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
€36 from Jus de Vine, Portmarnock; 64 Wine, Glasthule; Redmonds, Ranelagh ; The Vintry, Rathgar ; Grape & Grain, Leopardstown; Clontarf Wines; Sweeney’s; Thomas, Foxrock ; Shiels, Malahide ; McHughs; Wine House, Trim.
A large certain section of the Irish population buy Chablis every Christmas simply because it is a safe recognisable name. Nothing wrong with this, although the cheap supermarket versions are not exactly thrilling and there are plenty of far more interesting alternatives. Unless you come across a really good Chablis such as this one. Fresh and floral on the nose, with a fine racy minerality and lightly honeyed peach fruits, finishing long and dry. Wonderful wine, and perfect to start the Christmas fesitivites. Drink alongside smoked salmon, prawns and other seafood, but ideally I would like a half-dozen oysters.
€31.95 from Searsons, Monkstown; No. One Pery Square, Limerick; 64 Wine, Glasthule; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock.
Stephane Ogier produces some of the finest Côte Rôtie and other wines in the Northern Rhône. This is one of his less expensive wines, made from vineyards outside of the more glamorous appellations. It is a beautifully elegant wine (12.5% alcohol) with savoury dark cherry fruits on nose and palate. Ready to drink now, this is an impeccably balanced wine. Try it with turkey if you wish, but it would also go nicely with goose or pork dishes.
€16.95 from Green Man Wines, Terenure; Baggot Street Wines; Gibney’s, Malahide.
A light herbal nose, textured on the palate with peaches and a strong saline mineral element.
Drink with all manner of seafood.
Located eight kilometres from the Atlantic coast, the Vale de Capucha vineyards are maritime and humid. Pedro Marques aims for wines that reflect both climate and the limestone soils. His white wines are fascinating; textured and broad, with complex fruits. They are a world away from the aromatic Sauvignon Blancs that are so prevalent. Warning: stocks are being eeked out as the producer has run out. Also available in Heron & Grey, Bastible, L’Ecrivan, Black Pig Wine Bar and other restaurants. If you can’t find it, seek out his other excellent white wine as featured in my blog of 11th March last.
€26 from Green Man Wines, Terenure; Sheridan’s Cheesemongers, Dublin, Galway and Meath; Mitchell & Son, chq, Sandycove and Avoca, Kilmacanogue; 64wine, Glasthule.
A wine with amazingly fragrant aromas (worth buying for the nose alone) wonderfully elegant savoury fresh dark fruits, and a powerful finish. It has a fine-grained tannic structure that would suggest keeping it a few years, but I would happily drink it now. Brilliant wine.
Grown on the slopes of the world’s most active volcano. 100% Nerello Mascalese. Author John Szabo, in his great new book ‘Volcanic Wines’ says that wines grown on volcanic soils share ‘a common mouthwatering quality and savoury character….a sort of weightless gravity, intense, heavy as a feather, firm but transparent, like an impenetrable force shield of flavour that comes out of nowhere but doesn’t impose itself’. Sounds a little pretentious, but try this wine and you’ll see what he means.