Always a best seller, we’ve put together a dozen ‘ripping reds’ for your winter drinking ~ leaving you more time for pulling corks and chatting to friends over hearty lunches and dinners.
This season, we’re taking you from pretty and perfumed to dark and chewy, every one selected with your warmth and comfort in mind. These are wines to drink in, at yours or a mate’s ~ a gamay that gives fruit without pesky tannin to slow consumption, while our pair of pinots are contrasts to study from couch or table. When the world seems dark and cold what better to drink than a cherry-bright sangiovese, or take the opposite route – pull the shutters and retire to a warm place with one of the Rhône blends. Once you feel ready for dinner grab the tempranillo or montepulciano, both savoury and juicy, both perfect for entertaining any number down to one. Two shiraz lead a full and round turn into the straight malbec, before the Coonawarra cabernet/malbec blend brings it home in a long and structured finish. Get out of those wet clothes and into a glass of dry red!
2017 Dominique Piron Beaujolais-Village, Gamay, Beaujolais, France $25
Fourteen generations of winegrowing is no guarantee of good wine, but it can’t hurt. Fifty-year-old vines and granite sands might have something to do with it as well. Fruity without being heavy, and depth without seeming dense, this is honest red wine to relax with after work.
2018 Monopole (by Punt Road) Pinot Noir, Yarra Valley, VIC $38
Off the oldest pinot block at Punt Road, pruned and picked by Wine Shop staff under the careful eye of winemaker Tim Shand, this has classic Yarra stylings of pretty red fruits in a textured, but light package. Since you asked, the 2017 vintage picked up gold at the Yarra Show, and we have high hopes for this second effort too!
2015 Amen Break Pisa Moorings Pinot Noir, Central Otago, NZ $32
Every year, pinot guru Matt Harrop (Curly Flat, ex-Shadowfax) teams up with his brother Steve to put together this brooding Central pinot. As much of a classic as the drum break it’s named after, the density and power here mark it as pinot for nights on the couch – sweater essential, cat optional.
2017 Poggio Anima Belial IGT Toscana Sangiovese, Tuscany, Italy $25
We love good sangiovese, and this one is pure mischief. It has the perfect balance of a bright red cherry, pleasantly tart, light grip from the skin, and the vaguest impression of herbaceousness. There is a wonderful intensity to this mid-weight wine, no doubt coming from the mature aged vines it issues from and the warmer climes of the Colli Senesi.
2016 Mont Redon Côtes-du-Rhône Grenache/Cinsault/Syrah, Southern Rhône, France $25
You could cast this around your shoulders on one of the long nights to come, it’s certain to keep you warm. Soft and full grenache, with one-fifth cinsault for perfume and a lick of shiraz for structure. It’s the kind of wine we could drink all winter long.
2016 Turkey Flat Butcher’s Block Red Shiraz/Mataro/Grenache,Barossa Valley SA $24
150 years Barossan, the Schulz family were butchers first, grape growers second. A portion of this warmly fruited, lightly spiced number gaining depth from those original old vine plantings. Entirely aged in older barrels and with 10% whole bunches to add further layers of flavour, this is a rich and complex wine that suits slow (braised) food.
2017 Gran Cerdo Tempranillo, Rioja, Spain $26
Biodynamic, estate grown fruit from entirely within Rioja Alta, but iconoclast Gonzalo Grijalba refuses to put either title on the bottle. Whilst whole bunches and long-aging in cement is unusual for the region, the results are certifiably delicious in this mid-weight beauty – long, supple and savoury.
2016 Barone Valforte Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Italy $27
This noble family may be old and tradition steeped, but a hi-tech, solar powered winery, and leanings towards organic viticulture are all good clues to what you’ll find in the glass. Polished dark fruits dominate, but the dusty grip of traditional tannin is there in the background to temper such modern brashness. Whether at the head of the table or not, it deserves an invitation to dinner.
2017 First Creek Shiraz, Hunter Valley, NSW $23
Liz Silkman and family pick up a new gong every year it seems. Making elegant, black fruited wines like this, it’s easy to see how! One of the Hunter’s best recent vintages lends freshness, and judicious new oak gives polish and length to this lovable mid-weight style.
2015 McPherson Laneway Shiraz, Central Victoria $21
Depth of fruit here marks this bottle for the real depths of winter.
With a blue velvet core this could warm up a room as it slinks along the palate. Ripe and rounded out after time in bottle, find someone to cuddle up and share this one with.
2015 Château du Cedre Tradition Cahors, Malbec, South-west, France $28
This comes from vines grown atop the stunning limestone plateaus that made malbec famous well before the New World was discovered. A top producer, in a great vintage, this is one for your richer meals, like braised lamb. Aromatic and juicy, with grunt and chew on the finish.
2016 Parker Coonawarra Estate Cabernet/Malbec, Coonawarra, SA $21
As dark as the skies outside, this is a claret for the season. Classic black fruit and cabernet structure are leavened by exuberant malbec, before resting just shy of two years in old oak so it all comes together. It is wines like this that drag cabernet back onto our radar when the weather turns ‘winterous.’
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