Use any velvety robust red wine: a Tempranillo, Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon would add richness to the prunes. When you are cooking with red wine, always choose a bottle that is of the same quality as you would drink with dinner. You can eat these prunes as a dessert with whipped cream or serve them with a runny cheese like a ripe Brie de Meaux.
400ml red wine
4 tablespoons Demerara sugar
2 star anise bulbs
1. Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil, turn the heat down and poach the prunes for 10 minutes until they are soft but not collapsing. Remove the prunes to a serving dish, increase the heat and reduce the syrup until it is still runny but quite viscous (it will thicken and become more syrupy as it cools). Pour the warm syrup over the prunes and eat immediately or leave to cool and chill in the fridge.
If the syrup is not thick enough, simmer it for a few minutes more. If you cook it until it is syrupy, it will become very thick when it cools, so try to judge it so it still has a slightly runny quality to it. If it thickens too much, you can add a little more water or wine and cook it for a few more minutes.
Cinnamon or a vanilla pod will work instead of star anise.