€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.
Aldi Lot 18 Baden Pinot Blanc 2015, Germany
Neither of the German supermarkets offer much in the way of native wine. Baden, tucked away in the south-west corner of Germany, opposite Alsace, specialises in the three Pinots – Noir, Gris and Blanc, the latter known as Weissburgunder in Germany. All three can be very good. This Pinot Blanc is completely dry, full of luscious peach fruits cut through with a fine crisp acidity. At €13.99, it is expensive for Aldi, but still offers very good value.
Drink solo, or with lightly spiced Asian prawns or chicken.
Albizu Tempranillo 2015, Spain
Available for €11.95-€12.95 from Mitchell & Son; Avoca Rathcoole; Le Caveau, Kilkenny; Baggot St Wines; Blackrock Cellar; Corkscrew; Fallon & Byrne; Listons; MacGuinness; Green Man; 64 Wines; World Wide Wines, Waterford.
I have a weakness for unoaked (or very lightly oaked) Rioja. I love the lively aroma, the pure cherry fruits and the refreshing acidity. They come to together to form an easy-drinking but sophisticated wine, great for sipping alone or for drinking with a variety or red and white meats. This example, made by a Rioja producer, from grapes grown within the region, doesn’t actually have the name Rioja on the label, but it certainly tastes like it. This is a perfect example of the style. Worth buying in quantity for the season ahead.
Riesling Grand Cru 2013, Altenberg de Bergbieten, J.P. Muller
€12.99 from Lidl
Rich, textured apple and pear fruits, nicely bound refreshing acidity and a touch of honey.
Perfect with pork and chicken dishes.
The basic Riesling in the Lidl French Wine Sale is lighter and fresher and pretty good value at €9.99. But for three euros more, the Grand Cru Riesling is a really tasty wine, and worth the premium.
Ch. Pey du Pont 2012, Médoc Cru Bourgeois
Classic Médoc with slightly austere blackcurrant fruits, a bit of structure and some drying tannins on the finish. Well made wine. If that sounds a bit negative, it shouldn’t – this is good value and an enjoyable wine.
I wouldn’t try this without food, and it would go best with roast red meats – lamb or beef.
Lidl have a very decent range of inexpensive Bordeaux in their French wine sale. I have covered a bigger selection of their wines in earlier blogs.
Ch. Dereszla Tokaji Furmint 2013, Hungary
€12.50 from Mitchell & Son, chq, Sandycove and Avoca, Kilmacanogue
Lush rich peach fruits, lightly honeyed with some toasted almonds. If that all sounds too soft and flabby, it isn’t; there is enough acidity to keep it all nicely on track.
Try it with white meats, chicken or pork, with creamy sauces. It went nicely with my chicken in a mushroom sauce.
It is not often you find a Tokaji for less than €15. Aldi have one for a mere €7.99 in their current Wine Festival, but this bottle from Mitchell & Son is far superior. Furmint in usually used to make the fabulous sweet wines of Tokaji, but in recent years, producers have started to offer very good dry whites as well. This is great value for money.
Ch Belles Eaux Les Coteaux 2012, Languedoc
€11.45 from O’Briens
A big, powerful, full-bodied red wine with rippling supple meaty dark fruits, dried herbs and black olives. Classic Languedoc at a very keen price. Decant just before sitting down to a nice juicy rare steak.
Vina Laguna Pinot Sivi 2014, Istria, Croatia
€14.95 from Gibneys of Malahide, Donnybrook Fair, Clontarf Wines, Redmonds of Ranelagh, Sweeneys of Glasevin, Martins of Fairview, Hole in the Wall.
Pleasant, fresh plump easy melon fruits with a touch of the exotic – ginger and honeysuckle.
An aperitif wine or with light summery salads. The plump fruits might go well with scallops.
I featured a few wines from Slovenia recently; today its next-door-neighbour, Croatia. I visited Vina Laguna a few years back. They make a good range of sound, reliable wines, fairly priced in a region where many wines are not cheap. They also produce a very decent Malvasia at around the same price. Pinot Sivi is Pinot Grigio.
Syrah 2014 Feudo Arancio, Sicily
€15 from Mitchell & Son & Myles Doyle, Gorey.
Lovely cool supple plum fruits with a sprinkle of black pepper.
We tried it with chicken baked in a creamy sauce. The chicken was lovely but the wine went better with the sheep’s cheese that followed – Cáis na Tíre, my new best friend.
I first came across this wine a decade ago over lunch in the winery, and have followed it ever since. Sicily produces some very good Syrah, and this is one such example. It is richer than a Northern Rhône Syrah, but lighter and cooler than a Shiraz from Australia, This was a massive hit over dinner with a group of friends. I also featured the equally good Nero d’Avola a few weeks back.