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. Joubert Tradauw R62 Alternative Blend

    A new wine from Meyer. Although he started producing this a couple of years ago as an entry level introduction to his superb wines, this is the first time we've been able to get any as it is extremely popular.

    It's a natural wine fermented with it's own yeasts, unfined and unfiltered leaving the natural antioxidants in there. Sealed with a wax top. The free SO2 has remained free so while it's a healthy wine we don't recommend it for anybody with a sulphite allergy. Opt for the Grangehurst Daylea instead  

    Deep ruby. Mouth filling and round with initial red fruits turning to black fruits on the dry finish. Enjoy it with a roast or BBQ. 

    Free sulphur: 0

    Grapes Own Yeast: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Medium Low

    John's Rating:

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    £11.99
  2. Asterisco Pago de Cubas D.O. Toro

    Excellent artisan wine. Handpicked grapes of course, the wine is aged in French oak for 6-8 months.

    Bottled unfiltered to retain all the natural goodness, so there will be some sediment.

    This is excellent value.

     

    Sulphite level: Very Low

    John's Rating:

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    £11.99
  3. Passo del Sud Appassimento

    Luca Maroni  95 Points

    Passo del Sud is a new wine for us made in the Appassimento method of pre drying the grapes in the sun to concentrate flavour, alcohol and power.

    This wine is the collaboration of two friends (Benedetto & mario) using local indigenous grapes with a little Merlot.

    It is very good indeed. Made on a slightly larger scale than our boutique wines but still much smaller than mass produced wines. We have given it a medium rating for sulphites just to be over cautious, so please avoid it if you have a sulphite intolerance. For everybody else though this is an excellent choice if you want a powerful wine at the right money.

    Big, powerful yet velvet smooth. Excellent wine!

    Sulphite level: Medium

    John's Rating:

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    £11.99
  4. Tinta Rosa D.O. Toro

    Rosa Maria Zarza is one of Toro's most respected winemakers. You may recall we previously listed wines from two wineries where she was the winemaker (Pago de Cubas and Bodega Contadero).

    Well here Rosa is making two wines from selected plots in her 50 year old family vineyard. 100% Tempranillo (Tinta de Toro). For this wine the assorted lots were aged in oak for three months.

    Great wine, tasting notes to follow.

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    No wood used: No

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Very Low

    John's Rating:

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    £10.99
  5. Primitivo di Salento IGT Il Medaglione Leone de Castris

    Primitivo di Salento IGT Il Medaglione Leone de Castris is a great quality Primitivo and a great value price. Soft and fruity with just a minimal amount of oak.

    We have a couple of the old presentation left then we are onto new stock with the new label.

    Sulphite level: Medium Low

    John's Rating:

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    £10.00
  6. Tombacco Aglianico del Beneventano IGT

    A big, powerful wine well suited to food. 

    We are on the new presentation, not the blue label any more, but the wine is the same.

    Sulphite level: Medium

    John's Rating:

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    £10.50
  7. Moncaro Montepulciano D'Abruzzo DOC

    Moncaro Montepulciano D'Abruzzo DOC is a good value, very tasty Montepulciano from Moncaro, one of Italy's best cooperative producers. Being based in Le Marche Montepulciano is their forte.

    Sulphite level: Medium Low

    John's Rating:

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    £7.99
  8. Moncaro Marche Sangiovese IGT

    Moncaro Marche Sangiovese IGT is an easy drinking Sangiovese, great value at this price.

    Sulphite level: Medium Low

    John's Rating:

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    £7.99
  9. Undurraga Sibaris Gran Reserva Pinot Noir

    Deep ruby in colour with good legs and a dusty nose. Big raspberry and cherry fruit which isn't overpowered by the oak. In fact it has fairly light body for a Gran Reserva. It's very smooth with good acidity, all components of the wine in perfect balance which is not necessarily common with Chilean Gran Reserva wines. Very good wine for the price, and my favourite of their Sibaris range

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Sulphite level: Medium Low

    John's Rating:

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    £11.75
  10. Undurraga Aliwen Reserve Pinot Noir

    Pale ruby with a cherry nose. Very soft and fruity in the mouth with light oak. It's light and silky and very enjoyable. Certainly one of the best quality to price Chilean Pinots I've discovered.

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Sulphite level: Medium Low

    John's Rating:

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    £10.00
  11. 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
  12. La Selva Organic Sangiovese

    A straight forward but delicious, soft and smooth Sangiovese. Exceptionally low in sulphites and very healthy for you!

    Free sulphur: 4mg/l

    Organic: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    No wood used: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Very Low

    John's Rating:

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    £10.99
  13. La Selva Privo sulphite free wine

    La Selva Organic Privo NAS Sangiovese - a sulphite free Sangiovese which has cherry flavours and a lovely natural balance.

    This is one of our best selling sulphite free wines.

     

    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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    £11.99
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. Tampesta Roble D.O Tierra de Leon

    One of our best selling Spanish reds. Soft, smooth, natural and very easy drinking.

