Food & Drink

6 fantastic fireside reds to blow the blues away

These top drops will disperse the wintry chill, says Sam Wylie-Harris.

Get through January with a comforting glass (or two) of these red wine picks
Glass of red wine with cosy fireplace setting Get through January with a comforting glass (or two) of these red wine picks (LARISA DUKA / Alamy Stock Photo/Alamy Stock Photo)

It’s the dreariest, and seemingly longest month of the year when snuggle season really sets in – and taking comfort in a glass of red ramps up your mood, with winter warmers to cosy up with.

Something smooth and easy-going which feels right at home with comfort food, and has enough oomph to stand shoulder to shoulder with a beef and red wine casserole, sausage and mash pie or spicy curry.

Here’s what has the depth of fruit to make your meal shine, and take the chill out of the air…

1. Waitrose Argentinian Malbec 2022, Argentina, £6.99, Waitrose

Waitrose Argentinian Malbec 2022, Argentina, Waitrose

With hedgerows stripped bare and scented bouquet a distant memory, you can’t beat a fragrant malbec with its perfumed nose of violets and roses to stir the senses. With a core of blackberry and plummy fruit, fine-grained tannins and hint of oak, this one’s your big-value, mid-week malbec to enrich your golden-crusted cottage pie.

2. Cramele Recas Paparuda Cabernet Sauvignon 2022, Romania, £7.99, Adnams

Cramele Recas Paparuda Cabernet Sauvignon 2022, Romania, Adnams

A crowd-pleasing cab sav that’s light on its feet, and bursting with well-defined blackberry flavours to tease the taste buds. Enticing hints of raspberry come into play with hints of wild berries closing the finish. One for pan-fried gammon steak and chips.

3. Château de Caraguilhes Corbières 2021, South of France, £11.99, Waitrose

Chateau de Caraguilhes Corbieres 2021, South of France, Waitrose

A rustic red to have on your radar, the wines of Corbières have pretty aromas of Mediterranean herbs and wild flowers, thanks to the region’s classic grape varieties which make up the blend – syrah, mouvèdre, grenache and carignan. Concentrated flavours of spiced berry fruits, cassis and peppered note meld seamlessly together and keep you coming back for more. One for homemade French cassoulet (sausage and beans).

4. Journey’s End ‘The Steam Train’ Merlot 2022, Western Cape, South Africa, £12.99 (£9.99 Mix Six), Majestic

Journey’s End ‘The Steam Train’ Merlot 2022, Western Cape, South Africa, Majestic

A smooth merlot with a lifted nose and plush, plummy fruits galore in a dense, deliciously drinkable style, with juicy black cherries shaping the long, lingering finish. Versatile and ebullient, this South African gem works like a dream with beef lasagne or practically anything you fancy.

5. Errazuriz Max Carménère 2020, Chile, £13, Tesco

Errazuriz Max Carmenere 2020, Chile, Majestic

Chile’s signature grape really comes into its own this time of year with its soft, spicy notes, green bell pepper, dark chocolate and herbaceous notes complemented by vanilla oak. Beautifully smooth, soft and round, hints of paprika add complexity to the red and black fruits with refined tannins on the finish. A wine you want to drink all winter long, especially when treating yourself to a Thai green curry.

6. Twelve Giants Merlot Paper Bottle 2022, Vino de la Tierra de Castilla, Spain, £13.99, Laithwaites

Errazuriz Max Carmenere 2020, Chile, Laithwaites

The jazzy sleeve on this sustainable paper bottle reflects the uplifting layers of juicy, ripe fruits waiting to unfold. A sun-kissed red to inspire an early spring getaway, this Spanish beauty is bursting with lush red berries, jammy plums and soft spice. A joyous glass, the winemaker suggests pairing it with Manchego cheese; otherwise try a rich, meaty paella. Deliciosa!