Olly’s bonfire dazzlers—

Bonfire Night is imminent, presenting an appropriate moment to pour a smoky red. Some grape varieties intrinsically create wines with aromatic spice that fit this time of year to perfection. Syrah is the headline act, especially from France’s Northern Rhone with appellations such as Saint-Joseph delivering wines with aromas of smoky bacon as a surprising yet classic characteristic. South African Pinotage is another warming red which you can also find in rich blends such as my pick from Kanonkop this week. Chilean Carmenere is profoundly peppery but from off the beaten track, Greece and Portugal have great value gems crafted from their lexicon of local grapes – spot on to light up your life.


Mitravelas Red on Black Agiorgitiko 2019 (14%) £7.95 The Wine Society. Think of this great Greek as butch Beaujolais with spicy whiskers. Silky and sublime!

Classics Carmenere 2019 (13.5%) £8 M&S. A Chilean champion of a wine with peppery scented bold ripe fruit.  Great value.

Kanonkop Kadette Cape Blend 2018 (14.5%) £11 TescoThis spicy rich red blend is seamless and spectacular from one of South Africa’s best producers.

Domaine Jean-Claude Marsanne Saint-Joseph 2017 (14%) £29.55 hhandco.ukSmokey bacon! Vibrant and vital Syrah – I’ve already placed my order. World class wine.


Carlos Lucas Portuguese Dao 2018 (13%) £5.99 Aldi. This is Britain’s best buy at the price, think Rioja meets Pinot Noir with a gentle aromatic flourish. Stunning.

This article was originally published in YOU Magazine, Mail on Sunday, 1st November 2020.

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