Red Wine

As you will probably know the wine world is divided up into "old world" and "new world" countries. Old world consists of mainland Europe - France, Spain, Italy, Germany etc, while New World consists mainly of the regions colonised by European settlers such as Australia, New Zealand, USA, Chile, Argentina and South Africa, although the South African wine insustry dates back to the mid 17th century so "new" could be a misleading term. This sector is ever expanding with new emerging regions such as Mexico, Brazil, Uruguay, and these days even India and China.

So there is a lot to choose from! The UK is regarded as the "shop window" of the world and most producers want their goods on sale here. And as the UK has no history of producing quality wines there is no allegiance to traditional regions or styles over here, giving every wine an equal chance to shine on it's own merits. Hence the UK wine market is probably the most diverse in the world.

Naturally we assume more choice is a good thing. But with a subject as vast and confusing as red wine there is such a thing as too much choice. Most UK consumers find selecting the right red wine amid the myriad of different retailers and brands a very challenging experience. Unfortunately the UK is flooded with poor quality wine, driven by low supermarket prices and some of the highest excise duty rates in the world - the UK pays over 40% of all the excise duty of the entire European Union! This means a cheap wine in mainland Europe costing three Euros, would cost you more like £8.99 by the time it is on sale in a UK off license - three times as much!

Most retailers, whether supermarkets, grocery chains, off licenses or even independent retailers end up sourcing factory produced wines made on a large scale, with large quantities of additives, driven by price, so finding a good bottle of wine amongst them is like finding a needle in a haystack. This is where we come in. We are a small privately owned, fiercely independent business specialising in sourcing only good quality wines, made properly by people (not machines), with minimal if any additives. We buy the vast majority of our red wines direct from small family owned wineries, and pass the savings onto our customers.

That means you get great quality wines at the right price, our small family wineries get their wines to market, and hopefully we make a profit in the middle which we reinvest into sourcing more great wines. We only sell GOOD WINES so every wine on our site is good, many are exceptional. Most have at least one award, many are multi gold medal winners. So you can be confident of getting a good bottle regardless of which country or region you choose. Many of our really tiny artisan wineries don't actually enter their wines for awards as they produce so little, but these are also sourced on their merits and are excellent wines.

Here is a guide to help you decide where to start looking.

Argentina

Our boutique producers make some truly world class red wines. Malbec is the signature grape as it flourishes in Argentina producing wines in a big, bold and punchy style not found in the old world. There is a move toward more restrained styles now but there are still plenty of big blockbusting Malbecs out there if you know where to look. They also make exceptional "Bordeaux blends" and great single varietal reds. Look out for "Tannat" and Bonarda as other favourites from here.

Australia

The best regions are around Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills (at the bottom of Australia in the middle). Margaret River south of Perth is widely regarded but personally I find these red wines too expensive for their quality. The Australian dollar is particularly strong so Aussie wines aren't great value at the moment. We struggle with their whites too as we like to source only wines with low sulphite content and we just can't seem to find them in Australia. The reds from Barossa and Adelaide can be very good though, particularly Shiraz whether on it's own or in a blend.

Chile

Famous for quality wines at an affordable price. We don't currently import from Chile as it's a difficult country to deal directly with. We have some decent wines from Aresti and Undurraga but Chile is not a focus of ours.

France

We don't get involved with the established regions like Bordeaux and Burgundy. These sectors are very well catered for already, and in truth I find the red wines to be very disappointing value for money. I would much rather have a Bordeaux blend from South Africa or Argentina than one from Bordeaux - it will be half the price and twice as good! But we do like France for natural wines and we import exclusively from several wineries along the south coast producing excellent organic and sulphite free wines.

Italy

In my opinion Italy makes some of the best wines in the world. It is also the world's largest producer by volume. There is a vast array of different grapes and styles from cool climate Pinot Nero in the snowy north to hot weather Primitivo in the south. Italian red wine labels are very difficult to understand for the amateur enthusiast as most Italian wines are named after their region rather than grape varieties. We have beautiful top quality Amarones from Veneto, from world class producers like Zenato and Campagnola. Superb Tuscans from La Selva and Casanova di Neri - I could go on and on as there is a wealth of great wines on our Italian page. Read through it for yourself.

