I always feel a little awkward, writing about alcoholic beverages, in January. There are a couple of reasons for this.

Firstly, because many folks have spent up over Christmas and with their credit card bill to consider, the words ‘bottle of wine’ do not appear on their shopping list.

And secondly, recent years has seen the emergence of that Dry January malarkey. I don’t observe the post Chrimbo alcohol denial fest but nor do I want to deter anyone who does, by tempting them with the latest supermarket wine promotions.

There isn’t a theme that linking the following recommendations other than I have chosen red, because it is winter!

Oh, and they are all a bit more expensive than my usual picks because you have saved all that money during Dry January and you can afford to treat yourself.

Wonderful wolf

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JL Wolf ‘Phaia’ 2012, Pfalz

£12.99 from Laithwaites

17/20

For something a little different, try JL Wolf ‘Phaia’ 2012 from Germany’s Pfalz region (yes the German’s do make red wine).

Apart from coming in a very interestingly shaped bottle it is as smooth as silk. Oozing cherry flavours, with some ripe plums, a well balanced acidity, spicy notes and some very fine tannins, this is just a very appealing wine.

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Supple Spanish tipple

Gran Villa Gran Reserva 2004, Navarra

£11.99 from Virgin Wines

17/20

If you like a mature red then you will like Gran Villa Gran Reserva 2004 from the Navarra region of Spain. Mellow, with supple tannins, it is a blend of Syrah, Grenache, Carignan and Cinsault grapes.

It suggests berry fruit flavours with notes of tobacco, leather and black pepper.

Cru cut above

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Grand Barrail Lamarzelle Figeac 2006, Saint-Émilion Grand Cru

£22 at Sainsbury’s

18/20

Or if you want something a bit special then splash out on a terrific wine from Bordeaux’s Right Bank – Grand Barrail Lamarzelle Figeac 2006, Saint-Émilion Grand Cru.

It is a rich, smooth, complex and beautifully balanced wine with flavours of cherry, raspberry and spice.