It’s January and it’s raining but don’t worry because we’ve got some splendidly affordable red wines to brighten up the saddest month of the year. 

Did you know that Master of Malt sells wine? Well, we do. Compared with our spirits range, it’s a small selection but everything we stock is something that our buyer Mr Guy Hodcroft personally loves. Whether you want to spend £12 or £25, whether you like a big comforting wine from the Rhone or something chic and elegant from Piedmont, this list has something for everyone. As long as you like red wine, that is, we’ll be doing whites in a couple of weeks. So, rather than face the queues at the supermarket, why not add some bottled sunshine to your Master of Malt basket?

Red Wines

Rioja La Vendimia Palacios Remondo 2017

Rioja is one of the world’s favourite reds and with examples like this, you can see why. It’s made from a blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha which is aged for five months on French oak, and is beautifully balanced between fruit and oak. And isn’t the label pretty, too?

What does it taste like?

Ripe strawberries with cloves, tobacco and vanilla. This would be just the thing with roast lamb with lots of rosemary and garlic. 

Red Wines

Langhe Nebbiolo Oddero 2018

Do you love Barolo but don’t fancy spending a lot of money on a bottle? Then you need Langhe Nebbiolo, it’s made from the same grape grown in slightly less prestigious vineyards in the same region, Piedmont. This wine from family firm Oddero offers much of the magic of its big brothers but without having to drain your bank account.

What does it taste like?

Rose petals and strawberries with firm tannins that will appreciate a mushroom risotto made with lots of parmesan cheese or suitably hearty meat dish.

Red Wines

Koerner The Clare 2019

Made in the cool-climate Clare Valley in South Australia, this is a blend of classic Bordeaux varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc, with some Grenache. It’s aged in stainless steel and old oak, and the winemakers describe its  as being in a “Loire style”, so expect lots of freshness and red fruit rather than oak and spice

What does it taste like?

Delightfully perfumed nose with rose petals, fresh blackcurrants and mint. The palate is light, for an Australian wine, but intense with red fruits, herbs, tobacco and a slatey refreshing edge. 

Red Wines

Ver Sacrum Garnacha 2018

Garnacha, or Grenache as the French call it, is a grape that originally comes from Aragon in Spain and it’s unusual to see one from Argentina. It can make rather alcoholic wines but this one at 12.5% majors on freshness and ripe fruit. It’s aged in a mixture of concrete eggs and used wood to keep that fruit as fresh as possible. 

What does it taste like?

Crammed with fresh red fruit like raspberries and red cherries, there’s an aromatic menthol quality with a citrusy lift at the end. This would be good served lightly-chilled with seared tuna. 

Red Wines

Côtes-Du-Rhône Mon Coeur Jean-Louis Chave 2018

Monsieur Chave makes some of the best and most expensive wines in the northern Rhone. If you’re feeling flush, try his Hermitage. But he also makes a more affordable range under the JL Chave Selection label. A blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre, this is consistently one of the best Cotes du Rhones on the market.

What does it taste like?

Raspberry and blueberry leading into floral violet, liquorice and white pepper, with touches of baked earth. Try this with sausages and mash, you won’t be disappointed. 

Red Wines

Dão Niepoort Rótulo 2016

The Dão region has been called the Burgundy of Portugal making joyful perfumed wines at a very good price. Niepoort is best known for its Ports but it makes wine all over Portugal as well as in Austria, for some reason. A blend of native grapes, Touriga Nacional, Jaen, Tinta Pinheira and Alfrocheiro, this Dão is delightful now but will age for many years.

What does it taste like?

Pungent floral nose with dark fruit, rosemary and fennel. A bite of tannin gives way to autumn fruits, violets, black olive and a hint of bitter dark chocolate. Try with spicy pork stew. 

Red Wines

Badenhorst Family Secateurs Red 2015

This is made in Swartland, an area of the Cape that was almost unknown ten years ago but now makes some of South Africa’s finest wines. It’s a blend of Rhone varieties like Shiraz, Carignan, Cinsault and Grenache, from very old vines. With five years age, it has developed some real complexity but still with plenty of fresh fruit.

What does it taste like?

Blackberries and blackcurrants with lavender-like floral notes, a slatey refreshing edge and a little nutty roundness on the finish. Try with boeuf bourguignon. 

Red Wines

Yves Cuilleron Syrah Les Vignes d’a Cote 2019 

The Rhone valley in France really does offer unbeatable value which is why we’ve included another example in our line-up. Yves Cuilleron makes some fine and fancy wines in St. Joseph but puts just as much care and attention into this more everyday Syrah. It really delivers for the money.

What does it taste like?

Maraschino cherries, black pepper and a strong whack of violets. Fairly light-bodied but packed full of flavour. This would be excellent with herb-scented roast chicken.

Red Wines

Barbera d’Asti Casareggio, Agostino Pavia & Figli  2018 

Piedmont is rich in grapes. There’s Nebbiolo for when you’re feeling serious but when you fancy a night of fun down the trattoria, then reach for Barbera. It produces some of the most straightforward delicious wines in Italy. This is made by the family firm Agostino Pavia & Figli and though there’s plenty of fun, there’s complexity here too. 

What does it taste like?

Bittersweet black cherries, and a crackle of crunchy acidity, this is probably the ultimate pizza or pasta with tomato sauce wine. 

Red Wines

Raúl Pérez La Vitoriana La Vizcaina 2017

If you think Spain is all about big oaky reds (not that there’s anything wrong with big oaky reds), then think again. This is made in the cool wet north of the country, Galicia, from Mencia. This indigenous grape makes fresh, perfumed and hugely distinctive and this example from a single vineyard shows how impressive it can be in the right hands.

What does it taste like?

A brilliant balance of balsamic, berries and spice, this has a freshness and lightness that would be great with oily fish like sardines or mackerel.