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My Top Ten Red Wines under €20 for 2016

This post came about as a result of a challenge set by a Twitter follower; to name my top five red wines for under €20. I have expanded it out here to ten wines. All have appeared in the Irish Times or on my blog before, and many in Wilson on Wine 2017, but I thought it might be good to see them all together. Doubtless they will change soon. In the meantime I have bought myself six bottles each of the Dâo, Geil Pinot, and Roka for drinking over the next few months.

 

 

DSCF7103Albizu Tempranilllo 2015, VdT de Castilla, Spain

 

I have a weakness for unoaked (or very lightly oaked) Rioja. I love the lively aroma, the pure cherry fruits and the refreshing acidity. Here they come together in an easy-drinking but sophisticated wine, great for sipping alone or for drinking with a variety or red and white meats. This example, made by a Rioja producer, from grapes grown within the region, doesn’t actually have the name Rioja on the label, but it certainly tastes like it. Worth buying in quantity for the season ahead.

 

€11.95-€12.95 from Mitchell & Son; Avoca Rathcoole; Le Caveau, Kilkenny; Baggot St wines; Blackrock Cellar; Corkscrew; Fallon & Byrne; Listons; MacGuinness; Green Man; 64 Wines; World Wide Wines.

 

 

Sa de Baixo 2014Sa de Baixo 2014, Douro, Portugal       

 

This has been one of my go-to wines for a few years now, and I know I am not alone; many of our independent wine shops do a brisk trade with it. The label has changed recently, but the wine is just as good . Succulent ripe red fruits with a smooth tannin-free finish. Light harmonious and very quaffable. A good all-rounder to drink by itself or with white meats – creamy chicken with pasta sounds good.

 

€13.50 from Mortons, Ranelagh; McHughs; Blackrock Cellar; Gibneys, Malahide; Avoca Rathcoole; Wicklow Wine Co.; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock; Baggot St Wines; DrinkStore, D7; Martins, Fairview; Browns Vineyard, Portlaoise; Red Island, Skerries; Probus, Fenian St; Sweeneys, Glasnevin; 64 Wine, Glasthule.

 

 

DSCF6516Borsao Garnacha Seleccíon, Campo de Borja, 2015, Spain

 

The label is fairly dazzling, and so is the wine. The Campo de Borja region produces large quantities of big ripe warming red wines, usually made from Garnacha. This is a warm hug of a wine. 14.5% alcohol, it is big, rounded and ripe with soft spicy strawberry fruits and a very decent supple finish. Fantastic value for money. Perfect for barbecues and other red meats.

 

 

€13.95 from Bradleys, Cork; 64 Wine, Glasthule; Next Door, Arklow; Searsons.com & Searsons Monkstown; Drinkstore, D7.

 

 

DSCF7060Acón Joven 2014, Ribera del Duero, Spain

 

A world away from the big tannic oaky monsters that once made up most of Ribera del Duero. This unoaked ‘young’ wine has forward floral aromas and delicious pure damson fruits. It packs a fair punch too, coming in at 14.5%, but you would hardly know it. Great value for money and perfect with roast lamb and beef.

 

€14.50 Red Island Wines; 64 Wine; Wicklow Wine Co; Clontarf Wines; Listons, Camden St.

 

 

 

Domaine des NuguesDomaine des Nugues, Beaujolais Villages 2014, France    

 

Beaujolais is finally coming back into fashion as we seek wines that are lighter in style. I spent a few lovely days in the region earlier this year, tasting the various crus. I also visited this estate. This wine is one of the best, and certainly superior to many of the cheap Fleurie you will come across in the shops. Wonderful aromas and pure sweet red cherry and blackcurrant fruits with a touch of liquorice. Patés, cheese and all things porcine, including belly of pork, ham and boiled bacon, as well as roast chicken.

 

€16.75 from Martin’s, Fairview; 64 Wine, Glasthule.

 

 

 

Roka BlaufränkischRoka Blaufränkisch 2015, Stajerska, Slovenia

 

Made by Irish couple Sinéad & Liam Cabot from their own grapes, both this and their equally delicious white Šipon are really good wines, and quite amazing for a first real effort after a few limited releases. The Blaufränkisch is a true vin de soif, with fresh supple cherry and damson fruits, but that really does it a disservice; this is a wine with plenty of depth and concentration. Well worth seeking out.

 

€16.99 from Cabot & Co;, Westport; No.1 Pery Square, Limerick; Grapevine, Dalkey; The Poppyseed, Clarinbridge; McCambridges, Galway.

