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Soave La Rocca 2015, Pieropan

Soave La Rocca 2015, Pieropan

La Rocca high res_NVQuite deep in colour with a restrained lightly nutty nose. The palate opens out with time to reveal a delightful mix of almonds, light peach fruits and honey. A wonderful subtle wine full of nuance. Don’t serve it too cold; the flaovurs are quite delicate. Not cheap, but worth it.

Spaghetti or linguini with either prawns or crab sounds good.

Pieropan is one of the greatest white wine producers in Italy. Nino Pieropan, who sadly passed away in April, can take much of the credit for rescuing the reputation of the Soave region, ruined by a flood of cheap nasty wines over several decades. Sons Dario and Andrea now run the estate, which is fully organic. The La Rocca vineyard is primarily limestone, unusual in a region dominated by basalt. The wine is aged in a mix of large old oak casks.

€36.99 from Redmond, Ranelagh; 64 Wine, Glasthule, 64wine.ie; wineonline.ie

 

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Le Cadet 2016, Montirius, IGP Vaucluse

Le Cadet 2016, Montirius, IGP Vaucluse

le cadet2A vivid youthful colour. Full of bold vibrant ripe dark fruits, this is a seductive medium to full-bodied red that retains a mouth-watering freshness. Not a keeper but excellent now.

We drank it with chicken thighs baked with herby tomatoes and peppers.

Montirius produce some of the finest wines of Vacqueyras and Gigondas in the southern Rhône. Le Cadet is the baby brother, a lighter more supple fruity wine that still packs a punch, and offers great value for money. 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah.

€17 exclusively from 64 Wine, Glasthule 64wine.ie

 

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Domaine de la Taille aux Loups 2015, Remus, Montlouis

Domaine de la Taille aux Loups 2015, Remus, Montlouis

montlouisA glorious wine; a rich creamy texture, balanced by very brisk, well-integrated acidity, and masses of mouth-watering quince and white peach fruits, finishing long and dry.

In an ideal world, with poached wild salmon with a buttery dill sauce. But good quality farmed salmon would still do nicely.

Jacky Blot has transformed the reputation of Montlouis, so long the poor neighbour of Vouvray. This single vineyard Chenin Blanc is one of the best white wines I have tasted so far in 2018. It is worth buying by the case if you can afford it, as this will keep and improve for years to come.

€29.40 from Wines Direct, Mullingar, Arnott’s, Dublin and by mail order from Winesdirect.ie

 

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de Martino Las Cruces Old Vine Malbec Carmenère 2014, Valle de Cachapoal

de Martino Las Cruces Old Vine Malbec Carmenère 2014, Valle de Cachapoal

Las Cruces 2014

 

 

Wonderful wine. An explosion of tight ripe savoury dark fruits with real concentration and backbone. Lovely balance and great length – 13.5% alcohol. A world away from most alcoholic, oaky luxury Chilean wines, this really is worth trying, despite the price tag.

 

This would go nicely with most grilled or roast red meats. Lightly spicy barbecued lamb or a gourmet burger.

 

Expensive, but this one is worth it. I tasted this as part of an article on wines from Itata, the first vineyards planted by the Spanish conquistadores. This is made from the granitic Las Cruces vineyard, planted in 1956 It is a field blend of 75% Malbec and 25% Carmenère.

€40 from O’Briens Wines.

 

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Casa da Passarella Abanico Reserva 2014, Serra da Estrella

Casa da Passarella Abanico Reserva 2014, Serra da Estrella

passarellareservaCasa da Passarella Abanico Reserva 2014, Serra da Estrella

A very moreish medium-bodied wine with tangy savoury dark plum fruits, good acidity, and fine grained tannins on the finish. A slow-burner that improves with each sip. Delightful in every way.

Certainly better with food, roast or grilled lamb would bring the fruit to life and cut through the tannins very nicely.

The Dâo region in the north of Portugal is producing some of the best-value red wines around at the moment. If, like me, you are a fan of more elegant wines that are lower in alcohol, then you should certainly seek them out. The whites can be equally good too. This wine is from one of the historic estates of the region, dating back to the 19th century, being revitalised by a new owner and winemaking team. Abanico is a sub-region of Dâo.

€21 from Grapevine, Dalkey; Clontarf Wines; Redmonds, Ranelagh; Baggot Street Wines.

 

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Terruzi & Puthod Terri di Tufi 2015 IGT Toscana Bianco

Terruzi & Puthod Terri di Tufi 2015 IGT Toscana Bianco

terriditufiTerruzi & Puthod Terri di Tufi 2015 IGT Toscana Bianco

This has some apple fruits from the Chardonnay, with quince and peach from the Vernaccia (I am guessing), and a light toastiness from the oak coming through on the finish. A delicious complex crisp medium to full-bodied wine with a solid backbone of acidity.

Try it with richer fish and seafood dishes or white meats.

I wrote about the standard Terruzi & Puthod Vernaccia earlier this year. It is a lovely individual wine. This is their more upmarket version. Made from a blend of Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, the wine is aged in oak barrels, (30% new, 70% second use) for five months. It sounds like the kind of thing that wouldn’t work, but it does, and very well too. The bottle is very impressive and so too is the wine.

