12 great Christmas reds from your local wine shop

Some are old favourites, some are new, but all are well worth trying over the holidays

Photograph: Getty

Photograph: Getty

 

I taste a lot of wine, and not all of the good ones make it into The Irish Times, as there simply isn’t enough space. Here are a dozen great reds to try out over Christmas. Some come from my Saturday column in the magazine, some from my wine guide and some are recent finds that I’m mentioning for the first time. All of these are available from independent wine shops and off-licences.

Sá de Baixo, Douro, Portugal, 2015
€13.95-€14.35, 14%
Medium-bodied and smooth with ripe dark fruits, a touch of spice and a rounded finish. Fail-safe wine at a great price, to serve with all kinds of red and white meats. From Drinkstore, Dublin 7; Red Island Wine, Skerries, Co Dublin; The Winehouse, Trim, Co Meath; Clontarf Wines, Dublin 3; Bradleys, Cork; Lilac Wines, Dublin 3; Sweeneys Wine Merchants, Dublin 11; Listons, Dublin 2; Morton’s, Dublin 6; Mortons of Galway; Ely 64, Glasthule, Co Dublin; Gibney’s of Malahide; 1601 Off Licence, Kinsale, Co Cork; Blackrock Cellar, Co Dublin; Baggot Street Wines, Dublin 4; Wicklow Wine Company, Wicklow town; Redmonds of Ranelagh, Dublin 6; Browns Vineyard, Portlaoise, Co Laois; Martin’s Off-Licence, Dublin 3; McHugh’s, Dublin 3; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock, Co Dublin

Bodegas Paco García Seis, Rioja, 2017
€15.99, 13.5%
Aged six months in oak (seis being Spanish for six) this is a joyous floral, fruit-filled wine with a touch of spice; vibrant, light, fresh blackcurrant fruits with a lovely sweetness. Perfect with white meat. From jnwine.com

Élian Da Ros, Le Vin Est une Fête 2016, Côtes du Marmandais
€17.95, 12.5%
This domaine’s Abouriou (€29.50) is a great wine, but I have always had a real liking for this delicious (and biodynamic) light, summery red with smooth, delicate dark fruits that grow on you with every sip. Great value for money, too. From Terroirs, Dublin 4

Bodegas Ponce Clos Lojen, Manchuela, Spain, 2016
€17, 13%
Made from 60 year-old Bobal vines, this is a gorgeous, supple wine brimming with clean dark-cherry fruits, and brought to life by a lovely fresh acidity. Brilliant value for money. By itself or with white meat. Biodynamic. From Bradleys, Cork; Worldwide Wines, Waterford; Ely 64, Glasthule, Co Dublin; Drinkstore, Dublin 7; Clontarf Wines, Dublin 3; Bradleys, Cork; Lilac Wines, Dublin 3; Blackrock Cellar, Co Dublin; Baggot Street Wines, Dublin 4; Wicklow Wine Company, Wicklow town; Redmonds of Ranelagh, Dublin 6; Browns Vineyard, Portlaoise, Co Laois; Martin’s Off-Licence, Dublin 3; McHugh’s, Dublin 3; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock, Co Dublin; Green Man Wines, Dublin 6W; Searsons, Monkstown, Co Dublin

Bender Pinot Noir, Pfalz, Germany, 2016
€18.25, 13%
A touch of spicy oak that works really well with the supple, elegant dark-cherry fruits. Rounded and soft, this slips down all too easily. With roast duck or charcuterie. From Wines Direct, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, and Dublin 1

Amo-Roujo 2016, Luberon, Domaine le Novi
€20, 14%
A big, juicy ripe wine, with smooth, concentrated red fruits, hints of fresh herbs, and a nicely rounded finish. A stylish and individual wine to pair with red meats and firm cheeses. From Mitchell & Son, Dublin 1; Sandycove, Co Dublin; Kilmacanogue, Co Wicklow; and Dunboyne, Co Meath

Carnuntum, Muhr-Van der Niepoort, Austria, 2011
€25, 13%
Silky-smooth, fully mature, soft, elegant dark fruits and good length. Pinot Noir meets northern Rhône? A joy to drink. Probably good with turkey; certainly good with duck. From Mitchell & Son, Dublin 1; Sandycove, Co Dublin; Kilmacanogue, Co Wicklow; and Dunboyne, Co Meath; Blackrock Cellar, Co Dublin; Redmonds of Ranelagh, Dublin 6; the Corkscrew; Dublin 2

Fleurie 2015, Domaine des Nugues
€25.50, 13%
Domaine des Nugues is among my favourite producers in Beaujolais. Its Fleurie has a lovely fresh elegance, full of silky-smooth ripe dark fruits.From siyps.com; Rua Deli & Cafe, Castlebar, Co Mayo

Cortezada 2016, Fedellos do Couto, Vino Tinto
€27, 13%
Light, elegant and aromatic, with delicate, sweet, silky strawberry and raspberry fruits, this red has a wonderful liveliness. Goes down a treat with boiled ham and roasted root vegetables. Great wine. From Green Man Wines, Dublin 6W; Ely 64, Glasthule, Co Dublin; Loose Canon, Dublin 2

Le Clos des Quarterons Vieilles Vignes 2015, St Nicolas de Bourgeuil
€27.95, 12.5%
Another of my favourite reds of 2018, a Loire Cabernet Franc with an irresistible combination of delicate, silky, yet concentrated red fruits and gently refreshing acidity. Beautifully textured, with well-integrated tannins. Biodynamic. Have with pork, herby roast chicken or baked ham. From Searsons, Monkstown, Co Dublin

Plexus 2015, John Duval Wines, Barossa Valley, SGM
€38.99, 13.5%
Rich and rounded, with ripe red fruits, plenty of spice and a smooth, long finish. Perfect with turkey, ham or both. From Mitchell & Son, Dublin 1; Sandycove, Co Dublin; Kilmacanogue, Co Wicklow; and Dunboyne, Co Meath; Blackrock Cellar, Co Dublin; the Corkscrew, Dublin 2; Red Island Wine, Skerries, Co Dublin; the Parting Glass, Enniskerry, Co Wicklow; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock, Co Dublin; wineonline.ie

Barolo Albe 2014, GD Vajra
€44.99, 13.5%
Lightly floral, with cool, pure raspberry, redcurrant and damson fruits; and well-integrated tannins on a dryish finish. Perfect with duck or goose. From Grapevine, Dalkey, Co Dublin; the Corkscrew, Dublin 2; Terroirs, Dublin 4; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock, Co Dublin; Blackrock Cellar, Co Dublin; Ely 64, Glasthule, Co Dublin; Drinkstore, Dublin 7; Next Door at Myles Creek, Kilkee, Co Clare; Vanilla Grape, Kenmare, Co Kerry; wineonline.ie; Worldwide Wines, Waterford; Power & Co Fine Wines, Lucan, Co Dublin

John Wilson is author of Wilson on Wine 2019; you can buy it here

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