The Wine Guy Eddie McDougall


Illustration by Elis Wilk

When the bells are chiming, the lights are flashing and the woolly jumpers crawl out of hibernation, it means only one thing – The Big Fat Reds are back! This portly family is made up of those juicy, voluptuous wines that coat your mouth with ripe, lush fruit and a slight booziness. Tightly focused on knocking the drinker for a home run into the heavens, these wines are perfect for feasting over the indulgent holiday season. Here’s a juicy selection of Big Fat Reds to pair with your festive feasts over Christmas and the New Year:

Terre di Sava, Luccarelli Ampelo, Primitivo, Merlot, Tarantino, Italy IGT 2011
Stinky, like a blue cheese in a bat cave, this bouquet is well supported by notes of blackcurrants and raisins. Broad and dense on the palate, the liquid is tightly knitted with dustier tannins. What a blend: Primitivo, Merlot and Tarantino! Drink this while chuggin’ on a Montecristo cigar.

Zentato, Ripassa di Zenato, Veneto, Italy 2009
Forceful and built like Tarzan – particularly when he’s swinging on the vines, on his way to rescue you from a Christmas with no good wine. Dark tannins star here – they’re dry, rich and intensely firm. The fruits and spices are well balanced, making this an on-the-level, memorable experience. Goes great with a box of chocolates.

Domaine of the Bee, Côtes Catalanes, France 2009
A blend of Grenache and Mourvedre, this wine is stacked with new oak. The flavour comes in barrels. At first taste, there’s a ginormous explosion of plum, liquorice and spicy milkshake which rocks your boat beyond repair. Lush, plush and only fit for those ready for serious indulgence. Top this off with a fatty hunk of wagyu beef and really go overboard.  

Escaoda-Sanahuja SL Reus, Nas del Gegant, Conca de Barbera, Spain 2011
This is a pretty whacked-out blend of Cabernet Franc, Carinena, Grenacha and Merlot that needs two days to open up. The distinctive notes of graphite shavings are interestingly supported by a well-rounded fruit intensity. The palate is broad and expansive as the wine spreads itself like butter on pancakes. If lamb shank stew is on the menu, this is the wine for you.

Tedeschi Valpolicella Superiore, Verona, Italy 2010
Herbal, spicy and distinctly a roast lamb wine. Tedeshci’s blend of Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara throws out a bucket-load of pepper and cloves. It’s all tightly wound up with huge tannins that leave a long-lasting impression on your palate. Seriously. It’s big in tannins.

Geoff Merrill RSV Cabernet Sauvignon, McLaren Vale, Australia 2006
Made by one of the greats in Australia, this Cabernet Sauvignon is hugely dense in texture and flavour. Retaining the beautiful primary fruit characteristics of cassis and plums, it shows great balance and a promising future. Smacks you right in the kisser! Drink this with a Turkish feast.


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