Our panel of independent wine experts have discovered a great-value winter red that can be picked up from your local supermarket and would pair perfectly with your Christmas dinner.
For this year’s annual red wine taste test, we picked 10 own-label bottles of red costing £12 or less from some of the biggest supermarkets, including Aldi, Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and more.
Just one was judged good enough to be named a Best Buy after triumphing with its fruity flavour. But our panel also found a budget bottle that offered great-tasting wine for a fraction of the price.
Keep scrolling for more on our top-scoring red wines and tips on buying wine as a gift this Christmas. Or head straight to our round-up of the best red wines to find out which supermarket topped our test.
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What made the best red wines stand out?
Our one and only Best Buy red wine stood out for its fresh and bright flavour, with hints of raspberry. Our experts also told us it would be a fabulous match for roast turkey, which is great news if you’re looking for a red wine to serve on Christmas day.
Three other own-label wines weren’t too far behind. The runners-up varied in flavour and sweetness but the panel thought all three were well-balanced. And one wine in particular was picked out as being the perfect pairing for roast ham – another traditional festive meat.
But not all supermarket wines impressed on the day. Our lowest scoring wine disappointed with its lack of fruit and some of the panel said they found it quite acidic.
See the full results in our best red wine guide.
Best red wine to give as a gift
Trying to find the perfect wine to give a loved one for Christmas can be a little overwhelming, so we’ve pulled together our four top tips for choosing a winning gift.
- Pick a wine that goes with lots of different foods. Light reds with less tannin like pinot noir, burgundy or beaujolais can go with red meat, fish, and nibbles.
- Buy a red wine that will last a while. Just in case the recipient doesn’t get around to drinking it this Christmas, a cabernet sauvignon, shiraz or tempranillo will hold nicely.
- Try a fizzy red wine. They can be rare, but they do make an unusual gift. We haven’t tested it yet but a red Lambrusco is readily available and only costs around £10.
- Keep it festive by giving mulled wine. You can buy it pre-made. Or go for a full-bodied dark red wine like grenache, pinotage or cabernet sauvignon and make it from scratch. Inexpensive red wines will work just as well as pricier bottles. Follow our step-by-step guide to making slow cooker mulled wine.
Our panel of wine experts
- Kathryn McWhirter Wine expert and co-author (with Charles Metcalfe) of The Wine and Food Lover’s Guide to Portugal
- Charles Metcalfe Speaker, author and co-founder of the International Wine Challenge
- Sumita Sarma Wine writer and founder of wine consultancy Sumilier
- Peter McCombie Master of Wine, restaurant wine consultant, speaker, writer and critic
Each bottle was concealed in a bag so that it could be tasted and rated fairly by our panel of experts. Each expert tasted the drinks in a different order, before discussing their ratings and agreeing on the Best Buy red wines.