I Don't wish to tread on the toes of my esteemed TV writer- colleague, Julian Cole, but I have to start Tipping's Tipples this week with a reference to the gogglebox.

I like to watch University Challenge hosted by Jeremy Paxman. Heaven knows why, I think I'm doing well if I can answer more than three questions and even more of a surprise if my answers are correct.

But rest assured, if I do think I've got an answer right, I shout it out in an attempt to impress Mrs Tipping. It never works, my better half usually has her head in the newspaper.

Imagine my delight when a map of Australia came on the screen last week. It showed three shaded areas. "Name the three wine producing areas," asked Paxo. "Barossa, Coonawarra and the Hunter Valley," answered Tipping (Twoficfer University). And at last a reaction from Mrs Tipping. "Smartarse," she mumbled.

Defining organic wine is a complicated business. It would make a good subject for a set of University Challenge questions. But because I never finished my viticulture and organic chemistry PhD thesis, during my not past the postgraduate studies, at Twoficfer University. I am unqualified to comment on how organic an organic wine is. I feel more than able to pass comment on the taste, however.

Here then, are five organic reds which pass the Tipping's Tipples test. And your starter for five, £5.28 actually, is Kumala Organic Pinotage Shiraz 2004 from South Africa. Smooth but prickly with pepper and tannins, it's full of rustic charm. A dense, smoke filled, bramble fruit laden briar patch of a wine.

The classic Aussie combo' of shiraz and cabernet sauvignon are represented well in Eden Collection Shiraz Cabernet 2002. Liquorice and pepper spice up this ripe berry and cassis fruit smoothie.

I seem to be getting on with the modern wines coming out of Spain these days. Bagordi Rioja 2002 has raisin aromas, spices and more than enough red fruit flavours, a little rhubarb perhaps? It's nice and dry too with a noticeable amount of toasty oak, which fortunately is not over stated.

Finally, two single varietals from Californian producers Bonterra.

Bonterra Zinfandel 2001 is a wonderfully textured, inky liquid. It has dry, blackberry and stewed plum flavours with tannins to spare. An ideal partner for a sumptuous steak.

More complex than the zinfandel is Bonterra Merlot 2001 which is full of prickling nettles, cherry, liquorice and chocolate flavours. There's a nice touch of vanilla with spices and an underlying sherbet fizz. The label says soft but I have to disagree, because this wine is over-brimming with mouth-filling tannins. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Kumala Organic Pinotage Shiraz 2004, £5.28 at Asda. 16/20

Eden Collection Shiraz Cabernet 2002, £6.02 at Asda. 15/20

Bagordi Rioja 2002, £6.17 at Asda. 15/20

Bonterra Zinfandel 2001, £8.99 at Sainsbury's, Waitrose and Asda. 16/20

Bonterra Merlot 2001, £9.99 at Waitrose. 17/20

Updated: 08:34 Saturday, March 26, 2005