With Christmas just around the corner, and delivery delays looming large, it’s time to think seriously about replenishing your cellar with all the wine you’ll need in the festive weeks to come.
The festive season might be the time to splurge and treat yourself to a more expensive bottle. But with so many, and such different, moments of celebration, you’ll want to have some safe good-value options to choose from as well. Save where you can so you can spend more on gifts and other treats!
With that in mind, we’ve selected 20 wines, all under £15/bottle, that deliver all the festive satisfaction without breaking the bank. They might even become your new everyday drinking favourites and/or cellar staples in the New Year.
The selection below covers a wide selection of regions and styles, which will pair perfectly with the different festive meals, whether it’s turkey, duck, beef, vegetarian banquet or boxing day leftovers. Another advantage of going for multiple, good-value pours rather than a single flagship bottle is that you’ll be able to cater to a wider range of tastes and requirements.
Sticking to a tight budget doesn’t mean compromising in quality either. Indeed you will find beautiful wines, some from iconic producers (Jim Barry, Chateau Musar, AA Badenhorst,…), whose elegance and complexity might surprise you at this price point.
Important things to know when picking a red wine for Christmas:
- Beware of tannins – Festive food tends to be quite intense, with multiple flavours, spices, and textures, as well with a significant amount of fat. Tannins bind with these compounds and if a wine is too tannic this will not be a pleasant feeling. So go for wines with medium, riper tannins instead. Or for wines that have lots of tannins but have mellowed through extended ageing. Keep the punchy reds for strong yet lean textures such as roast beef or braised tuna.
- If you’re looking for a wine for homemade mulled wine, choose a medium-bodied style that has fruit but also herbal flavours. These will make for a more enjoyable and complex drink. Think Merlot or Cabernet Franc, rather than Garnacha.
- Get the serving temperature of your red right – One of the most common mistakes when serving reds is to pour them too warm. This means actually need to be properly chilled down. Light to medium bodied reds should be at 12-16°C (54-61°F), while fuller bodied reds should be served at 15-18°C (59-65°F).
- Price doesn’t always matter – while it can be an indication of quality, it is sometimes (often!) also driven by availability, brand placement and market pressures. You can trust some of the wines below to deliver the same quality and satisfaction than other bottles found on shelves at £20+
- Trust your supplier – the best way to know whether you’re truly getting bang for your buck, as opposed to a low quality bargain, is to buy from trusted suppliers whose selections are careful and thoughtful, across price points. Our selection was also made with this in mind.