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. Cave de Cairanne Chantecotes Abelia Rouge

    Orange 2021 - Gold, Guide Hatchette - 1 Star

    The Abelia range from Cave de Cairanne is a fantastic value introduction to their delicious wines, all AC Cotes du Rhone.

    This is really good, full flavoured and smooth. Great value at this price!

     

    Sulphite level: Medium Low

    John's Rating:

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    £10.00
  2. Le Quai à Raisins Belvedere

    Brand new wine - tasting notes to follow

    Free sulphur: <5

    Organic: Yes

    Grapes Own Yeast: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    No wood used: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Sulphite Free

    John's Rating:

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    £21.95
  3. Cave de Cairanne Organic Metamorphosis AC Cotes Du Rhone Villages

    Gold - Mundus Vini

    International Wine Report - 92 Points

    A fantastic new organic wine from this excellent co-operative. The renowned Rhone trio of grape varieties "GSM" (Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre).

    This wine is superb for the money.

     

    Organic: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Very Low

    John's Rating:

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    £11.99
  4. Domaine Mayrac Organic Savoir Etre Rouge

    A new wine recently released. Tasting notes to follow but I expect it to be very good.

    Awarded Silver at both Milesime Bio 2019 and IWSC 2019

     

     

     

     

    Organic: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Very Low

    John's Rating:

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    £13.49
  5. Le Quai à Raisins Lopin

    A new red from Robin Althof from Costes Cirgues and his wife Imogen.

     

    Free sulphur: <5

    Organic: Yes

    Grapes Own Yeast: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Sulphite Free

    John's Rating:

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    £23.50
  6. Cave de Cairanne Organic Elegante Cairanne

     

    An excellent organic Rhone blend. Again sweet fruit on entry, good mouthfeel with full body, smooth and round with just a hint of oak.

     

    Free sulphur: 14

    Organic: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Very Low

    John's Rating:

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    £12.49
  7. Cave de Cairanne AC Cairanne Sans Soufre

    Another sulphite free Rhone blend, this time from the Cairanne AOC. Full flavoured and fruity with medium body. Once again smooth with nicely balanced natural aciditiy. Like all Cave de Cairanne's reds it is made in a fruit forward style so is a little sweeter on the palate than our other sulphite free reds.

     

    Free sulphur: <7

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Sulphite Free

    John's Rating:

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    £13.00
  8. Cave de Cairanne Cotes du Rhone Rouge Sans Soufre

     

    A good entry level Cotes Du Rhone without added sulphites. Great value.

     

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Sulphite Free

    John's Rating:

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    £10.99
  9. Cave de Cairanne Organic Gigondas

    Gigondas had become known as "the poor man's Chateauneuf du Pape" a decade ago, although I think that is a bit tongue in cheek as the wines can still command a hefty price. The wines can be amazing and although this AC has developed a very strong reputation for high quality, they still tend to be a bit cheaper than equivalents from Chateauneuf.

    This wine is superb. Big and powerful as you would expect, with full body. Super smooth with acidity and oak in perfect balance, and a very long lingering finish. Highly recommended. Cave de Cairanne make all their reds in a fruit forward style and minimise the tannins (by de-stemming etc) so the wine is ready to drink young. For this reason we recommend you drink within a couple of days once opened, but it is so delicious you will probably drink it within a couple of hours in reality!

    Sulphite level: Low

    John's Rating:

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    £23.95
  10. Cave de Cairanne Chantecotes Rouge

    Orange 2021 - Gold

    Cave de Cairanne Chantecotes Rouge is a rebrand of their fantastic Grande Reserve Cru Cairanne. 

    Fantastic. Big rich flavours with power yet super smooth. The Cave de Cairanne wines just keep improving year on year. This is a cracker.

    Gluten free: Yes

    Sulphite level: Low

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    £11.99
  11. Cave de Cairanne Organic Vacqueyras

     

    Cave de Cairanne are very proud of this Vacqueyras. As an AOC the reputation of Vacqueyras has grown in recent years as it is catching up to it's more famous neighbours of Gigondas and Chateauneuf du Pape.

