This month, our wine expert DAVID CLAY offers up some wine ideas for the colder months
HERE are some big, warming reds to get you through a cold February and beyond, plus a few good whites for balance, starting with a lovely easy red from the Lisbon area of Portugal: Behind Closed Doors Lisboa Red Reserva 2018 14pc (Majestic £7.99 mixed six) A blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Syrah and Alicante Bouschet, this has ripe black fruit, spice, smooth tannins.
A lovely, easy drink. Delicious with rustic meat dishes like casseroles.
From France, here are two of the many good reds from the lower part of the Rhone Valley, great with rich beef, spicy sausages and game: Le Verdier Cairanne Cotes Du Rhone Villages 2014 14.5pc (Morrisons £10) Hand-picked grapes — Grenache Noir, Carignan Noir and Syrah — are vinified with a touch of oak to produce a rich, fruity, smooth and full-bodied wine with a luscious texture through to the finish.
Lirac Rouge La Fermade 2016, Domaine Maby 14.5pc (The Wine Society £11.50) A blend of Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah. Balanced, warm and flavoursome, sweet spices, stone fruit and liquorice.
From Italy: Miopasso Primitivo 2018 Puglia, Italy 14.5pc (Lightfoots £11.15) Smooth, ripe, dark berry flavours. An ideal meat or pasta accompaniment.
Barbera d’Asti 2017, Araldica, Piedmont 14.5pc (Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference £6.75) Smooth with ripe morello cherry and blackberry flavours.
Grand Alberoni Zinfandel 2018 Puglia 15pc (Aldi £7.99) Actually the Primitivo grape but big and smooth with ripe fruit, cherries and hint of oak. A bargain.
From Spain: Torres Celeste Crianza 2017 Pago del Cielo, Ribera del Duero 14.5pc (Waitrose £12.49) Ripe red fruit on the nose, smooth palate of blackberries and black cherries with spice and lovely touches of vanilla and wonderfully ripe tannins.
From Mexico, Baja California: L A Cetto Petite Sirah 2015 Guadaloupe Valley 14pc (Lightfoots £9.25) Silky, velvety tannins, nice concentration and weight.
Stewed prunes on the nose, full-bodied with some fleshy black plum on the palate.
From California USA: Carnivor Zinfandel 2018, E & J Gallo Winery, winemaker Debbie Juergenson 14.5pc (Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda £8-9) A luscious, intense red from the Lodi area with bold blackberry and dark cherry fruit alongside mellow tannins and a full body — perfect for pairing with meat.
1000 Stories Zinfandel 2018 Bourbon Barrel Aged , Hopland, Mendocino, California 14.5pc (Sainsbury’s/Tesco £15, Majestic £14.99 mixed 6) “When Bob Blue began making wine, it was tough to get French oak barrels.
So he ages his zinfandel in small oak bourbon-whisky barrels bought from some of America’s finest distilleries”. Delicious black fruit palate with vanilla and a hint of caramel. I love it.
Hawkstone Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 Napa Valley, California (Sainsbury’s £20) A bold, sophisticated wine with lovely flavours of blackberry and plum with notes of vanilla and spice.
Talbott ‘Kali Hart’ Pinot Noir 2017, Santa Lucia Highlands AVA, Monterey, California (Majestic £ 19.99 mixed six) An excellent cool climate Pinot, complex and bright with notes of cherry, cola and vanilla with some balancing minerality.