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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.

    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Syrah
    Country Australia

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  2. Michel & Stephane Ogier Syrah l'Ame Soeur, Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes, 2006

    Michel & Stephane Ogier Syrah l'Ame Soeur, Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes, 2006

    A humble vin de Pays which utterly belies its designation this is a glorious northern Rhône wine full of rich fruit and herb flavours. 100% Syrah.

    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Syrah
    Country France

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  3. Paul Jaboulet Aîné, Crozes-Hermitage, Les Jalets, 2010

    Paul Jaboulet Aîné, Crozes-Hermitage, Les Jalets, 2010

    The wines of Paul Jaboulet Aîné have always been good but the last decade has seen further improvement as can be tasted with this warming Crozes-Hermitage .

    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Syrah
    Country France

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  4. Domaine du Colombier, Crozes-Hermitage, 2010

    Domaine du Colombier, Crozes-Hermitage, 2010 is a great value northern Rhône red characterised by its freshness, fruitiness, incredibly dark colour and wonderfully long finish.

    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Syrah
    Country France

    Out of stock

  5. Domaine Raspail-Ay, Gigondas, 2010

    Domaine Raspail-Ay, Gigondas, 2010

    The superb 2010 Gigondas from Domaine Raspail-Ay, exhibits a dense ruby/purple colour along with notes of spring flowers, black raspberries, kirsch, crushed rocks and garrigue in a full-bodied, richly fruity, gorgeously textured and pure style. Drink it over the next 10-15 years.

    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah
    Country France

    Regular Price: £20.49

    Special Price:


    Out of stock

  6. /

    Domaine Raspail-Ay, Gigondas, 2011

    In the Southern Rhone it would be virtually impossible to find a red wine as good and as reasonably priced as the Gigondas from Dominique Ay.

    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Grenache, GSM Blend, Mourvedre, Syrah
    Country France

    Out of stock

  7. Domaine Raspail-Ay, Gigondas, 2012

    Domaine Raspail-Ay, Gigondas, 2012

    A wonderful expression of this appellation close to Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the southern Rhône. A big, hugely impressive red wine which deserves fine cuisine such as red meats and game dishes.

    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Grenache, Syrah
    Country France

    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.

    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Syrah
    Country Australia

    Out of stock

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