    This is an excellent wine. Big and powerful yet well balanced. Good fruit with just the right amount of oak, very smooth and medium bodied with a long finish. This knocks the socks off any generic Chateaneuf du Pape. Highly recommended. 

    Free sulphur: 12

    Organic: Yes

    No wood used: No

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Very Low

    John's Rating:

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    £18.95
  12. Cave de Cairanne Rasteau Organic

     

    Appellation Rasteau Controllee. Concentrated red and black fruits with some well integrated oak. Fairly light in body and silky smooth. This is a delicious wine, ideal with some good cheese. 

    No wood used: No

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Very Low

    John's Rating:

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    £13.00
  13. Le Quai à Raisins Syrault sulphite free wine

    A new wine from a new venture! Robin Althof from Costes Cirgues and his wife Imogen are making small batches of their own excellent wines from different parcels of grapes from friends' vineyards. Obviously they are organically farmed and sulphite free of course. 

    This first wine is a blend of Syrah and Cinsault - we have just moved onto their 2019.

    Jane and I overnighted at the Chateau in September (2 years ago now) where we were treated to a full tasting of all their wines including some older vintages, prior to a wonderful meal out in the courtyard under the stars. All their wines are very good, but for some reason I was drawn back to this one repeatedly and it is the wine I chose to drink for the rest of the evening!

    We have just received the new vintage and it is superb. A bit bigger than the previous one in my opinion. Very deep opaque ruby in colour, big full ripe fruit flavours with good acidity cutting through on the long finish.

    This is very good wine and one of our biggest selling sulphite free reds. Highly recommended.

    Free sulphur: <5

    Organic: Yes

    Grapes Own Yeast: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    No wood used: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Sulphite Free

    John's Rating:

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    £14.99
  14. Domaine Mayrac Organic Enigma

    A superb single vineyard Syrah aged for 24 months in oak. Delicious! Big black cherry flavours with vanilla and a hint of white pepper. Perfectly balanced wine with good natural acidity. Superb.

    Organic: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Very Low

    John's Rating:

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    £25.00
  15. Domaine Mayrac Organic Identite

    Gold - Milesime Bio 2020

    A big, smooth tasty blend. Mayrac took individual parcels from specific vineyards and blended them to produce this wine they are very proud of. It's great value and highly recommended.

    Free sulphur: 17mg/l

    Organic: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Very Low

    John's Rating:

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    £11.99
  16. Domaine Mayrac Organic Le Precieux Pinot Noir

    A great organic Pinot Noir from this family owned winery.

    Organic: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Very Low

    John's Rating:

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    £11.99
  17. Domaine D'Anglas Esprit de la Garrigues sulphite free wine

    Esprit de la Garrigues is a big, powerful wine which benefits from decanting. Handpicked grapes from a 2 hectare vineyard from vines between 15-25 years old. Consisting of 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache, fermented in stainless steel then aged in a combination of stainless steel and oak.

    A great wine in it's own right, being sulphite free is a bonus! We have just received the 2019 into stock.

    Free sulphur: <5

    Organic: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Sulphite Free

    John's Rating:

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    £16.99
  18. Domaine D'Anglas Le Petit Roy sulphite free wine

    A very good wine and one of our most popular sulphite free reds. Not too heavy as the grapes are lightly pressed to avoid too much tannin, so this will go well with virtually any food from roast chicken to pizza to a BBQ. It's soft, smooth and mellow with gentle acidity.

    We have maintained our old prices for D'Anglas despite currency pressure and a winery price increase, so this is great value.

     

     

    Free sulphur: <5

    Organic: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    No wood used: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Sulphite Free

    John's Rating:

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    £13.00
  19. Domaine D'Anglas Chemin Des Moutons sulphite free wine

    Chemin des Moutons Organic Domaine D'Anglas is a beautiful big sulphite free syrah grenache blend. It is the flagship wine from Roger and is superb! Just received the 2018.

