With festivities ramping up, spending over £10 brings handsome rewards, especially with bottles from South America and Portugal. If it’s classic French or nothing, Côte Rôtie from the Rhône is my pick. Predominantly made from the spicy Syrah (Shiraz) grape, it’s often blended with a little white Viognier which dials up the fragrance into a full violet spectrum of irresistible allure. 2015 and 2016 were both stellar years, but choose a supple 2017 for drinking now – and I’d recommend decanting to maximise aromas, flavours and enjoyment.
OLLY’S PICK OF THE BUNCH
Viñalba Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 (14.5%), £10, Tesco. Stunning vitality in this red that feels like the steal of the century. Buy all you can find.
Matetic Estela Luna Pinot Noir 2019 (13.5%), £12, M&S. Superbly rich Pinot with autumnal spice and world-class finesse. Tastes like bargain fine wine to me.
Quinta do Noval Touriga 2017 (14%), £43.50, fortnumandmason.com. Abundant festive spice. Elegant and charms with every sip. Wow!
Côte Rôtie Patrick Jasmin ‘La Giroflarie’ 2017 (13.5%), £49, yapp.co.uk. Firm power and heady perfume surge into a robust finish in a surreptitiously spiced icon. Treat yourself.
WINE OF THE WEEK
Luis Felipe Edwards LFE 900 Single Vineyard 2016 (14.5%), £14.99, Majestic. A statement wine with the impact and structure of peppered steak. Spicy splendour, fierce excellence.