Reds to blast away those January blues

Renato Ratti Barbera D'Asti, Italy
Renato Ratti Barbera D'Asti, Italy

If you still have leftovers from the holidays, and now can’t help rounding off a meal with a mature chunk of Stilton or cooking a bubble and squeak with Brussels sprouts, what you need is a lip-smacking, food-friendly red that can complement your makeshift melange, and generally blast away those January blues...

Italy is a comfort zone for reasonably priced taverna type reds and household favourite, Tavernello Vino d’Italia Rosso, Italy (£3.49, Tesco) is a steal at under a fiver. It will complement the most basic dishes, with some faint floral aromas and gentle berry fruits, it’s light and easy and can happily be washed down with a mishmash of flavours.

Carignan and grenache are some of the speciality grapes of the Languedoc in southern France and for another great value vino, try Cuvee Chasseur Vin de France 2013, France (£4.99, Waitrose). A rustic style with plenty of French flair, it’s light, smooth and fruity with cracked pepper on the finish and would go well with a turkey pie or casserole.

If you’re not one to abstain through the most depressing month of the year, a couple of bottles from the Tussock Jumper wine range could be the best antidote.

Each label features an engaging animal specific to the country, dressed in a cosy, red jumper, and Tussock Jumper Malbec 2014, Argentina (£26.97 case of three, £8.99 per bottle, www.amazon.co.uk) tastes as powerful as you might expect with a bull on the bottle. Muscular and dense with a cherry richness and underlying black fruits, spicy oak and fine, sweet tannins, serve with pot-roast beef, roast potatoes and red cabbage for a marvellously enjoyable supper.