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Best red wine 2019

By Christina Woodger

Put us to the test

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Our expert taste test reveals the best affordable red wine to curl up with in winter or enjoy alongside your summer barbecue

Our expert panel tasted a selection of affordable red wines from big supermarkets, including Aldi, Lidl, Tesco and Waitrose, for the June 2019 and December 2018 edition of Which? magazine.

The reds on test were quite varied, from the gentle and sweet to the rich, ripe and oaky. There were bottles which split our panel, with some liking the vanilla, cherry and almond flavours of some of the wines, and others preferring those that were deep, juicy and smoky.

Winter reds had to be perfect for sipping by a warm fire or accompanying a Christmas dinner, whereas summer reds needed to hold their own against big barbecue flavours whilst also being easy to drink in the hot sun.

Whatever your tastes and budget, we’ve found a red wine for you.

Discover

Best summer reds 

Only logged in Which? members can view the rest of our results and tasting notes in the two tables below, plus wine and food pairings and expert tips on everything from using corked wine to how to serve more tannic reds. 

If you're not yet a member, you'll see an alphabetically ordered list of the red wine on test. To get instant access join Which?.

 
Aldi - Number 9 Blend Australian GSM 2017
 Aldi-Number9BlendGSM table Price Tasting notes Overall score
£6.99 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

GSM takes its name from a blend of three grapes: Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvèdre. This is a sweeter red, with hints of crème brulée and chocolate in the flavour.

Australian reds are a classic choice for barbecue season, but how does this wine shape up? Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Asda - Extra Special Selection Valle De Colchagua Carménère 2016
 Asda-CarmenereValleDeColchagua table Price Tasting notes Overall score
£6.50 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

This wine from Chile has flavour hints of ripe black fruits and oak spice, with recommending pairings of slow roasted or barbecued red meats.

Our experts thought this wine stood out from the crowd, but will it be to your personal taste? Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Co-Operative - Irresistible Bio Bio Malbec 2017
 Co-op-ValleDelBioBioMalbec table Price Tasting notes Overall score
£7.95 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Argentina may be the country that springs to mind when you think of Malbec, but this Chilean red could be a real contender.

See if our panel loved its slightly unconventional flavours. Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Lidl - Chilean Malbec Reserva Privada 2018
 Lidl-MalbecReservaPrivada table Price Tasting notes Overall score
£5.99 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

If you’ve blown your budget on your canapes or steak centrepiece then you might be tempted by this Chilean red, the cheapest wine we tested.

Is it a bargain Best Buy bottle or is price an indication of quality? Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

M&S - Cotes du Rhone 2016
 M&SCotesDuRhone table Price Tasting notes Overall score
£6 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

A French Cotes de Rhone made from classic Grenache and Syrah grapes. A fruity flavour comes through along with ‘autumnal aromas’.

See if the flavours work just as well for drinking through a long, hot summer. Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Morrisons - The Best Negroamaro 2017
 Morrisosn-NegroAmaro table Price Tasting notes Overall score
£7.25 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

The Italian Negroamaro grape takes its name from its dark colour, and you get expect a succulent berry fruit flavour from the wine it produces.

Did our panel love this wine’s sweetness or would a different bottle be better for a barbecue? Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Sainsbury's - Taste the Difference Morador Malbec 2017
 Sainsburys-MoradorMalbec table Price Tasting notes Overall score
£7.50 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Sainsbury’s claims that its ‘intense and fruity’ Argentinian Malbec is the perfect match for beef, so it could be the perfect wine to serve with chargrilled steak at a summer barbecue.

Find out if it’s versatile enough for all your summer drinking. Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Tesco - Finest Fairtrade South African Pinotage 2018
 Tesco-Pinotage table Price Tasting notes Overall score
£7.50 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Tesco claims that its South African Pinotage is a complex red that offers several layers of taste, from dark red fruits and coffee to sweet spice and mocha.

Are all the flavours well balanced in this wine? Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Waitrose - Terre di Faiano Organic Primitivo 2017
 Waitrose Terre di Faiano Organic Primitivo 2017 table Price Tasting notes Overall score
£7.49 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

The oak aging adds a roasted and spicy aroma to this Italian red, and it’s described as the ideal pairing for rich meat dishes.

Does it deserve a place at your garden table though? Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Notes: Prices correct in May 2019.

Best winter reds 

 
Aldi - Number 9 Blend GSM
 ALDI GSMNumber9Blend LO-table   Price Tasting notes Overall score
£7 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

This southern Australian wine gets its name from the three grapes it's made from; grenache, shiraz and moutvedre - and the fact that the producer took nine attempts to make it. Available in Aldi, it's described as 'very fruity'.

Want to know what our expert tasting panel thought? Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Asda - Casa Luis d Gran Reserva
 ASDA CasaLuisReservaCarinena LO-table   Price Tasting notes Overall score
£4.50 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

This Spanish red wine might be on your radar if you're shopping on a tight budget. Asda says it tastes of 'black cherries' and is best served with pork dishes or stir-fried vegetables.

