Dão Ribeiro Santo 2014, Portugal
A lovely harmonious medium-bodied wine with pure damson and dark cherry fruits.
Perfect with duck breast or pork dishes.
I have just finished a tasting of wines from the Dão region for a piece in the Irish Times. I suspect this will feature strongly. Dão is one of the best-known wine regions of Portugal, but until recently, often produced very average wines. This has changed over the last decade; if you enjoy light to medium-bodied wines, then this is well worth checking out.
€14.95 from Fresh Outlets, La Touche, Greystones; The Coachouse, Ballinteer; Power & Co, Lucan, D Six; Nectar, Sandyford; McGuinness Wines, Dundalk; Green Man Wines, Terenure; Corkscrew, Chatham Street.
Pato Frio Selecçâo 2015, Alentejo, Portugal
This white, with its light tropical fruits and refreshing citrus edge tasted of summers and holidays past. Apparently it is a vegan wine.
Drink on its own, creamy cheeses or with light seafood dishes.
I am a big fan of Portuguese wines. We are probably more familiar with the red wines, but the whites can be excellent too. For wine nerds, the good news is they have a dazzling array of their own indigenous grape varieties too. This wine is made from a blend of Antão Vaz (50%), Arinto (25%) and Síria (25%).
€14.95 from La Touche, Greystones; O’Briens; Fresh Outlets; Corkscrew; Fallon & Byrne; D Six, Harold’s Cross; Deveney’s, Dundrum; Sweeney’s, Glasnevin; The Wine Well, Dunboyne.
Selbach Riesling 2014, Mosel
€13.95 for March 2017
Fresh crisp green apple fruits, with a zesty citrus edge and a nicely rounded finish. Delicate and delectable wine.
By itself or with mildly spicy Asian fish dishes; that lemon and lime acidity works really well with many Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese dishes.
I am a big fan of Riesling and was very happy when a friend served me a glass of this before dinner recently. Low in alcohol and refreshing with a touch of sweetness (as with many white wines these days) it is the perfect aperitif wine.
Available from O’Briens
Madregale 2015, Rosso Terre di Chieti
Light fresh juicy cherry fruits and no tannins. There isn’t really much more to say. Very good simple everyday drinking and great value for money.
Pizzas, lighter pasta dishes, and white meats. Or by itself.
This is made by Cantina Tollo, a well-regarded, large co-operative in the Abruzzo region. Chieti is the largest of the four provinces that produce Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.
Available from Avoca; Blackrock Cellars; Fallon & Byrne; Le Caveau, Kilkenny; Listons, Camden Street; MacGuinness Wines, Dundalk; Green Man Wines, Terenure; World Wide Wines, Waterford.
Picpoul de Pinet Les Flamants 2015
Light crisp and refreshing with clean green apple fruits.
Perfect with a bowl of mussels.
Part of the SuperValu Specially Sourced range, this is a decent well made dry white wine. Many Picpouls these days seem to be quite high in alcohol, with a sweetish finish. This wine tastes the way Picpoul should; the Muscadet of the south.
€10 from SuperValu
Domaine de la Renne Touraine Pinot Noir 2015
Light with juicy dark cherry fruits and a savoury earthy touch on the finish.
Good with salmon or tuna, or lighter white meats. I would fancy it with a saucisson, a thick slice of pâté and some crusty sourdough bread.
Less expensive Pinot Noir from the Loire can be a bit too herbaceous at times. Taking advantage of the sunny 2015 vintage, this wines avoids any such pitfalls. Remarkable value for money under €14.
€13.75 from Wines Direct, Mullingar, winesdirect.ie
Eco Viognier 2015, Chile, (Organic)
A very tasty refreshing Viognier from Chile; light and brimming with citrus and peachy fruits, this is a well-made well-priced wine.
With oily fish; mackerel, salmon or maybe sea bass.
Even inside its home territory of the Northern Rhône, Viognier varies from light and refreshing to rich and flabby. Get it right, and you get a combination of zesty acidity and luscious slightly bitter apricots and nectarines. However, cheaper versions often have very confected sweetish flavours. This is one of the better examples I have tasted recently.
Stockists: Searsons, Monkstown
Illuminati Riparosso 2015, Montepuliciano d’Abruzzo
Very seductive smooth warm dark fruits, a touch of tobacco and a slight earthiness.
We had this with a spicy lamb dish (from Diana Henry’s Simple cook book) and the two went perfectly.
This is an old favourite that I hadn’t tried for some time, so I was delighted to find it is as good as ever. You can find plenty of very cheap Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, but usually it is fairly nasty too. Illuminati is one of the good guys.
Stockists: SuperValu Ballinteer, Lucan; Charlesland, Blackrock, Deansgrange, Swords, Rathgar, Sundrive Road Donnybrook Fair, Londis Terenure.
€9.99 from Aldi
This is a lovely mouth-filling wine with rich apple and pear fruits, and the lightest touch of toasty oak.
Try it with salmon, smoked or fresh, or pork dishes.
Limoux is a small area tucked away in the foothills of the Pyrenees, a mere ten minute drive from Carcassonne airport, yet unknown to most of the Irish who land there. Best known for the sparkling Blanquette de Limoux, the region also produces some cracking white wines from various grape varieties.
€9 from O’Briens
An inexpensive light red wine with light dark cherry fruits and a hint of vanilla.
With pizzas, tapas and lighter dinners, or just by itself. It would make a great party wine too.
A perennial favourite with O’Briens customers, this is a sort of not-Rioja; made by a Rioja producer with Tempranillo grapes grown outside the borders for the wine or from younger vines within. The label, once black and circular, is now white and oval. I cannot pretend that the wine will taste like the finest Gran Reserva Rioja; it won’t. But for €9 a bottle on current promotion, you cannot ask for more.