Let’s keep the party season going for one more week with something rich and warming — a blockbuster red.

Many of today’s popular reds have a suggestion of richness but if you want real heft you have to pay for it. Deep concentrated flavours don’t come cheaply. But look at it this way, restaurants charge you as much for house wine.

The trick for maximizing the rich red experience is to not share it with food. They’re stars — so naturally they shine best on their own. An inch at a time, in a large glass, after dinner, or any time you want to chill out.


When researching for Billy’s Best Bottles Wines for 2008, I found three really good wines that fit this rich red category: a Shiraz, a Cabernet and an Amarone. All different, but all heartwarming and with similar prices.

Wolf Blass introduced us to Aussie Shiraz so it’s no surprise that he still has one of the biggest shows in town. Spicy sweet, solid and substantial.

For some, Cabernet is the king of reds and you’ll see why when you experience Beringer’s Knights Valley. It’s California at its best — big, lovely and a charmer.

Italy’s Amarone is the grandaddy of rich reds. Produced from partially dried grapes it has amazing flavour concentration, richness, and high alcohol. And, for sure, it delivers a toasty, nourishing feeling.

Opened bottles of these wines will keep well for at least three days. It’s fun to revisit them especially if you’re smart enough to have a couple on the go. Remember, an inch at a time. Last Saturday’s Vintages release recommendations are posted on www.billysbestbottles.com.


  • Wolf Blass ’04 Shiraz ‘Grey Label,’ Australia

    LCBO No.: 390872

    Price: $33.05

  • Beringer ’04 Cabernet Sauvignon, Knights Valley, California

    LCBO No.: 352583

    Price: $39.95

  • Masi ‘04 Amarone Valpolicella, ‘Costasera’, Italy (shown)

    LCBO No.: 317057

    Price: $34.95


Billy Munnelly has been writing about wine for 25 years and is the author of Canada's largest selling wine book, Billy's Best Bottles. Sign up for his free monthly e-letter at www.billysbestbottles.com