Warming winter red wines

Ravenswood Vintners Blend Old Vine Zinfandel 2011, California

Ravenswood Vintners Blend Old Vine Zinfandel 2011, California

Pigeon with leeks and a seed and honey dressing

LAWRENCE MURPHY: Pigeon with leeks, seed and honey dressing

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Winter has definitely arrived with the dark nights and cold mornings, and with it has come an opportunity to enjoy some richer and warmer reds.

What could be better on a Sunday than a brisk walk, followed by some slow-cooked food and a hearty red?

Catena Malbec 2011, Mendoza (Waitrose £10.39 on offer from £12.99 until December 3) is full of ripe blackberry and plum fruit, with spicy oak and a very smooth finish.

This would be great with roast beef or some confit duck.

I’ve yet to taste a Rhone red from 2010 that has disappointed, and Cotes du Rhone 2010, E.Guigal (Waitrose £8.79 on offer from £10.99 until December 3) maintains that record.

This is full of spicy red fruits, and its what Cotes du Rhone should be about.

Ravenswood Vintners Blend Old Vine Zinfandel 2011, California

This must be an almost perfect winter red. It’s a big, bold wine that almost bursts out of the bottle. Its full of rich bramble and blueberry fruit, with hints of oak and spice and a long, full finish. Finish it off in front of the fire after Sunday lunch.

Widely available and at Waitrose, £7.79, on offer from £10.49 until December 3.

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