Viña Real Rioja Crianza 2010 – 13.5% – €15.95
Delicious smooth succulent dark cherry fruits with subtle spice. Perfect with lamb and white meats.
I was very pleasantly surprised when I tasted this wine one mid-week evening, even more so when I discovered the price. This really is a great bargain, a lovely elegant wine at a great price. It has a little oak, but as with the Rayos Uva below, it is the pure fruits that shine through.
Stockists: The Corkscrew, Chatham Street; Molloy’s Clondalkin; Deveny’s, Rathmines; Egan’s, Portlaoise; Spar, Milltown and wineonline.ie
Perricone 2012, Sicilia IGT – €12.29
A pleasantly whacky wine bursting with sweet juicy ripe cherry and black fruits and a nice herby edge. Very interesting and enjoyable, and great value too.
Perricone is a little-known native Sicilian grape variety. I had never tasted it before I came across this version from M&S, but I will certainly keep an eye out for it in future.
Stockists: Marks & Spencer
Zibibbo 2013, Terre Siciliane – €12.29
Delicious floral, scented, crisp dry white wine with plump green fruits and a zesty finish.
Zibibbo is believed to be a clone of Muscat of Alexandria, one of the oldest grape varieties of all. The lifted fresh aromas will certainly remind you of Muscat, but unlike some versions, this also has plenty of mouth-watering citrus acidity. Perfect spring drinking at a great price.
Stockists: Marks & Spencer
Semillon 2008, Bethany Wines, Barossa Valley – 12.5% – €15.49
Jeff Schrapel and daughter Tanya are the fifth and sixth generation of this family to run Bethany wines in the historic Barossa Valley. I have always been a fan of their Semillon, which takes on a lovely character with a few years ageing. This is a delicious complex wine with rounded fresh melon fruits, lime zest, subtle grilled hazelnuts and a dry finish. Perfect with chicken, pork or salmon.
Côtes du Rhône Rouge Guigal 2011 – 14% – €15.99
This was once consumed in vast quantities by most of middle-class Dublin; these days many have now moved on to other wines. I hadn’t tried it for a few years, and was very pleasantly surprised when I opened up a bottle recently. This is a very tasty smooth medium-bodied wine with ripe but savoury black fruits and a touch of spice. The white version, at the same price is also a very decent enjoyable wine.
Stockists: Supervalu, O’Briens and many independents.
Le Salare 2013 Montepulicano d’Abruzzo
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo comes in many guises, including a great many poor quality wines. This is one of the good guys. Delicious refreshing red wine with lifted aromas of roses and cherry, and a juicy palate of dark cherry fruits with mouth-watering acidity. Try with pork and charcuterie.
Stockists: La Touche, Greystones; Sheridan’s Cheese Shops, Dublin, Meath, Waterford and Galway.
Stone Barn Chardonnay 2012, California – €12.99 – 13%
Finding good inexpensive Californian wine is not easy, but this one struck me as very good value at a recent tasting. Made by well-known producer Delicato, this impressed with its pleasant soft peach fruits and light touch of vanilla.
Stockists: Baggot Street Wines; D4; Deveney’s; Dundrum, D14; D-Six, Harold’s Cross, Jus de Vine, Portmarnock.
Lidl Cimarosa Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Marlborough, New Zealand
12.5% €8.79 per bottle
Visiting the massive (1,000 hectare) Yealands estate in Marlborough a few weeks back, I spied a bottle of this wine in the tasting room. Peter Yealands smiled and said, yes we do supply a Sauvignon to Lidl. It is not the same cuvée as the Peter Yealands, which sells for around €15, but those on a limited budget who enjoy Marlborough Sauvignon should stock up on this wine. Fresh and light with good lifted herby aromas, light fresh green fruits and classic Marlborough citrus acidity. Certainly the best white wine in the Cimarosa range from Lidl.
Tramin Pinot Grigio 2013, Alto-Adige Sud-Tirol – 13% – €15.99 per bottle
The Alto Adige is a wonderful source for clean fresh white wines; we don’t see enough of them in this country. This wine shone in a blind tasting of Pinot Grigio. It is so much better than the standard Veneto versions that clog up most restaurant wine lists. Beautifully balanced, lively and lightly textured, with ginger spice, pears and very good length.
Stockists: Wines on the Green, Dawson St.; McCabes, Blackrock; 64 Wine, Glasthule; Baggot Street Wines; Blackrock Cellar; Clontarf Wines; Gibneys, Malahide; Jus de Vin, Portmarnock; Martins, Fairview; Nolans, Clontarf; The Vintry, Dublin 6.
I Moline de Grace Chianti Classico 2010 – 13.5% – € 19.95 per bottle
Chianti is not to everyone’s taste; some are put off by the lifted acidity and savoury bite of Sangiovese. I love it, particularly with red meat and game. This is a lighter version, but with lovely succulent fruit; lively with juicy sour cherries and herbs finishing with some well-judged tannins. Perfect with red or white meats, and very well-priced.
Stockists: Whelehan Wines, Loughlinstown, www.whelehanwines.ie