Piccini labelTop Ten Reds of 2013 this week including three at under £8 plus plenty of slurpable chocolate and liquorice flavours. Here they are in order of fabness.

1

Piccini Memoro Italian Rosso

£9.99 Tesco

A reliable brand with this, their signature brand,  and well worth the money – although it does come up on offer at Tesco quite often. Expect flavours of fresh cherry, melting chocolate plus figs and prunes.

2

Vina PomalLes Grandes Costes Pic Saint Loup 2009, Languedoc (unavailable but see alternative suggestion)

£12.99 Co-op

Richly flavoured components of cherry, cocoa and blackcurrant combine to give a subtle result. Which is interesting in itself and then on reading the grape varieties that go into making this blend (Syrah and Grenache) you wonder how they stopped this wine blowing your tastebuds off.

Which is all slightly academic as this wine isn’t on sale any longer at the Co-op, but a sister wine made from the same winemakers is:

Les Grandes Costes Musardises 2009

£12 Bordeaux & Beyond

A similar blend but Cinsault has been added to the Grenache and Syrah.

3

Tesco Finest Spanish Somontano 2011

£7.99 (equivalent) Tesco Wine by the Case (£47.94 for 6)

Not currently available as single bottles in store but you can still get it in batches of 6 from Tesco Wine by the Case. Juicy elderberry flavours mixed with blackberry and plum plus a bit of tar and liquorice. Complex.

4

Monteflores Argentinean Malbec 2012

£9.99 M&S

Deep flavours of smoky liquorice, creamy cherry and damson.

5

Réserve Combes Saint-Chinian 2011, Languedoc

£7.49 Waitrose

Smooth with concentrated fruity flavours of blackberry and cherry. Juicy and very good.

Septima Malbec6

Yali Wetland Chilean Cabernet Carmenere 2011

£7.49 Majestic

Blackcurrant, black coffee and Marmite. Very good.

7

Casillero de Diablo Chilean Carmenere 2011 Reserva

£7.99 Co-op

Cross between a Black Forest Gateaux and a coffee and walnut cake.

8

Viña Real Rioja Reserva 2006

£16.95 Berry Bros & Rudd

Creamy, smoky cherry and raisin flavours with a hint of dark coffee. And it gets even better the longer you leave the bottle open. But that won’t happen.

9

Villa Maria New Zealand Reserve Pinot Noir 2010

£17.49 Tesco

Quite a deep and complex Pinot noir with predominately cherry flavours with a background of cocoa and liquorice.

10

Avignonesi Italian Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2010

£22 BuonVino (Settle, North Yorkshire) & other independents

Cherry, blackcurrant and sloe with an edge of oregano.

Cheers!

This article has also appeared as Paula's Wines of the Week on MatureTimes.co.uk

trophyTop Ten White Wines of 2013 this week. There will also be a Paula’s Top Ten Red Wine choices of 2013 and the Top Sparkling Wines of 2013 as well as the Top Ten Must Haves for Christmas Day. But no Top Ten Rosés or After Dinner wines.

Morrisons CellarThis year’s annual listing of Top Ten Wines has been struck by both inflation and spending habits – no longer can the under-a-fiver category produce ten wines worth the time and expense of joining the Christmas rush, instead we must look to the £5.99 and under category to find 2013’s Top Ten Wines Under Six Quid.

Christmas cakeWhisk(e)y, both Irish and Scottish, and sherry are sampled this week as I get started baking the Christmas fruity puds and cakes. Recipes for booze-soaked Christmas fruit cake always say you should let the cake 'mature' for at least a week before you ice it. But the cake will still taste wonderful if you start munching when it’s only been out of the oven for an hour and just (about) cooled down.