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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. Les Galets du Haut, Louis Bernard, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 2011

    Les Galets du Haut, Louis Bernard, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 2011

    A delicious Châteauneuf-du-Pape that drinks well at a younger age than many wines from this appellation.

    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Châteauneuf du Pape Blend Red
    Country France

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  2. Château Cantemerle, Haut-Medoc, 5eme Cru Classé, 2011

    Château Cantemerle, Haut-Medoc, 5eme Cru Classé, 2011

    A dense ruby coloured wine that will repay another 10-15 years of careful cellaring.

    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

    Out of stock

  3. Château Latour, Pauillac, 1967

    Château Latour, Pauillac, 1967

    Château Latour. has established an enviable reputation for its consistency and, approaching its half century this will appeal to lovers of mature Bordeaux.

    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France


    Out of stock

  4. Château St-Jean, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 2011

    Château St-Jean, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 2011

    A fruity Châteauneuf-du-Pape with plenty of fleshy texture to keep the cold at bay .

    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Châteauneuf du Pape Blend Red
    Country France

    Out of stock

  5. /

    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

  6. Jean-Paul Brun, Côte de Brouilly, 2011

    Jean-Paul Brun, Côte de Brouilly, 2011

    This Côte de Brouilly employs wild yeasts for its fermentation and, at 12.5% abv, it is lower in alcohol than most wines from the appellation. Cherry and raspberry fruit are evidenton both on the nose and palate. A smooth, sleek wine with remarkable purity.

    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Gamay
    Country France

    Out of stock

  7. Maison Nicolas Potel, Nuits-St-Georges, 2011

    Maison Nicolas Potel, Nuits-St-Georges, 2011

    Well-structured, well-balanced and with a great capacity to age in the cellar, this big, powerful and complex Nuits-St-Georges 2001 vintage from Maison Nicolas Potel can be stowed away to mature or drunk now. Its power and complexity stands out alongside flavours of undergrowth, spice and liquorice coated with ripe dark fruits, red cherries and raspberries.

    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Pinot Noir
    Country France

    Out of stock

  8. Mont Tauch, Les Garrigues Grande Reserve Grenache Noir, Tuchan, 2011

    Mont Tauch, Les Garrigues Grande Reserve Grenache Noir, Tuchan, 2011

    This is a lovely example of the Grenache Noir grape's capacity to please and is approachable even when still very young and usually works best with food rather than as a drink on its own.

    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Grenache
    Country France

    Out of stock

  9. Baron Rothschild Mouton Cadet, Bordeaux Rouge, 2011

    Mouton Cadet, Bordeaux Rouge, 2011, Baron Philippe de Rothschild

    A red Bordeaux wine made in an easy drinking , fruity style providing an ideal introduction to the wines of the region.

    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

    Out of stock

  10. Vriesenhof, Paradyskloof Chardonnay, 2011

    Vriesenhof, Paradyskloof Chardonnay, 2011

    An elegant Chardonnay with fresh aromas of lemon and lime and a touch of minerality.

    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Chardonnay
    Country South Africa


    Out of stock

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