€30.95 from Karwig Wines, Carrigaline, karwigwines.com; 64 Wine, Glasthule; Terroirs, Donnybrook.

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Soave Colli Scaligieri Castelcerino 2015 Filippi

Soave Colli Scaligieri Castelcerino 2015 Filippi

Soave filippiSoave Colli Scaligieri Castelcerino 2015, Filippi

A quite delicious light Soave with a waxy touch, some peach and yellow apple fruits mixing in with marzipan and a lively streak of mineral acidity. Made from biodynamically grown grapes with minimal sulphur, it has a pleasant leesy touch too.

Drink by itself or with lighter seafood dishes. I drank mine with a bowl of spaghetti alle vongole – otherwise known as clams with parsley and pasta.

Soave covers a multitude of sins, and a few bright shining stars. Anything under €10 is likely to be insipid and a little confected; €10-15 should get you a well-made inoffensive crisp dry white wine. Once you go over €15, expect a wine that is still light and refreshing, but with more complex flavours of almonds, lemon zest, summer fruits and even an edgy minerality.

€18.65 from Le Caveau, Kilkenny lecaveau.ie; 64 Wines, Glasthule; The Corkscrew, Chatham Street; Green Man Wines, Terenure; Bradley’s, Cork.

 

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La Quercia, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2014

La Quercia, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2014

La Quercia, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2014

45781_La-Quercia-Montepulciano-DAbruzzo-MontepulcianoA very smooth elegant concentrated wine with subtle ripe plums and black cherries. Tannin-free, supple and very moreish.

This went down perfectly over dinner with a few close friends. We ate Rachel Roddy’s pot roast lemon chicken with potatoes, anchovy and rosemary, my new favourite chicken recipe.

As with Soave, Montepulciano d’Abuzzo comes in all shapes and sizes. The larger co-operatives to the south produce a mass of inexpensive soft easy-drinking wines. They may lack character, but I find them less offensive than some of the ‘house wine’ alternatives. Once you pay €15 or more, you will find some very good wines, usually still soft and supple but with greater concentration and style – provided the producer avoids over-extracting or using too much oak.

€17.50 from Morton’s Ranelagh; Drinkstore, Stoney Batter; Power, Lucan; The Wine Library, Dun Laoghaire; Martins, Fairview; Coach House Ballinteer; Sweeneys, Glasnevin; Gibney’s, Malahide; Corkscrew, Chatham Street; The Wicklow Wine Co.

 

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Nicolas Reau Clos des Treilles Anjou 2015

Nicolas Reau Clos des Treilles Anjou 2015

Nicolas Reau Clos des Treilles Anjou 2015

clos des TreillesHaving tasted some very strange natural wines, I have to admit I put off tasting this for a while; my mistake!  This was amazingly good – it had the lightly honeyed touch of Chenin Blanc, a lovely quality of soft nuanced pear and quince fruits, well-balanced by a subtle mineral freshness. A seductive complex elegant wine that evolves with every sip.

Drink with lighter fish dishes. It went nicely with our Danish fishcakes – Fiske Frikadelle – boiled potatoes, peas and a homemade Remoulade.

Ex jazz player Nicolas Reau makes natural wine, intervening in the process as little as possible. This Chenin Blanc, from clay soils with some flint and limestone, is made from organically-grown grapes. Natural yeast are used for a fermentation without any temperature control; the wine is neither fined nor filtered, and only a small dose of sulphur is added prior to bottling.

€24.95 from Le Caveau, Kilkenny; Green Man Wines, Terenure; 64Wines, Glasthule.

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Domaine Tempier Cuvée Classique, Bandol 2013

Domaine Tempier Cuvée Classique, Bandol 2013

Domaine Tempier Cuvée Classique, Bandol 2013

Tempier Classique 2015This is a lovely big rich spicy wine full of power character. Loaded with swarthy, ripe, bold dark fruits, an earthy touch and a nice grippy finish, this can be very happily drunk now, but will keep and develop for a few years. Tempier wines, in my experience, can age for a decade or more.

Open this up when serving robust dishes featuring red meats and game. I would decant it just before serving.

This wine brought back many memories, all happy, when I drank it on a cold winter’s evening. Before he married, my dad used to spend his summers in Bandol and always waxed lyrical about the beaches and warm Mediterranean sun. Since childhood, I had always wanted to go. Eventually I made the pilgrimage with my sister, a chef, and in the event, it was slightly disappointing. Bandol has become very developed and touristy, a world away from the town he visited in the 1930’s and 1940’s. However, a visit to Domaine Tempier, a wine I had admired and enjoyed for many years, was fantastic. The wines have become more modern, but in a good way, and still retain a lovely muscular rusticity alongside great depth of ripe herby fruits. It is not cheap, and the excellent single vineyard wines are more expensive, but this is one of the great domaines of France.

€39.95 from The Corkscrew, Chatham Street; Terroirs, Donnybrook; Power and Co., Lucan; Grapevine, Dalkey; 64 Wines, Glasthule; Worldwide Wines, Waterford; Karwig Wines, Carrigaline.

 

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