New Zealand

Famous for Pinot Noir, but also getting more acclaim for heavier reds like Syrah, subject to it coming from the right region of course. I find their red wines a bit too manipulated for my personal taste, with the exception of the real top end like Jurassic Ridge on Waiheke Island, but I am particularly fussy on purity. The New Zealand dollar is very strong so we have stopped importing from here foe the forseeable future as the wines are simply not value for money at the present time.

South Africa

A country producing exceptional wines. There are roughly 1600 wineries in South Africa, many of them small and family owned, with the wine industry dating back to the 1600s. The reputation of SA red wines has suffered due to the poor quality mass produced plonk flooding our high streets, but get onto their top boutique wines and they stand right up there with the best from the rest of the world. We import from about ten top quality boutique family owned wineries, and these wines are amongst the best on our site. The Rand is weak so South Africa is easily the best value of all the new world countries at present, and in my opinion produces some of the best wines in the new world.

Spain

Famous for red wine of course as one of the biggest producers in the world. Rioja is their most famous region but that has been surpassed by Ribera del Duero for quality which in turn is finding fierce competition from emerging regions such as Toro and Bierzo. Tempranillo is their signature grape but there are also significant plantings of Cabernet, Merlot and Grenache as well as native Spanish grapes, which are often blended with Tempranillo. We are now importing directly from a dozen tiny artisan Spanish wineries. These wines tend to be made naturally with minimal additives, and are not only delicious but also great value for money too.

USA

California is their biggest red wine region but there are other emerging regions on the east coast. We specialise in sulphite free wines and import directly from Frey Winery, the USA's oldest organically certified winery.

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  1. Frey Organic Pinot Noir

    Frey's notes state:

    A light and crisp Pinot Noir that shines as a cocktail wine or paired with spicy cuisine and fresh seafood. Aromas of plum and flavors of berry and spice are followed by a smooth floral finish.
     
    Total sulfite, naturally occurring: TTB analysis, 0ppm.


    "Very Good," 2020 Wine Enthusiast Magazine
    Bronze: 2019 Dan Berger's International Wine Competition
    Bronze & “Recommended:” 2019 Tastings.com World Wine Championships

    Free sulphur: 0

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Sulphite Free

    John's Rating:

    Learn More
    £19.00
  2. Frey Organic Natural Red sulphite free wine

    Technically Frey's entry level red, but it is far too good to be called entry level!

    Frey's notes state:
    Our best-selling wine is medium bodied, well balanced, and smooth, with a bright garnet hue. The finish is crisp and fruity. An excellent everyday red, carefully crafted with organic techniques. This wine pairs well with a wide variety of cuisine from picnic fare to holiday feasts.

    Total sulfite, naturally occurring: TTB analysis, 0ppm.
     
    "Best Buy," 2019 Wine Enthusiast Magazine

    Free sulphur: 0

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Sulphite Free

    John's Rating:

    Learn More
    £12.50
  3. Frey Organic Zinfandel sulphite free wine

    Frey's notes state:

    Zinfandel has been planted in Mendocino County, California, since the 1800s; the benchland soils and dry Mediterranean climate produce plentiful, hearty grapes. Our Zinfandel has bramble berry aromas, and is fruit-forward with a spicy finish. Pair with cheese manicotti or Moroccan lamb and dolmas.

    Total sulfite, naturally occurring: TTB analysis: pending

    Silver: 2020 San Francisco International Wine Competition

    Free sulphur: 0

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Sulphite Free

    John's Rating:

    Learn More
    £16.99
  4. Frey Organic Syrah

    Frey's notes state:

    Our Syrah is rich and full-bodied with a deep garnet hue. Lush, round tannins give the wine a solid structure that is softened by notes of plum and cocoa. Enjoy with dark chocolate, blue cheese, or roasted meats.
     