     

    Free sulphur: <20mg/l

    Grapes Own Yeast: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Dry farmed: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Very Low

    John's Rating:

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    £11.99
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. Rainbows End Mystical Corner

    Rainbows End Mystical Corner is a blend this vintage consisting of Shiraz 6%, Malbec 20%, Cabernet Sauvignon 66% and Petit Verdot 8%. It's a great wine as are all Rainbows End wines. Anton is an exceptional winemaker and Rainbows End iis a tiny family winery so they are able to make wines the way they choose rather than to fit a specific commercial market. Hence an unusual blend like this, at a great price which is so high quality it the previous vintage was awarded Michaelangelo Awards highest rank of Double Gold! We await awards info for this vintage just released.

    Fantastic once again, in my opinion the best vintage to date. Big, full and round without being too heavy. Black fruit with integrated oak, nice and smooth with red fruits coming through on the finish.

    This is an excellent low sulphite red at an affordable price.

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Sulphite level: Low

    John's Rating:

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    £11.99
  20. 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
  21. Grangehurst Daylea Red Blend

    We have just received the 2011 vintage. More details to follow but to give you an idea below is the info for the 2010. This is a seriously good wine (despite the presentation!).

    Cabernet Sauvignon (52%) Shiraz (28%), Merlot (10%) plus 10% other varietals. 22 months in oak. 

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Sulphite level: Very Low

    John's Rating:

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    £11.99
  22. Mauricio Lorca Fantasia Cabernet Franc

    This Cabernet Franc from Mauricio Lorca is great value for money, like all Mauricio Lorca's Fantasia range. The vineyards are in Vista Flores in the Uco Valley, regarded as the best area in all Argentina for growing high quality grapes. Mauricio is one of Mendoza's best winemakers and consistently produces delicious wines at affordable prices.

    This is 100% Cabernet Franc. 30% was aged in oak while the remaining portion was left unoaked to retain the purity of fruit.

    I love Cabernet Franc and this is a great example for anybody who maybe has never had a single varietal Cab Franc before and wants to try one. Red cherry and raspberry fruit with just a hint of oak. Quite full and round in the mouth but light and fresh with good acidity. Lovely on it's own or due to it's good acidity will pair with roast meats or BBQ.

    Sulphite level: Medium Low

    John's Rating:

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    £11.99
  23. Tapiz Malbec

    Tapiz Malbec is a delicious Argentine red wine with that typical powerful Malbec fruit. Big and puchy on entry, quite smooth with the acidity and oak in balance. Ideal for everyday drinking at this price. Malbec is very much in fashion and there are many cheap ones floating about in the supermarkets but this one from Tapiz is in a completely different league.

    Bodega Tapiz are one of the most exciting winemakers in Argentina producing some excellent wines.

    This Tapiz Malbec is one of our best sellers with a loyal following as it is consistently good every vintage.

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Sulphite level: Low

    John's Rating:

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    £10.49
  24. Valpolicella Superiore Zenato

    Valpolicella Superiore Zenato. The image of Valpolicella suffered in the UK in the 1990s when cheap inferior Valpolicella and Chianti were everywhere. But a good Valpolicella is one of northern Italy's most popular and most respected red wines. Zenato are one of the Veneto region's best producers and members of the elite Amarone Consortium. All their wines are high quality. You will note this Valpolicella is  a "Superiore" meaning it has to be aged for at least one year before release and must be at least 12% abv - a guarantee of quality.

    This wine is delicious, and a long time favourite with many of our customers. It's very smooth with great fruit and a long finish.

    Sulphite level: Medium Low

    John's Rating:

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    £11.99
  25. Herederos Valcavada Rioja

    A fantastic new wine from this superb boutique winery in Rioja.

    The wine itself is beautiful. Plenty of body, super smooth and integrated as all Herederos's wines are. Like their other wines it is low in sulphites and additives as they farm biodynamically and use absolute minimal additives or manipulation.

    Great value. We predict this will be a big seller.

    Free sulphur: 16

    Grapes Own Yeast: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Dry farmed: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Very Low

    John's Rating:

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    £10.99
  26. La Selva Organic Avorio

    An easy drinking good healthy red, soft and fruity, very low in sulphites, fermented and aged for six months in steel tanks.

    Organic: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    No wood used: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Very Low

    John's Rating:

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    £10.99
  27. 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
  28. 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
  29. Mauricio Lorca Fantasia Malbec

    90 / 100, Descorchados 2020

    A great introduction to good Argentine Malbec, from Mauricio Lorca, one of Argentina's most prominent winemakers. As well as his own wines, Mauricio is also a consultant winemaker for several other wineries in Mendoza including Enrigue Foster and Eral Bravo.

    This Mauricio Lorca Fantasia Malbec is lightly oaked with great purity of fruit. As an introduction to quality Malbec at an affordable price it is a winner. Highly recommended.

     

    Sulphite level: Medium Low

    John's Rating:

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    £11.99

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