Wine: Top ten Christmas reds

Christmas Reds: La Rioja Alta Reserva
Christmas Reds: La Rioja Alta Reserva
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My top ten reds for Christmas are luscious gems discovered over numerous tastings this year.

From new wave Old World to old timers in the New – I have included favourites for serving with turkey, such as pinot noir and syrah, alongside unusual new wines to match with roast goose, beef, lamb and venison.

Old world

Spain La Rioja Alta Reserva 2006

(£12.50, The Wine Society,

Beautifully made by La Rioja Alta, it smells of vanilla, coconut and table polish with a velvet smooth, succulent palate. Delicious with roast lamb, but would cope with turkey and its trimmings.

Portugal Quinta de Chocapalha Tinto 2007


Portuguese blend from Chocapalha based on touriga nacional and tinta roriz. Good with beef or turkey.

Italy Barbera d’Alba 2009 Cascina Fontana

(£16.50, Berry Bros & Rudd,

This superb barbera is juicy, fresh and pure. Try it with cold turkey and cranberry sauce too.


Bagus 2005 Bodegas Lopez de Cristobel

(£24.99, Raeburn Wines, Edinburgh)

This is made from the same grape as rioja – the tempranillo. Beautifully made with lush fruits, mature vanilla notes. Delicious with roast lamb – but could match turkey.

Italy Lago Bruno Rosso 2007 Incontri


This is a ripe look-alike right-bank claret (aka St Emilion), with its combination of merlot and cabernet sauvignon – and a twist to the finish with a hint of Italy’s sangiovese grape. Spicy and velvet smooth – an unusual match with roast turkey.

New world

New Zealand Dog Point Pinot Noir 2010

(£25, Berry Bros & Rudd)

My favourite Kiwi pinot. Like many Marlborough pinots, it has upfront succulent fruit with good balance of fresh natural acid.

Turkey Kayra Imperial Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2009


Match turkey with Turkey. This bottle shows just what potential this country has. Full brambly fruits, spicy, herby tea-leaf notes.

South Africa Boekenhoutskloof Syrah 2008

(£25.99, Waitrose; Champany Cellars, Linlithgow)

The Cape’s most impressive syrah to date. Luscious black fruits, elegant palate, fine tannins with enough power and sweetness to match with roast venison. Another excellent new Cape Syrah comes from newcomer Rudi Schultz (£16 from Justerini & Brooks).

Australia Clonakilla Hilltops Shiraz 2008

(£17.99, Waitrose;

I have long been impressed by Clonakilla’s peppery elegant shiraz. Delicious with roast goose.