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Winter warmers: Olly Smith’s top 30 fuller-bodied wine buys

As the nights draw in, we reach for palate-enveloping warmers – whether chunky and spicy, or joyfully unctuous – to enjoy around the winter table, or in an armchair by the fire. Here’s a selection to suit all palates and budgets.

The classic idea of a winter warmer is a red with generous booze to give your internal thermometer a comforting upward nudge. Grapes with a naturally spicy character such as Zinfandel, Syrah and Carmenère often get the nod. But I’ve also included some oak-amplified classics along with robust southern French blends, the odd white with a flex of powerful oak, a white Châteauneuf-du-Pape that should come with the offer of free glee on the label such is its deliciousness, as well as plenty of bottles from warmer climes that possess exuberance and generosity in equal measure.


Scroll down to see tasting notes and scores for Olly Smith’s top 30 wines perfect for winter


I’ve also included a few bottles that perhaps aren’t what would be traditionally thought of as winter warmers, such as Tim Wildman’s Astro Bunny, which is an orange-hued pét-nat wine from Australia. Partly I thought a fizz might be fun; I also happen to love the wine for its outrageously characterful dynamism – ever tasted a sparkling blend of Zibibbo, Fiano, Arneis, Nero d’Avola and Mataro before? Me neither – and its gingery twinkle is the ultimate ignition to spark your refreshment rockets on even the frostiest day.


Olly Smith’s top 30 winter warmers

Wines have been ordered by price, style and score: over £20, then under £20.


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