Clos Lapeyre 2012 Vitatge Vielh, Jurançon Sec
Stunning, slightly funky wine with rich honey, orange peel and pineapple fruits, a strong mineral seam, and a long bone dry finish.
It being St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow, I would try this alongside sautéed salmon with a lemony sauce of some kind.
I am a big fan of the wines of Jurançon, from the south-west of France, in the foothills of the Pyrenees. The sweet wines have a glorious purity of rich pineapple fruit set off by a vibrant acidity. They are allowed to dry on the vine for long periods, a process known as passerillage, but are not affected by noble rot. The sweet Moelleux from Clos Lapeyre is a textbook example. The wine above however is a dry version. Vitatge Vielh pronounced ‘bitatje bieiy’ according to their website, is a single vineyard planted in 1945 with Gros Manseng, Petit Manseng and Courbu. All three are local grape varieties; the sweet wines are generally 100% Petit Manseng, the dry wines a blend or simply form the higher yielding Gros Manseng. This wine is made from 60% Gros Manseng, 30% Petit Manseng and 10% Courbu, and is aged for year on it’s lees with regular stirring.
€22 from 64wine, Glasthule and Green Man Wines, Terenure.
Rafael López de Heredia, Viña Bosconia 2005 Rioja Reserva
Subtle ripe strawberry and red cherry fruits, with an appealing earthiness, and a powerful mineral backbone. Impeccably balanced, arresting and quite magnificent.
I would sip this gently with a roast shoulder or leg of lamb.
You either like them or you don’t. The wines of López de Heredia are unique, traditional and uncompromising. The company has four separate distinct vineyards (Bosconia, Cubillo, Tondonia & Gravonia) totaling 170 hectares, their own cooperage, and a respect for history. The wines are aged for lengthy periods in oak casks, yet remain fresh, lively, sometimes a little funky, with a minerality and elegance that make them completely different from all other Rioja. These are wines that make you think when you drink.
Viña Bosconia comes from the El Bosque vineyard. Made from a blend of 40 year-old vines, primarily Tempranillo, with some Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano. It spends five years in large American oak barrels before being bottled.
€31 from World Wide Wines, Waterford; Blackrock Cellars; Green Man Wines, Terenure, and 64wine, Glasthule.
As Sortes 2014, Rafael Palacios, Valedorras
An exhilarating, sophisticated mix of concentrated rounded red apple fruits that fill the mouth, a subtle nuttiness and an intense saline, mineral backbone that adds real verve and attack. The combination of rich fruit and bracing acidity is unusual but fascinating. Not cheap but it compares favourably with a top white Burgundy, and is every bit as good.
I would try this with crab, grilled black sole or a buttery salmon dish.
I have written about Bolo and Louro before; As Sortes is the next step up the ladder in the wines of Rafael Palacios. One of the key figures in reviving the fortunes of the near extinct Godello vines in Valdeorras, Palacios gave a short but excellent master class in Dublin this week. I hope to get around to writing a full blog some time soon. In the meantime this wonderful wine, tasted at the master class. It is made from six small Sortes or plots of Godello, planted in the 1970’s.
€51 from 64wines, Glasthule; Clontarf Wines; Green Man Wines, Terenure; The Corkscrew, Chatham St.
Vidal Reserve Syrah 2013, Hawke’s Bay, Gimblett Gravels, New Zealand
Elegant savoury dark cherry fruits and spicy black peppers with a very attractive grainy texture and some drying tannins on the finish. An impressive almost European style of wine.
It was certainly much better with food, in my case a roast guinea fowl.
Gimblett Gravels has emerged as one of the best places in New Zealand to produce red grapes (leaving Pinot Noir aside). The deep gravel soils produce perfectly ripe wines with uniquely savoury flavours and balanced alcohol levels – this wine is 13.5%. They are well worth seeking out. At €17.35 this is something of a bargain, and should appeal to fans of the Northern Rhône. Available from Winesoftheworld.ie.
Agustí Torelló Mata Cava Reserva 2011
Light brioche with toasted almonds, delicate fruit, a subtle creamy texture and a dry finish. Delicious wine; not trying to be Champagne, but every bit as good at the price.
