We’re taking it up a notch this week with a great bunch of big reds to move into the cooler months. Not that winter is all about red wine but chilly days and nights definitely call to mind the need for big, juicy, smooth reds.
This outstanding bunch allows for a bit of armchair travel too; in the wine glass – there are wines here from Spain, southern France, Italy, Australia and New Zealand. Hope you enjoy them.
By ‘it’, I mean how are they able to make wines that taste this good and cost so little. In the case of this stunning reserve wine, it lives up to its ‘reserve’ name because it’s been aged for longer than usual in barrel; nine years, to be precise. It comes from Valdepenas where the hot days and cool nights provide ideal conditions to retain fresh qualities in the wines. This wine is 100% Tempranillo (aka Cencibel) and tastes dry, fresh, smooth and soft with big flavours and a long finish. It is great value for money.
Here’s another great take on the Tempranillo theme, this time blended with France’s great Cabernet Sauvignon grape, which provides backbone, weight and structure to this wine. This wine is dry, full bodied and smooth. It drinks well now and can undoubtedly age for at least five years in a cool dark cellar.
Corbieres is one of the biggest wine regions in Languedoc, which stretches around the southern French coast – it has about double the number of grapevines planted as Hawke’s Bay does, by way of comparison. It’s also devoted mostly to reds made from at least 50% Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache and Lladoner Pelut (a grape that’s pretty unknown). Carignan can also make up some of the blend. The wines are dry, deeply coloured, full bodied and savoury – top flavours with pizza.
This classic Italian blend of southern and central red grapes is a tasty big dark red to drink with pizzas, thanks to its spicy aromas and dark ripe fruit from the Negroamaro coupled with the fresh acidity from Sangiovese, which provides a nice zingy, lingering finish.
Deliciously drinkable Australian red made from the famous trio of grapes that go into some of the best value wines in the world – Cotes du Rhone from the sunny Mediterranean. D’Arenberg is one of Australia’s best known and highest quality wineries because every single red is pressed through a basket press. This provides depth of flavour and character. This tasty red is consistently good drinking, especially great in value thanks to its affordable price tag.
2018 Whale Islands Hawke’s Bay Syrah
18.5/20, 4.5 stars
Great vintage, great winemaking and a great region all combine to make this an absolutely stellar bargain; it’s made at Moana Park winery in Hawke’s Bay and comes from a very warm, very dry, early vintage. A fantastic red. Over delivers in every way. Delicious.
Joelle Thomson is a wine writer, journalist and author. She’s an avid lover of wine and currently writes for Capital magazine, Good magazine, NZ Winegrower, Drinksbiz, and her own site,www.joellethomson.com.
She also teaches, works in radio, and more, so we've enlisted her help to sniff out our amazing value wines!