But how did the cheapest red wine fare in our expert taste test?  Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Co-Operative - Irresistible Pinot Noir
  CO OP 30DegreesPinotNoir LO-table Price Tasting notes Overall score
£8 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

If you fancy something a little more refreshing, this could be the wine for you. Co-op recommends serving its 'lighter bodied' pinot noir 'slightly chilled'.

Find out whether this red wine is worth a try. Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Iceland - Colossal Reserva 2016
  ICELAND ColossalResevervaCasaSantosLima LO-table Price Tasting notes Overall score
£8 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Iceland describes Colossal as a 'full bodied' wine with 'notes of plum' and 'spicy flavours' that come from its ageing in French and American oak barrels.

Did this Portuguese vino impress our expert tasting panel? Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Lidl - Shiraz Barossa Valley 2017
 LIDL BarossaValleyShiraz LO-table   Price Tasting notes Overall score
£6 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Lidl says that this Australian shiraz is 'bursting with bold Aussie flavours'. It's also pipped to be the perfect pairing for a BBQ - or ideal with grilled meat if the weather isn't great.

Hear from our expert tasting panel before you reach for your wallet. Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

M&S - Burra Brook Merlot 2017
  M&S BurraBrookMerlot LO-table Price Tasting notes Overall score
£7 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

A south-eastern Australian merlot coined by M&S as a vino made for 'easy drinking' because of its 'versatile style'. It's advised that you drink it young so you don't miss out on its charming fresh fruit appeal.

Find out how this M&S red wine ranks in our list. Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Morrisons - Malbec
 MorrisonsMalbec LO-table   Price Tasting notes Overall score
£5 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

This super-affordable malbec is one of the cheapest wines we tested. But does this mean it lacks flavour? Morrisons doesn't think so. But what did our expert tasting panel think?

Which? members have full access to our taste test scores. Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Sainsbury's - Taste the Difference Chianti Classico
 SainsburysChiantiClassico LO-table   Price Tasting notes Overall score
£9 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Made with grapes from a region in Italy that has produced wine for over 100 years, Sainsbury's Chianti Classico is described as having 'bold black cherry flavours' and a 'herby, spicy finish'.

Was this red wine one of our top scorers? Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Spar - Regional Selection Languedoc Red 2017
 SPAR LanguedocGrenacheSyrahCarignan LO-table   Price Tasting notes Overall score
£7 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

This mid-priced French wine from Spar is best served with meat and cheese. But will it be tasty enough to bag a space at your dinner party?

Hear from our expert tasting panel before making any decisions. Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Tesco - Finest Argentinian Malbec 2017
  TescoArgentiniaMalbec LO-table Price Tasting notes Overall score
£7.50 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

This Argentinian malbec is made from grapes grown in the foothills of regions east of the Andes. Tesco claims the wine has an 'elegant blackberry' flavour with 'lighter notes of blueberry and white pepper'. Did our experts agree?

Which? members can see how this red wine scored in front of our panel. Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Waitrose - Triade Negroamaro/Primitivo/Nero di Troia 2015 Puglia
 WAITROSE TriadeNegromaroPrimitivo LO-table   Price Tasting notes Overall score
£9 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

If you like a strong flavoured wine then this Waitrose offering might be for you. The food brands website describes it as a 'spicy Italian red with aromas of liquorice & coffee'.

It's also one of the two most expensive wines we tasted. Log in now or join Which? to unlock our full table of test results.

Notes: Prices correct in October 2018.

How to choose a red wine 

There’s no substitute for trying wines out and keeping a record of those you liked and didn’t. In the meantime, you can use our guide to the most common varieties to get you started:

  • Malbec goes well with meat, especially beef. Its taste varies greatly depending where it’s grown, but plums, berries and spices are common flavours. It’s sometimes blended with other varieties, but often a soloist in Argentina. 
  • Merlot is very versatile and soft, making it easy-drinking for those new to wine. 
  • Pinot noir varies enormously depending where the grapes are grown. Goes well with lamb, duck, guinea fowl, hamburgers, haggis and many cheeses. 
  • Cabernet sauvignon Blackcurranty, often grassy, usually full bodied and often tannic (which can have a drying effect in your mouth). Good with lamb and goose.  

How we tested 

We asked each supermarket to suggest a good-value red wine ideal for drinking in the winter and summer months. They had to be own label or exclusive, within the £4.99 to £9 price range for winter reds and £5.99 to £10 for summer reds, vintage or non-vintage.

Each wine was disguised before being tasted blind and then rated by our panel of experts. Each expert tasted the drinks in a different order, before discussing their ratings and agreeing on two Best Buy red wines. 

Our experts were: 

  • Charles Metcalfe wine taster and co-chair of the International Wine Challenge (IWC)
  • Kathryn McWhirter wine taster, author and translator
  • Peter McCombie Master of Wine, speaker, consultant, co-chairman of the IWC
  • Richard Bampfield Master of Wine, European Champagne Ambassador 2009
  • Sam Caporn Master of wine, wine consultant, speaker, writer and IWC judge
  • Helen McGinn International wine judge and award-winning author
  • Peter Richards Master of Wine, writer, presenter and broadcaster
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