Tipping’s Tipples: Ripe reds for dark nights

Autumn: a season of mists and mellow – oh forget it, let's have a drink. Photograph Stux
24 Nov 2016 @ 9.25 pm
| Food & drink

I was thinking how I might tie together a selection of red wines for the season of mists. However I have ruled out most of my ideas as they are clichéd, including those inspired by the work of Keats.

With clichés in mind there’s the wine writers’ warming red myth. Red wine doesn’t make me warmer, or at least I haven’t noticed it doing so.

Chilled white and rosé wines seem to cool me down in summer but if I want to warm up I usually take a hot bath.

Wines for Guy Fawkes Night and Hallowe’en parties are not appropriate either. Vino does not mix well with bonfires and fireworks, on health and safety grounds, nor does it work as an accompaniment to a witch’s cauldron full of Haribo.

So I have settled on this…

Red wine seems even more appealing in the colder, darker months. I don’t know why but it does. Here’s a selection of good ones.

Cherry nice


Anda Tempranillo Syrah 2015, Andalucia

£7.99 at Waitrose


Anda Tempranillo Syrah 2015, now on the shelves at Waitrose, is a modern tasting red from Andalucia, a region better known for producing sherry.

A fifty-fifty blend of Tempranillo and Syrah (Rioja meets Rhone?), it is not for the purists but it delivers well at the price-point. Brimming with cherries, plums, strawberries and black pepper, it has some structure and a nice freshness.

Jip Jip hurray


Jip Jip Rocks Shiraz 2014, Padthaway

£10.99 at Waitrose


Also to be found at Waitrose is the delightfully named Jip Jip Rocks Shiraz 2014, which hails from the Padthaway wine region in Oz. Bold and bursting with dark berry fruits, peppery spices, espresso and liquorice notes, it tastes just like Aussie Shiraz should do.

Pey day


Château Pey La Tour Reserve 2012, Bordeaux Supérieur

£11.50 from The Wine Society


As a contrast to that big Aussie red, try Château Pey La Tour Reserve 2012 if Old World wines are more your thing. It is a classy claret, made mainly from merlot grown in the Entre-Deux-Mers, a large sub-region of Bordeaux.

Polished and balanced, it suggests flavours of cherry, raspberry, spice, dark chocolate and vanilla oak notes.


Montes Alpha Carménère 2014, Colchagua

£11.95 from www.winedirect.co.uk


I am a big fan of the Carménère grape. Widely grown in Chile it thrives to the extent that it is often referred to as the South American country’s signature grape.

Montes Alpha Carménère 2014, from the Colchagua Valley, is a splendid example. Smooth and rich, it suggests brambles and plums with notes of tomato leaf, green pepper, vanilla and a lick of toasty oak.

Great with a Sunday roast, it also matches up well to a lamb rogan josh.

Spice is right


Viñalba Malbec-Touriga Nacional 2014, Uco Valley

£12.99 (or £9.99 mix six price) at Majestic


Or if steak is on the menu, from the other side of the Andes there is Viñalba Malbec-Touriga Nacional 2014.

The Malbec grape probably needs no introduction but Touriga Nacional maybe does. It’s a Portuguese grape often used in the production of Port.

It typically produces wines that taste of blackcurrant and violets and that is just what it does here in combination with the plums and black cherry fruit of the Malbec. This spicy, structured wine is very good value if you make the most of Majestic’s “mix six” price.