Le Bel Ange, Domaine Begude 2014, IGP pays d’Oc
€16.96 or 2 for €25.43 from O’Briens
Oak-free, crisp refreshing dry white with lively green apples, pears and lemon zest.
A pleasing aperitif, but I have tried it alongside moules marinières with great success on several occasions. The two combined make for a very satisfying inexpensive starter.
Not strictly under €15, but if you buy two, the bottle price drops to €12.71, which is very good value for a wine of this quality. I have written about it many times before, but this is one of my go-to inexpensive white wines. The Begude 11300 Terroir and Etoile are a little pricier but equally good value. This contains around 15% Chenin Blanc, the remainder being Chardonnay, an unusual blend that seems to work very well. Organic.
Montañar Graciano 2015, La Mancha
€13.99 from Egan’s, Portlaoise; Vanilla Grape, Kenmare; and Drinkstore, Stoneybatter.
Bright fresh dark fruits with good acidity and plenty of concentration. Medium to full-bodied with well-managed tannins on the finish. This is a lovely well-priced wine.
This went brilliantly with a leg of lamb, but any substantial roast red meat would do fine.
Graciano is a grape variety found in Rioja, but shunned until recently as it was very difficult to grow. It can produce perfumed elegant wines with good acidity and structure. The Parra family are based in the warmer La Mancha region of Spain. This wine combines the elegance and acidity of Graciano with the stuffing provided by the La Mancha heat. Organic.
Rabl Grüner Veltliner 2014, Kamptal, Austria
€13.30 from Marks & Spencer
Grüner Veltliner is the signature grape of Austria. It produces excellent white wines, and has now become very fashionable in many key markets worldwide. So much so that it is now being planted all over the New World and even in places like France. This mouthwatering dry white, with its lovely toothsome pear fruits is a perfect summer wine; light, a mere 12% in alcohol, and refreshing and very reasonably priced too.
Teroldego Rotaliano 2015, Italy, Marks & Spencer
€11.79 from Marks & Spencer
At 12.5% alcohol, with light fresh red fruits and nice acidity, this is a perfect light-bodied summer wine, one to match with all sorts of cold meats and other salads. We had our bottle with chicken wraps. It was very easy to sip on its own too. Teroldego is unique to Trentino high up in the mountains of north-eastern Italy.
Les Maselles Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Val de Loire
€10 from O’Briens
Very attractive mild aromas of gooseberry and asparagus and plump green fruits with a lovely citrus bite. Perfect summery drinking at a very keen price.
This would make a great aperitif or party wine, or alternatively with a bowl of mussels.
I am not a big fan of inexpensive Sauvignon Blanc; I have tasted far too many sweetish, mawkish, confected wines that taste more like elderflower cordial than wine. However this was a pleasant exception. Made I suspect in Haut-Poitou, a region that produces good quality inexpensive white wines, but has the simple tag ‘Vin de Loire’.
Canforalles Syrah Tempranillo 2015, La Mancha
€13 from La Touche, Greystones; World Wide Wines, Waterford; 64wine, Glasthule; Liston’s, Camden Street.
Nice young wine – the Syrah gives it a savoury touch, the Tempranillo an elegance. Together they form a well-made wine, with clean dark fruits and light tannins. Ideal with pizza and tomato-based pasta dishes. Organic.
La Mancha is one of the largest vineyards in the world, and produces massive quantities of wine, largely red. They are usually very reasonably priced. I reckon La Mancha Tempranillo is one of the best-value red wines you can find. This wine mixes in a bit of Syrah too, a nice innovation. Great value for money.
Beauregard Mirouze Corbières Blanc ‘Campana’ 2015,
€14.85 from Le Caveau, Kilkenny & MacGuinness, Dundalk.
Very seductive floral aromas, with mouth-watering plump ripe peaches on the palate. Great value for money.
A good all-rounder to sip on its own or with summery salads.
You are much more likely to come across the red version of Corbières. The appellation is very large, and the reds range from cheap and watery to some serious age worthy wines. This wine is a slightly eclectic mix of 60% Marsanne, 30% Vermentino and 10% Roussanne that works really well.
Hauts de Médian Petit Verdot 2015 IGP Pays d’Oc
€14.50 from Le Caveau, Kilkenny & McGuinness, Dundalk.
Medium-bodied with ripe dark fruits, good acidity, and medium tannins on the finish. Well-made wine with a bit of structure. It needs a plate of food.
I would try this with red meats – grilled lamb chops sound about right.
Petit Verdot is a Bordeaux grape, often used in small amounts as part of a blend. Some producers argue that as little as 2-3% makes a big difference to the wine, adding a spicy or peppery note. Others argue that it is very similar to Cabernet Sauvignon, but as they both ripen at the same time (late), it is of little use. I like the solid dark fruits and structure it adds to a wine, and would like to see more of it in the Languedoc.
Cornelia Swartland Red 2014, South Africa
€14.99 from Marks & Spencer
Lifted fragrant aromas, medium-bodied spicy dark fruits, and a rounded finish. Lovely stuff.
Full-flavoured white meats. Mine went nicely with brined pork chops and caramelised onions.
Marks & Spencer has both red and white wines under the Cornelia label. Both are made by Adi Badenhorst, one of the new stars of South African wine, and both come from Swartland, a region that has been growing grapes for a long time, but has become everybody’s favourite in the last year or two. The red is a Southern Rhône-style blend of Shiraz, Cinsault and Mourvèdre
La Perdrix de l’Année des Bêtes Curieuses, Muscadet sur granit 2014
€14.50 from One Pery Square, Limerick; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock;
The Drink Store, Stoneybatter; La Touche, Greystones.
Vivid and mineral with delicious flowing green fruits and a crisp finish. Don’t worry about the vintage. Muscadet can take a few years.
Drink with shellfish and simple fish dishes.
I have been enjoying countless bottles of Muscadet this summer. It is such a joyous drink; light and fresh, but with a complexity and depth rarely found in a wine at either this price, or at 12% alcohol. Only Riesling comes to mind, but you don’t find many good dry Riesling below €15.