2007 Sequillo (white), Swartland
Dry and full-bodied, with opulent, spicy apricot flavours, steely minerality and good acidity. It’s not shy on oak, but it’s got the concentration and complexity to take it. I showed this on my ‘wine walks’ at The Wine Gang Christmas Fair last month and it went down a storm every time. It’s chenin blanc-based, with some marsanne, roussanne and viognier, but is more Rhône than Loire in inspiration despite the chenin. Made by Eben Sadie. 14% abv. If you’re not a member of The Wine Society, there’s still time to put it on your Christmas list.
£15.50, The Wine Society
2007 Gulfi Rossojbleo Nero d’Avola
Yes, looks like a spelling mistake, but it isn’t. It’s from Sicily and and it’s made from nero d’avola grapes (which are not called black for nothing). Which give it a comforting smell of baked cherries, chocolate and roasting chesnuts. It’s ripe, smooth and spicy with appetising – and slightly unexpected – freshness. 13% abv.
£8.99, Virgin Wines
2005 Perez Burton Rioja
Modern red Rioja made entirely from tempranillo and aged in French oak by the indefatigable Telmo Rodriguez. It’s medium-full, supple and attractively oaky with flavours of honeyed spice, red berries and darker, more savoury notes. 13.5% abv.
£8.99, Marks & Spencer