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Best red wine 2018

By Christina Woodger

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Our expert taste test reveals the best affordable red wine to curl up with in winter, plus the best wine to pair with your Christmas turkey

Our expert panel tasted 11 red wines from big supermarkets, including Aldi, Lidl, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose, all costing between £4.50 and £9.

The list of red wines taste-tested was 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. Whatever your tastes and budget, we’ve found a red wine for you.

Only logged in Which? members can view the results and tasting notes, plus the best red wine to pair with your Christmas turkey. If you’re not yet a member, you’ll see an alphabetically ordered list of all the red wines we tested.

Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive results in the table below. If you're not already a member, you can get instant access by join Which? now.

Winter red wines
Retailer Name Price Tasting notes Score
Aldi Aldi Number 9 Blend GSM £7 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content
Asda Asda Casa Luis d Gran Reserva £4.50 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content
Co-op Co-op Irresistible Pinot Noir £8 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content
Iceland Iceland Colossal Reserva 2016 £8 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content
Lidl Lidl Shiraz Barossa Valley, 2017 £6 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content
M&S M&S Burra Brook Merlot 2017 £7 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content
Morrisons Morrisons Malbec £5 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content
Sainsbury's Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Chianti Classico £9 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content
Spar Spar Regional Selection Languedoc Red 2017 £7 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content
Tesco Tesco Finest Argentinian Malbec 2017 £7.50 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content
Waitrose Waitrose Triade Negroamaro/ Primitivo/ Nero di Troia 2015 Puglia £9 Subscriber only content Subscriber only content

Table notes: Prices correct at time of publication in October 2018

How we test red wine

We asked each supermarket to suggest a good-value red wine ideal for drinking in the winter months. It had to be own label or exclusive, within the £4.99 to £9 price range, 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. 

This year our wine 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; and Sam Caporn, Master of wine, wine consultant, speaker, writer and IWC judge. 

Choosing a red wine

There’s no substitute for trying wines out and keeping a record of those you liked and didn’t. But 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. 
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