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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. Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Pauillac, 2010

    Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Pauillac, 2010

    One of the best wines of the vintage and certainly the best value for money in Pauillac that year.

    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

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  2. Château Grand-Puy-Ducasse, Pauillac, 2005

    Château Grand-Puy-Ducasse, Pauillac, 2005

    This wine is proof that top quality Pauillac doesn't have to cost the earth. Lovely blackcurrant fruit with a firm tannic structure.

    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

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  3. Château Haut-Bages Libéral, Pauillac 5eme Cru Classé, 2005

    Château Haut-Bages Libéral, Pauillac 5eme Cru Classé, 2005

    This wine should be decanted for an hour or so before drinking but is an absolute triumph. Will continue to develop for another 10 years.

    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

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  4. Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Pauillac, 2002

    Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Pauillac, 2002

    A more reined-in claret than many modern wines and one with an evolved palate and aromas.

    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

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  5. Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Pauillac, 1996

    Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Pauillac, 1996, is a full bodied Bordeaux exuding sweet black fruits, with hints of tobacco, spice and oak, a degree of minerality and ripe tannins.

    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

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  6. Château Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac, 1986

    Château Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac, 1986

    Described by no less an authority than Robert Parker as being a perfect wine, an opinion shared by everyone who is fortunate enough to taste this marvellous Pauillac.

    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

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  7. Château Lafite-Rothschild, Pauillac, 1969

    Château Lafite-Rothschild, Pauillac, 1969

    As it nears the end of its fifth decade this wine still has much to offer the lover of extremely fine well-aged red Bordeaux.

    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France


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  8. Reserve de la Comtesse, Pauillac, Haut Medoc, 2010

    Reserve de la Comtesse, Pauillac, Haut Medoc, 2010

    The second wine of the famous 2nd. classed growth Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. It shows some of the quality of the first wine but is far more affordable.

    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

    Out of stock

  9. Château Lynch Bages, Pauillac, 2006

    Château Lynch Bages, Pauillac, 2006

    2006 was an outstanding vintage for this famous fifth growth Pauillac Château Lynch Bages. Powerful, firm and full-bodied, the 2006 has surpassed itself and produced a wine of incredible concentration and worked beautifully with the classic characteristics of its terroir. Dense purple in colour this impressive wine offers ripe fruit, cassis and spice along with hints of roast beef, herbs and oak.

    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

    Regular Price: £99.99

    Special Price:


    Out of stock

  10. Château Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac, 2004

    Château Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac, 2004

    An outstanding Mouton according to no less an expert than Robert Parker. Sheer beauty and enjoyment in a glass.

    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

    Out of stock

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