    Free sulphur: <5

    Organic: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Sulphite Free

    John's Rating:

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    £24.95
  20. Domaine Mayrac Organic Diletante Syrah

    Gold Medal - Milesime Bio

    Domaine Myrac Diletante Rouge is a complex Syrah with flavours of dark chocolate followed by mint. Very smooth and balanced. Fully organic and very low in sulphur, this is a genuine artisan wine from this excellent organic family owned winery. This wine is lovely.

    Organic: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Very Low

    John's Rating:

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    £16.00
  21. Costes Cirgues Le Parrain

    A brand new wine - tasting notes to follow.

    No images available as yet so we are still using the image of their Saint Cyr for now as they are similar. 

     

    Free sulphur: 0

    Organic: Yes

    Grapes Own Yeast: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Sulphite Free

    John's Rating:

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    £16.99
  22. Domaine Mayrac Esprit Nature Red sulphite free wine

    Another soft and smooth sulphite free red for every day drinking

    Free sulphur: <5

    Organic: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    No wood used: Yes

    Vegan: No

    Sulphite level: Sulphite Free

    John's Rating:

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    £12.49
  23. Domaine Viret Emergence sulphite free wine

    A big powerful blend of Grenache, Syrah and Carignan aged in barriques for 24 months.

    Free sulphur: <5mg/l

    Grapes Own Yeast: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Dry farmed: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Sulphite Free

    John's Rating:

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    £28.00
  24. Domaine Viret Les Colonnades sulphite free wine

    A big powerful blend of Grenache, Mourvedre and Carignan aged in barriques for 24 months.

    Free sulphur: <5mg/l

    Grapes Own Yeast: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Dry farmed: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Sulphite Free

    John's Rating:

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    £22.99
  25. Domaine Viret Mareotis sulphite free wine

    A big powerful blend of Grenache and Syrah aged in barriques for 24 months.

    Free sulphur: <5mg/l

    Grapes Own Yeast: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Dry farmed: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Sulphite Free

    John's Rating:

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    £22.99
  26. Chateau Costes Cirgues sulphite free wine

    Chateau Costes Cirgues is the top wine from this superb tiny family winery. All their wines are sulphite free and organically certified. It consists of 80% Syrah, 20% Grenache hand harvested into small trays from another tiny 1.6 hectare vineyard. Gravity fed, concrete fermented then aged in French oak for 15 months prior to blending.Black fruit from the Genache with some pepper from the Syrah. Big, rich and opulent. This is a superb wine.

     

     

     

    Free sulphur: 0

    Organic: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Sulphite Free

    John's Rating:

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    £24.95
  27. Costes Cirgues Bois du Roi sulphite free wine

    Deep opaque purple in colour. This is a big wine and is best decanted as it really opens up given some time to breathe. Big black fruit flavours, velvet mouth feel and soft tannins. This vintage is excellent once again.

    Free sulphur: 0

    Organic: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    No wood used: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Sulphite Free

    John's Rating:

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    £17.99
  28. Costes Cirgues Montplaisir sulphite free wine

    Montplaisir from Costes Cirgues is one of our best value sulphite free red wines. It's made in a fresh and fruity style to be enjoyed young. Merlot adds ripe red fruits and the Carignan was fermented under carbonic maceration where the grapes are not pressed but simply crushed by their own weight, which extracts only the free run juice and avoids extracting the tannins. 

    Excellent this year, in my opinion David's best vintage yet. Full flavoured with good mouthfeel, super smooth and rounded. Great balance and a long finish.

    Free sulphur: <5

    Organic: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    No wood used: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Sulphite Free

    John's Rating:

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    £14.99
  29. Domaine Viret Sylibre

    A one off Cuvee from Philippe. This is a parcel of Syrah that he aged in vat for several years before bottling. It's a big powerful wine.

