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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 Amery Vineyards Block 6 Shiraz, McLaren Vale, 2004

    Kay Brothers Amery Vineyards Block 6 Shiraz, McLaren Vale, 2004

    Kay Brothers Amery Vineyards Block 6 Shiraz is a real blockbuster wine that was made from 114 year old vines .

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Shiraz
    Country Australia

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  2. Two Hands, Lily's Garden Shiraz, McLaren Vale, 2004

    Two Hands, Lily's Garden Shiraz, McLaren Vale, 2004

    A McLaren Vale Shiraz made from premium grapes that is drinking superbly now and for the next 5 years at least.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Shiraz
    Country Australia

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  3. Château Monbrison, Margaux, 2004

    Château Monbrison, Margaux, 2004

    Château Monbrison is a medium-bodied and fruity Margaux, lighter than usual but despite its lack in depth, a well-made, great value and delicious Bordeaux. Here you will find classic Margaux aromas of liquorice, blackcurrants, spice and toast from the new oak. This fine wine is ready to drink now and will hold true for a while.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

    Out of stock

  4. 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.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend Red
    Country France

    Out of stock

  5. Kay Brothers Hillside Shiraz, McLaren Vale, 2004

    Kay Brothers Hillside Shiraz, McLaren Vale, 2004

    This is a wonderful wine from one of McLaren Vale's very best wineries. Rated as "superb" by Robert Parker no less.

    Details
    Colour Red Wine
    Grape Variety Shiraz
    Country Australia

    Out of stock

  6. 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

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