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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. Kay Brothers Hillside Shiraz, McLaren Vale, 2003

    Delicious South Australian Shiraz, the 2003 vintage has a powerful and deep nose of dark berry fruit. Dark red in colour with a sumptuous palate of blackcurrant with hints of pepper, licorice and vanilla and notes of savoury game.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Syrah
    Country Australia

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  2. Le Clos du Caillou, Côtes du Rhône, Le Bouquet des Garrigues, 2003

    Le Clos du Caillou, Côtes du Rhône, Le Bouquet des Garrigues, 2003

    Aged in old barrels, this southern Rhône red is a warming, spicy red that has enough body to partner it with a range of winter roasts, stews and casseroles.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Country France

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  3. Kay Brothers Amery Vineyards Shiraz, McLaren Vale, 2003

    Kay Brothers Amery Vineyards Shiraz, McLaren Vale, 2003

    This is another great Australian red from the famous Kay Brother's Winery and from their equally great Amery Vineyards. Very dark purple in colour, this is a medium-bodied wine that has had ample time to age and allow the tannins to properly integrate themselves.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Shiraz
    Country Australia

    Out of stock

  4. Château L'Enclos, Pomerol, 2003

    Château L'Enclos, Pomerol, 2003

    A soft and approachable Pomerol which is still showing a good level of fruit. Very good value red Bordeaux.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

    Out of stock

  5. Château Meaume, Bordeaux Superior, 2003

    Château Meaume, Bordeaux Superior, 2003

    A rip-roaring, fully mature Bordeaux Superieur at a steal of a price for a normal Bordeaux. It has a forward nose of dark cherries, plums and licorice, and earth. Very good structure and noticeably dry tannins.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

    Out of stock

  6. 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

  7. Château Bernadotte, Haut-Médoc, 2003

    Château Bernadotte, Haut-Médoc, 2003

    Château Bernadotte, Haut-Médoc, made fruity, chunky wine that has firm tannins and upfront cassis and plum fruit in 2003.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

    Out of stock

  8. Château Nenin, Pomerol, 2003

    Château Nenin, Pomerol, 2003

    Château Nenin produced one of the better wines in Pomerol in 2003 and was less affected by the summer drought than many other estates. Dark and dense ruby in colour and showing lighter tones on the rim, this is a elegant, medium-bodied Pomerol. The 2003 Nenin offers up figs, cranberry, black cherries, cedar and tobacco on the nose with spicy, herbal and earthy undertones.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

    Out of stock

  9. Château Rauzan Ségla, Margaux, 2003

    Château Rauzan Ségla, Margaux, 2003

    2003 was a truly great vintage from Rauzan Segla, a château that has really made a name for itself in Margaux. This year had a higher percentage of Merlot and greater alcohol by volume than usual. The nose is peppery, spicy and herbal with a palate that offers up great ripe fruits before a reasonably tannic finish. All in all a fragrant and elegant Bordeaux which is drinking wonderfully now and will continue to into the early 2020s.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

    Out of stock

  10. 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

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