    Total sulfite, naturally occurring: TTB analysis, 1ppm.

    Silver & “Highly Recommended:” 2020 Tastings.com World Wine Championships
    Bronze: 2019 Dan Berger's International Wine Competition

    Free sulphur: 0

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Sulphite Free

    John's Rating:

    Learn More
    £16.99
  5. Frey Organic Agriculturist Red Blend sulphite free wine
    Frey's notes state:
     
    An approachable blend of family-farmed grapes. Bright garnet hue with a sturdy structure and grippy character that has a remarkable ability to pair with most foods. Gather around the table or fireside and enjoy a smooth, lingering finish.
     
    Total sulfite, naturally occurring: TTB analysis, 1ppm.
     
    Silver: 2020 San Francisco International Wine Competition
    "Good," 2020 Wine Enthusiast Magazine

    Free sulphur: 0

    Organic: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Sulphite Free

    John's Rating:

    Learn More
    £13.99
  6. Frey Organic Sangiovese sulphite free wine

    Frey's notes state:

    Vigorous Sangiovese vines thrive in our Home Ranch vineyard. Hot days and cool nights ripen the fruit to perfection and yield a wine that is medium bodied with rich fruit and gentle tannins. Pair with minestrone soup, tomato gratin, or chocolate desserts.

    Total sulfite, naturally occurring: TTB analysis, 0 ppm.
     
    Silver: 2018 Great American International Wine Competition
    Bronze: 2018 International Women's Wine Competition
    Bronze: 2018 Global Wine Awards, Las Vegas
    Bronze: 2017 Harvest Challenge, Sonoma County, California
    "Good," 2019 Wine Enthusiast Magazine

    Free sulphur: 0

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Sulphite Free

    John's Rating:

    Learn More
    £16.99
  7. Frey Organic Merlot sulphite free wine
    Frey's notes state:
    Our 2018 Merlot is velvety and smooth.  Supple flavors of cassis and cedary plum meld with soft tannins to create a luscious, silky expression. Pair with linguine with lemon-herb gremolata, blue-veined cheeses, or your favorite chocolate.

    Total sulfite, naturally occurring: TTB analysis, 1 ppm.
     

    GOLD: 2020 TheFiftyBest.com, Best Merlots
    Silver, & "Highly Recommended," 2020 Beverage Testing Inst., World Wine Championships
    Silver: 2020 West Coast Wine Competition (East Meets West)
    Silver: 2019 Dan Berger's International Wine Competition
    "Good," 2020 Wine Enthusiast Magazine
    Bronze: 2019 New Orleans International Wine Competition

    s.

    Free sulphur: 0

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Sulphite Free

    John's Rating:

    Learn More
    £16.99
  8. Frey Organic Cabernet Sauvignon sulphite free wine

    Frey#s notes state:

    Our Cabernet is rich and earthy with flavors of plum and chocolate, a graceful tannic structure, and a robust finish. Best paired with bold, flavorful foods that match its depth of flavor and aroma. Enjoy with wild mushroom ragout, roasted rack of lamb, or flourless chocolate cake.

    Total sulfite, naturally occurring: TTB analysis, 0ppm.

    Silver: 2020 West Coast Wine Competition (East Meets West)
    Silver: 2020 Toast of the Coast Wine Competition
    Silver, & "Highly Recommended," 2020 Beverage Testing Inst., World Wine Championships
    Silver: 2019 International Women's Wine Competition, Sonoma, California
    Silver: 2019 Critics Challenge, San Diego International Wine Competition
    Silver: 2019 American Wine Society Commercial Wine Competition
    Silver & “Highly Recommended:” 2019 Tastings.com World Wine Championships
    "Very Good," 2019 Wine Enthusiast Magazine

    Free sulphur: 0

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Sulphite Free

    John's Rating:

    Learn More
    £19.99

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