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Red Wine

Fine Red Wine

Making red wine is relatively simple in theory. However, it does require great skill and care. As with all wine, the basic concept is the conversion of the sugary must from the grapes into alcohol. As 99% of the actual grape juice is clear, red wine requires maceration to attain its colour.

Maceration is the process where the harvested grapes are crushed and moved to thermo-regulated vats. Here tannins, flavour compounds and colouring agents that come from the skin, seeds and stems of the grape dissolve and integrate themselves in the juice giving it flavour and colour while the juices ferment to produce wine. The depth of the colour depends on the grape variety and the length of maceration.

The world’s most prolific red grape varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah (also known as Shiraz) as well as Nebbiolo in Italy and Tempranillo in Spain, but there are many others. Each grape has its own flavour and characteristics and often you will encounter blends which bring together the properties of different grapes to create a wine which is much greater than the sum of its parts.

Historically, the best red wines in the world come from the regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Rhône Valley in France, Piedmont and Tuscany in Italy and Rioja in Spain. Today, this holds true for the traditionalist, but the New World reds certainly have their following of connoisseurs.

Red wines tend to fall in to 5 categories: ‘Light and fruity’, ‘medium-bodied and fruity’, ‘full-bodied and fruity’, ‘complex and tannic’ and ‘complex and elegant’.

Light and fruity reds are generally considered as easy-drinking wines. They have a tendency to be crisp with light tannins and notes of soft fruits and flowers. Beaujolais, generic Burgundies, Zinfandels and Valpolicellas of Italy fall into this category amongst others. Generally they go well with simple foods in particular charcuterie, quiche and pizza. Serve at 12-14°C.

Medium-bodied and fruity red wines have stronger tannins and a heavier feel on the tongue with aromas of red fruits and hints of spice. They tend to not have been aged in oak. These wines include Bergerac, generic Bordeaux, Côte du Rhône, Chianti from Italy and Penedès from Spain. They would drink well alongside meat dishes in a sauce, smaller game, pâté and roasted meats. Serve at 15-17°C.

Full-bodied and fruity reds tend to have high alcohol content and plenty of tannins, partly due to maturation in oak barrels, which will soften with age to produce exceptional wine. These wines are complex and bear strong aromas of ripe, dark fruits and spice. Key examples here are wines from Saint-Emilion and Pomerol as well as Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Cahors, Rioja, and Shiraz wines from Australia. Wines as complex and deep as these go well with rich and fatty dishes for example grilled/roasted red meat, duck confit, foie gras and game. Serve at 15-17°C.

Complex and tannic reds tend to be more expensive. Their heavy tannins will age and produce firm wines with great finesse. Red and black fruits and spicy undertones are prominent with vanilla and toasty notes as new oak is likely to have been used. Full flavours and beautiful finishes are common in this bracket. Here you will find all the famous sub-regions of Bordeaux as well as Côte-Rôtie, Hermitage, Barolo from Italy and a few new world Cabernet Sauvignons. These powerful reds go well with rich but not too fatty dishes such as game and roast lamb; they also partner well with truffles. Serve at 15-17°C.

Complex and elegant red wines. This select and elite group is reserved for the best of Burgundy. All from the Pinot Noir variety, these exceptional wines are very rare and highly priced, sometimes phenomenally expensive. These are complex wines with aromas of red and black berries, floral notes with hints of game and undergrowth (sous-bois in French). They are silky on the palate with a long and memorable finish. Wines from Chambolle-Musigny, Morey-St-Denis, Gevrey-Chambertin, Beaune and of course Vosne-Romanée are amongst the great Burgundies in this category. Dishes should be chosen well with these special wines and will be different for each. Usually slow-cooked food and roasts make good matches. Serve at 16-17°C.

  1. Two Hands Bella's Garden Shiraz, Barossa Valley, 2006

    Two Hands Bella's Garden Shiraz, Barossa Valley, 2006

    The 2006 vintage of Two Hands Bella's Garden Shiraz shows just what this grape variety can produce in the Barossa Valley and at a very keen price.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Shiraz
    Country Australia

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  2. Torbreck, The Steading, Barossa Valley, 2008

    Torbreck, The Steading, Barossa Valley, 2008

    GSM blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Mataro. Deep ruby red wine with hints of violet and delicate aromas of truffle, five spice and spring flowers underpinned by licorice, saddle leather and Herbes de Provence.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Grenache, Mourvedre, Shiraz
    Country Australia

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  3. Torbreck, The Struie Shiraz, 2010

    Torbreck, The Struie Shiraz, 2010

    A big, deep purple wine with intense, ripe fruity aromas. Although drinking well now this wine has at least another 5 years of development.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Shiraz
    Country Australia

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  4. Torbreck, The Steading, Barossa Valley, 2010

    Torbreck, The Steading, Barossa Valley, 2010

    Torbreck Wine's The Steading is made from a classic Rhône GSM blend in Australia's Barossa Valley with possibly more weight than is typical of French versions of this blend.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Grenache, GSM Blend, Mourvedre, Shiraz
    Country Australia

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  5. Burge Family Winemakers, Olive Hill SGM Shiraz, Barossa Valley 2001

    Burge Family Winemakers, Olive Hill SGM Shiraz, Barossa Valley 2001

    This Burge Family Winemakers, Olive Hill SGM Shiraz, Barossa Valley 2001 is ideal for drinking now and it presents a nose of black fruits with notes of tobacco, spices, vanilla and white pepper. A well-balanced Barossa Valley wine with good acidity and tannins coupled with a good silky texture.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Grenache, Mourvedre, Shiraz
    Country Australia

    Out of stock

  6. Craneford Wines, John Zilm Cabernet Sauvignon, Barossa Valley, 2003

    Craneford Wines, John Zilm Cabernet Sauvignon, Barossa Valley, 2003

    The John Zilm Cabernet Sauvignon, Barossa Valley 2003 vintage, by Craneford Wines, is a deep ruby/purple in colour the nose of which produces notes of graphite intermixed with black currants, new saddle leather, and tobacco leaf.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Cabernet Sauvignon
    Country Australia

    Out of stock

  7. Craneford Wines, John Zilm Merlot, Barossa Valley, 2003

    Craneford Wines, John Zilm Merlot, Barossa Valley, 2003

    An unassuming nose of new leather and musk gives way to an expressive wine with full, 'jammy', body of black cherries and plums.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Merlot
    Country Australia

    Out of stock

  8. Two Hands Wines, Deer In The Headlights Shiraz, Barossa Valley, 2004

    Two Hands Wines, Deer In The Headlights Shiraz, Barossa Valley, 2004

    Perfumed notes of blackberry, mixed spice, licorice, confectionery and roasted meats characterise this Deer In The Headlights Barossa Valley Shiraz, 2004, from the Two Hands winery.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Syrah
    Country Australia

    Out of stock

  9. Two Hands Bella's Garden Shiraz, Barossa Valley, 2005

    Two Hands Bella's Garden Shiraz, Barossa Valley, 2005

    Another winning Shiraz from Two Hands. A cooler summer contributed towards the fruity elegance of this lovely wine, drinking until 2020.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Shiraz
    Country Australia

    Out of stock

  10. Torbreck, The Woodcutters Shiraz, Barossa Valley, 2012

    Torbreck, The Woodcutter's Shiraz, Barossa Valley, 2012

    A typically opulent Barossa Valley Shiraz. Pure fruit with very good texture, complexity and finesse at this price point.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Shiraz
    Country Australia

    Out of stock

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