The perfect light aperitif, or with lighter tapas.
This is one of the leading family-owned Cava estates. Based in the Penedès, they remain loyal to the three traditional Cava varieties, Macabeu, Xarello and Parellada. This Cava is a blend of all three, aged for a minimum of two years before release. This is one of the finest Cavas I have tasted in years, and well worth seeking out.
Available for €29 from Mitchellandson.com (online only) and Sheridan’s Cheese shops, Dublin, Meath and Galway.
La Bicicleta Voladora Rioja 2015 (organic)
Marvelous medium-bodied wine with delectable pure late summer fruits, underpinned by a subtle mineral streak. Made in a style that is right up my street.
A good all-rounder with an affinity for red meats, grilled lamb chops or a roast leg perhaps?
This wine is made by Germán Blanco of Quinta Milú, one of my favourite winemakers in Ribera del Duero. There, and now in Rioja, he makes delicious wines that sing with pure fruits. This is fermented in cement tanks and is completely unoaked. It is mainly Tempranillo, but includes a small percentage of Viura, a white grape. €16.50. available exclusively from 64 Wine, Glasthule.
Beaujolais Villages Blanc 2015 Domaine des Nugues
Delicious gently fruity unoaked wine with a lovely texture, a fine minerality and an excellent finish.
The perfect aperitif, or with salmon in a herby butter sauce.
White Beaujolais, once a rarity, is becoming easier to find in this country. The best examples combine a lovely freshness, a minerality and delicate pure Chardonnay fruits. I have recommended the Jean Paul Brun Terres Dorées before. It is available from Wines Direct. Domaine des Nugues makes some excellent, classic (in a good sense) red Beaujolais, elegant and balanced; his white is every bit as good.
€17.30 from Martins, Fairview; 64 Wine, Glasthule.
Monteraponi Baron’ Ugo 2014, Chianti Classico, Organic
Delightful fresh light Chianti with smooth dark cherry fruits, good minerality and a soft easy finish. Not a wine that will age, you would imagine, but drinking beautifully now.
We drank it with grilled lamb steaks with spinach and hummus.
I am told that the single vineyard Baron Ugo is usually bottled as a Riserva and retails for around €70. 2014 was not a great vintage, so Monteraponi downgraded it to a Chianti Classico and halved the price. A great label too, but apologies for my poor photography.
€34.50 from Sheridan’s Cheesemongers.
Via Arxentea 2015, Monterrei, Spain
Refreshing crisp dry wine with plump melon and pristine green apple fruits. A perfect balance of crisp and soft that bites and comforts at the same time.
A great aperitif, with shellfish, or white fish – hake or cod. I had mine with hake, served with spinach and mussels in a buttery sauce.
Monterrei is a very small D.O. in Galicia in North-west Spain. Its neighbours, Rías Baixas and then Valdeorras, have grown in populrity for their excellent white wines. I suspect Monterrei will be next. In the warmest and driest part of Galicia, Monterrei produces both red and white wines, the red from Mencía. The white wines, generally a blend of Godello and Treixadura (Dona Blanca is also permitted), combine the richness of the former and the crisp acidity of the latter in a very attractive way. This is a 50/50 blend of Treixadura and Godello.
Stockists; Sweeneys, Glasnevin; The Coach House, Ballinteer; 64wine, Glasthule; Liston’s, Camden Street; Baggot Street Wines.
Bourgogne Passe-Tout-Grains 2013, Robert Groffier
Succulent rich, lush dark cherry fruits, balanced perfectly by just enough acidity. Soft and rounded, drinking beautifully now.
With grilled duck breast and mushroom risotto.
I made this a wine of the week in the Irish Times but possibly didn’t realise then just how good it was. I tasted it early one morning, rushing to get copy finished. It was very nice, and well-priced. I Coravined it and tried it again the following evening when it opened up beautifully. Although a Passe-Tout-Grains, and therefore a Pinot Noir/Gamay blend, this apparently was made from 90% Pinot Noir in 2013. It is a dead-ringer for a high-quality Bourgogne Rouge, and excellent value.
Stockists: Greenacres, Wexford, www.greenacres.ie