    Free sulphur: <5mg/l

    Grapes Own Yeast: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Dry farmed: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Sulphite Free

    John's Rating:

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    £19.99
  30. Domaine Viret Renaissance sulphite free wine

    Perhaps Philippe's most successful wine. A beautiful, powerful blend aged only in concrete to preserve the natural fruit flavours. Nothing added and nothing taken away.

    Free sulphur: <5mg/l

    Grapes Own Yeast: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Dry farmed: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    No wood used: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Sulphite Free

    John's Rating:

    Learn More
    £16.99
  31. Domaine Viret Energie sulphite free wine

    This year Philippe has only made the one "Energie" wine. Previously there was Energie Yin and Energie Yang, but no longer. The wine is better than ever, this time being 100% Syrah fermented and aged in concrete tanks to retain all the fruit purity. Obviously the wine has Philippe's trademark natural style. Thoroughly delicious!

    Free sulphur: <5mg/l

    Grapes Own Yeast: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Dry farmed: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    No wood used: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Sulphite Free

    John's Rating:

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    £13.99
  32. Domaine Viret Solstice sulphite free wine

    A great introduction to Viret wines. Fruity, earthy, very natural in style. No added acid (or anything else) of course so it harmonises with the body and quickly becomes really "moreish"!

     

    Free sulphur: <5mg/l

    Grapes Own Yeast: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Dry farmed: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Sulphite Free

    John's Rating:

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    £13.99
  33. Domaine Viret MPN sulphite free wine

    This is Philippe's lightest wine. A soft, light blend which can be drunk chilled if required.

    Free sulphur: <5mg/l

    Grapes Own Yeast: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Dry farmed: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Sulphite Free

    John's Rating:

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    £14.99
  34. Cave de Cairanne Organic L'Insouciante AC Cotes Du Rhone

     A very pleasant warming red. At first it's a little tight with earthy aromas. Give it a bit of time to open up and it becomes very moreish in a natural style.

     

    Free sulphur: 15

    Organic: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Very Low

    John's Rating:

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    £11.99
  35. Le Quai à Raisins Garmatcha sulphite free wine

    A new wine from a new venture! Robin Althof from Costes Cirgues and his wife Imogen are making small batches of their own excellent wines from different parcels of grapes from friends' vineyards. Obviously they are organically farmed and sulphite free of course. 

    100% Grenache aged in oak for 12 months.

    Free sulphur: <5

    Organic: Yes

    Grapes Own Yeast: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    No wood used: No

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Sulphite Free

    John's Rating:

    Learn More
    £28.50
  36. Cave de Cairanne Pas de la Baume Rouge

    Gold - Orange Wine Awards

    The Pas de la Baume range from Cave de Cairanne are great wines for everyday drinking. Well made, well priced and low in sulphites too, so no hangover or muzzy head. This soft and fruity red blend won Gold at the Orange Wine Awards., and the previous vintage won Gold in Paris.

    I'm impressed by this one as it is great value for money. Big black fruit with some oak and a little pepper. More traditional Rhone style at an affordable price.

    Sulphite level: Low

    John's Rating:

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    £9.79
  37. Cave de Cairanne Chateuneuf du Pape

    Cave de Cairanne Chateauneuf du Pape . Big and powerful of course with noticeable oak, but Cairanne took great care to preserve the fruit and limit the tannins (by destemming the grapes before crushing). Super wine with a very long finish.

    Sulphite level: Low

    John's Rating:

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    £29.99
  38. Cave de Cairanne Les Voconces

    Gold - Mundus Vini, Gold at Orange

    This AC Cairanne is a blend of traditional Rhone varieties all fermented together, then aged in concrete for 18 months to preserve the fruit while maturing the wine so it's ready for immediate consumption (but will keep for years if required).

    Concentrated fruit flavours, medium bodied and very smooth. This is a great wine for anybody looking for depth of flavour without any wood ageing. 

     

    Free sulphur: 16mg/l

    Gluten free: Yes

    No wood used: Yes

    Sulphite level: Very Low

    John's Rating:

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    £13.00

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