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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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Clos Lapeyre 2012 Vitatge Vielh, Jurançon Sec

Clos Lapeyre 2012 Vitatge Vielh, Jurançon Sec

vv-clos-lapeyreClos 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.

 

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Rafael López de Heredia, Viña Bosconia 2005 Rioja Reserva

Rafael López de Heredia, Viña Bosconia 2005 Rioja Reserva

reservabosconia

 

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.

 

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As Sortes 2014, Rafael Palacios, Valedorras

As Sortes 2014, Rafael Palacios, Valedorras

image-6As 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.

 

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Vidal Reserve Syrah 2013, Hawke’s Bay, Gimblett Gravels, New Zealand

Vidal Reserve Syrah 2013, Hawke’s Bay, Gimblett Gravels, New Zealand

vidal_res_syrahVidal 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.

 

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Agustí Torelló Mata Cava Reserva Brut 2011

Agustí Torelló Mata Cava Reserva Brut 2011

DSCF7172Agustí Torelló Mata Cava Reserva 2011

11.5%

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.

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La Bicicleta Voladora Rioja 2015

La Bicicleta Voladora Rioja 2015

DSCF7296La Bicicleta Voladora Rioja 2015 (organic)

13.5%

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.

 

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Beaujolais Villages Blanc 2015 Domaine des Nugues

Beaujolais Villages Blanc 2015 Domaine des Nugues

DSCF7190Beaujolais Villages Blanc 2015 Domaine des Nugues

13%

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.

 

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Monteraponi Baron’ Ugo 2014, Chianti Classico, Organic

Monteraponi Baron’ Ugo 2014, Chianti Classico, Organic

DSCF7168Monteraponi Baron’ Ugo 2014, Chianti Classico, Organic

12.5%

€34.50

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.

 

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