the nose which I loved and will be a lovely red wine for Christmas. 

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