As with white wines, Christmas is not the time to bring out your best bottles of red. Generally speaking crowd-pleasing reds with plenty of fruit are what’s required, wines that can stand up to all those flavours on what is usually a pretty packed Christmas dinner plate.
Les Cardinaux 2016, Rhône, Famille Perrin (Co-op £8 on offer from £10 until January 3) is the perfect Christmas all-rounder.
It’s a blend of grenache, syrah and mourvèdre and is made by the Perrin family, owners of Chateau de Beaucastel, perhaps the most renowned Châteauneuf-du-Pape estate of all and 2016 was a great vintage in the southern Rhône so this is a bit of a steal while on offer.
It offers warm dark fruits with some spice, dried herbs and savoury notes on the nose, followed by a medium-to-full-bodied mouthfeel and a nice warm finish.
This will happily see you through to Boxing Day as well with those cold meats and bubble and squeak.
A similar wine but with more New World fruit is Kilikanoon Grenache Shiraz Mataro 2016, South Australia (Waitrose £10.99) and is made from the same blend of grapes.
This has ripe, bold fruit with blackcurrant and plum, spice and some smoky wood notes in the background, followed by a lush, full-bodied palate and a long, rich finish. A real crowd-pleaser with more than enough concentration to stand up to all those Christmas flavours.
Bordeaux is perhaps more of a traditional Christmas wine and Chateau Pey La Tour 2016, Bordeaux (Waitrose £9.99) is one of those wines that in days gone past would have been described as lunchtime claret.
It’s mainly merlot with a little cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon. It’s not a grand wine but offers plenty of attractive red berry fruit and an elegant palate with some grippy tannins.
Bordeaux under £10 is not so easy to find these days and this would work well if you were having beef.
KWV ‘The Mentors’ Petit Verdot 2016, Western Cape (slurp.co.uk £14.95) is a very classy South African take on Bordeaux.
It has an intense nose of black fruits, violets and sweet spices leading to a rich, juicy palate with more dark fruits and well-integrated tannins before a very long, concentrated finish.
Again, if you are having beef this would work very well and would also accompany the cheese board wonderfully.
Pinot noir is probably the best match with turkey and Tesco Finest Mercurey 2016 (Tesco £13) offers good value for money when it comes to red Burgundy.
Made for Tesco by Bouchard Ainé et Fils, one of the historic producers of Burgundy, this is very fragrant with soft strawberry and red cherry, some spice and a touch of earthiness on the nose with silky tannins and more red fruits on the palate.
This is elegant red wine with enough acidity to cut through much of the richer aspects on your Christmas plate.