 

 

 

DSCF6122Dâo Rótulo 2015, Niepoort, Portugal

 

If your tastes run to rich full-bodied reds, stay away from this wine. It is a delicious refreshing light red with a savoury edge to the clean damson fruits. Moreish, and with a mere 12.5% alcohol, you don’t have to deny yourself.

 

€16.99 from Redmonds, Mortons, Martins,Jus de vine, Green Man, Donnybrook Fair, Clontarf Wines, Blackrock Cellar and Baggot Street Wines

 

 

 

DSCF7121Geil Pinot Noir 2015, Rheinhessen

 

Charming free-flowing light supple sweet cherry fruits with a nice kick of acidity. Try it with salmon, tuna or pork. I have tried this several times in wine bars recently, including La Touche and Grapevine in Dalkey. It seems to suit all tastes, and is light enough be drunk without food.

 

€16.95-17.95 from La Touche; Grapevine; Mortons; Sweeneys; Redmonds; Wicklow Wine Co; Mitchell & Son; Listons; Jus de Vine; Drinkstore; Corkscrew; Blackrock Cellar; 64Wine.

 

 

 

DSCF5905Ch. Pey-Bonhomme Les-Tours 2012, Blaye – Côtes de Bordeaux, France

This was a really enjoyable wine, classic Bordeaux, with clean blackcurrant fruits, a seam of acidity running through, and a light dry tannic bite on the finish. I had mine with a roast shoulder of pork (Tamworth, from ethicalpork.com, excellent) and it was very good. I suspect it would be even better with lamb. Affordable well-made Bordeaux.

€19 from Green Man Wines, Terenure; 64Wine, Glasthule; Fallon & Byrne, Exchequer Street; Clontarf Wines; Mortons, Ranelagh.

 

 

 

 

 

Quite 2014 BierzoQuite 2014 Bierzo, Veronica Ortega

 

Medium-bodied and perfumed with fresh clean dark fruits; delicious, but if I was feeling flush I would go for Ortega’s Roc (at €30). I have been on a big Mencía kick for the last few years. I still love the Castro Valtuillé Joven, and the Brezo de Grégory Pérez, both widely available from independents, but I have really enjoyed this several times at home over the last eight months.

 

€19.50 from 64wine, Glasthule; World Wide Wines, Waterford; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock; Blackrock Cellars; Clontarf Wines; Drinkstore, D7;

 

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Sa de Baixo 2014, Douro, Portugal

Sa de Baixo 2014, Douro, Portugal

Sa-de-Baixo-Colheita-510x1060Sa de Baixo 2014, Douro, Portugal
€13.50

Succulent ripe red fruits with a smooth tannin-free finish. Light harmonious and very quaffable.

A good all-rounder to drink by itself or with white meats – creamy chicken with pasta sounds good.

Available from Redmond’s Ranelagh, On the Grapevine Dalkey, Red Island Wine Co Skerries, 64 Wine Glasthule, Blackrock Cellar, Wicklow Wine Co., Morton’s Ranelagh, McHugh’s kilbarrack & Malahide Road, Power Wine Merchants Lucan.

The Douro Valley is better known for Port. This stunningly beautiful region is responsible for one of the world’s great fortified wines, but also offers some amazing red (and even white) wines. It all depends on where the vineyards are located and which direction they are facing. The cooler vineyards make some very tasty wines. Sadly the best are expensive – everything has to be done by hand here, but every now and again you come across a real bargain. This has been one of my go to value reds for a few years now.

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Andreza Reserva 2013, Douro, Portugal 13.5%

Andreza Reserva 2013, Douro, Portugal 13.5%

Image 21Andreza Reserva 2013, Douro, Portugal 13.5%
€13.99 from Wines on the Green, Red Island Skerries, Blackrock Cellars, McCabes, Martins Fairview.

Made from local grape varieties (Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesa and Tinta Roriz) this is a very well-priced wine that will go down perfectly with red or white meat dishes. Spicy dark fruits with good acidity, some vanilla oak and a good dry lightly tannic finish.

If you ever take the Ryanair flight to Porto for a long weekend, be sure to take a trip up the Douro valley. Car is probably the easiest means of transport but if you have time, train or boat will add atmosphere. The Douro is an incredibly steep valley with breathtaking landscapes and ancient vineyard terraces dug into the slopes. These vineyards are mainly used to make Port, the drink unfairly blamed for causing our worst hangovers. These days producers are increasingly making very good table wine, such as the Andreza Reserva above.

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