Joha 2010, Primitivo, A.V. Guttarolo, Puglia
€25.50 from Sheridan’s Cheesemongers.
Rich powerful and concentrated with a lovely earthiness. Plenty of full-throttle dark fruits, all held in balance. The alcohol is completely absorbed, and the wine just improves on opening. Great wine.
Partner with robust red meats and firm cheeses. One to open for a posh barbeque.
Having made his other Primitivo a Top Drop last week, this week I finished off a Coravined bottle of this, the amphora wine from Guttarolo (or at least a percentage is made in amphorae). Having preferred the Lamie dell Vigne first time around, I found this different but every bit as good.
Ovilos 2012 Ktima Biblia Chora, Pangeon, Greece
€25.99 from Wines on the Green, Dawson Street; Baggot Street Wines; Jus de Vine Portmarnock.
Textured and rich with creamy peaches and apricots and all the requisite balancing acidity. A delicious harmonious wine full of character.
Big enough to handle white and richer fish dishes. We had ours with barbequed chicken.
Please don’t let the price put you off; this is a fantastic wine and worth every cent. I see I made it a wine of the week twice, once in the Irish Times, and once on this site a year go. It has only got better with time. A blend of 50% Semillon and 50% Assyrtiko, the latter a highly rated indigenous Greek grape variety.
Fattori Sauvignon Vecchie Scuole 2015, Sauvignon delle Venezie IGT, Terrini Vulcanici
€19.95 from Grapevine, Dalkey.
Delicious vibrant complex dry Sauvignon Blanc, with light aromas, citrus fruit, gooseberries and a strong mineral backbone. More Loire than Marlborough.
A great aperitif, herby seafood dishes or light risottos.
I met Antonio Fattori at the Knockranny Wine Weekend in Westport earlier this year. I was tempted to pass him by, as he was offering Pinot Grigio and Soave, not wines that usually set the pulse racing. However, he proved a fascinating man, and had a number of really interesting ‘extra’ wines that he had brought along. This included two excellent single vineyard Soaves, and this wonderful Sauvignon Blanc. Antonio told me that he visited Marlborough in 1991, and was fascinated by the wines. On his return to Italy, he planted some Sauvignon; it tastes nothing like a Marlborough Sauvignon, but I think I would prefer it to most.
Primitivo Lamie dell Vigne 2012, Masseria Guttarolo, Puglia
€24 from Sheridan’s Cheesemongers, Green Man Wines, Terenure, and Mitchell & Son, chq, Sandycove & Avoca, Kilmacanogue.
A superb wine, powerful and concentrated with morello cherries and plums, a lovely freshness combined with a slight herby funkiness and a long finish with a nice tannic bite.
Try it with substantial dishes; I drank mine with spiced, grilled lamb kebabs.
I have to admit I deliberately ignored this wine for a week or two. I had tasted far too many pumped-up, over alcoholic and over oaked wines from Puglia in my time. When I finally coravined it to try, I quickly uncorked the bottle and drank it. This is an absolutely gorgeous wine, powerful certainly, but complex and balanced with brooding perfectly ripe, but never over-ripe dark fruits, and a solid welcoming earthiness. Apparently Cristiano Guttarolo is a natural winemaker, growing organic grapes, and using little or no sulphur. I also tried his amphora wine called Joha, which I really enjoyed, but for me, this was the real star.
l’Acino Toccomagliocco 2009, IGT Calabria
€26 from Sheridan’s Cheesemongers; Mitchell & Sons; Green Man Wines, Terenure; Blackrock Cellar.
Light and refreshing with earthy cherry fruits and some dry tannins on the finish. Intriguing stuff. I tried it with grilled pork chops that I hade brined with fennel seeds and garlic; it worked very well.
This wine is made from a completely unknown grape variety grown in one of the more obscure regions of Italy. The grape is Magliocco (no, me neither) and the region Calabria, the toe of Italy, sticking out towards Sicily. Most wine here does not make it to DOC status and is simply blended with lighter wines produced in the north of Italy. However, every now and again, you come across a really interesting wine, usually made from a local grape variety. L’Acino was set up by three friends, one a lawyer, one a film director, the third an historian. They bought some old vineyards, planted a few more, all with ancient local grape varieties. The results are very promising.
Tenuta delle Terre Nere 2015 Etna Bianco, Sicily
€25 from On the Grapevine, Dalkey; 64 Wine, Glasthule; Corkscrew, Chatham St.; Green Man Wines, Terenure; Baggot Street Wines.
Soft ripe pear aromas; beautifully balanced wine with clean minerals and pear and a subtle pear skin texture, with a hint of toasted hazelnuts, finishing very dry and long – an excellent evolving wine with fresh elegant precise flavours.
Lightly flavoured seafood dishes (prawns with pasta?) would allow this to show off nicely.
The wines produced on the slopes of Mount Etna have been the talk of the wine world for the last decade. A few determined wine geeks, followed by an ever-increasing horde of producers, have established, or re-established ancient vineyards, largely using indigenous grape varieties. The results have been spectacular; I intend writing an article for the Irish Times over the next few weeks, but in the meantime, I feature one delicious white wine, made from a blend of Carrica, Catarratto, Grecanico and Minella.
Umberta, Cantina Viticoltori del Monferrato
€20 from Sheridan’s Cheesemongers.
Delicious refreshing sour damson fruits, with a lovely lively acidity and a strong mineral streak. Perfect served coolish with fatty pork dishes, or a medium-strength firm cheese.
The back label simply says Vino Rosso. There is no vintage either. This small cantina, founded in 1998 by a small group of like-minded growers and winemakers led by Fabrizio Iuli, is dedicated to making high-quality Barbera in the Monferrato commune in Piemonte. They decided to leave the DOC, arguing they the authorities simply support large producers of average quality wine. These wines are excellent.
Langhe Arneis 2014, Cantina Ascheri, Piemonte
€19.49from Marks & Spencer
A classic of the style, with quince and yellow fruits, plenty firm mineral acidity, and a dry finish. Drink with charcuterie or rich seafood dishes.
Arneis is a local Piemontese grape variety, and the name of the wine. The sandy soils of Roero are said to produce the best wines. This wine is from the wider Langhe area. I am very fond of Arneis; it has a cool, mineral quality and makes a pleasant change from many of the better-known grape varieties.
Fossil 2013, Vale da Capucha, Vinho Regional Lisboa, Portugal
€16.95 from Green Man Wines, Terenure; Jus de Vin, Portmarnock; Morton’s Ranelagh; Drink Store, D7; The Corkscrew, Chatham Street.
Delicious cool minty herbal aromas, and lovely rich peach fruits, opening out beautifully on the long dry mineral finish. There is a sightly salty touch to it. Lovely wine.
Drink with all manner of fish. I can see myself drinking this alongside a bowl of mussels, clams and other shellfish with a handful of herbs thrown in at the last minute.
I have written about Pedro Marques of Vale da Capucha before; he is one of the rising young stars of Portuguese winemaking. His wines, both red and white are captivating, and certainly worth seeking out. For the moment they are very reasonably priced.
Morgon ‘Les Charmes’ 2014, Bret Brothers
€35 from Wines Direct, Mullingar & Arnott’s, Dublin.
Superb wine; fragrant, forward aromas of strawberries with an earthiness; light on the palate with intense
I would drink this with a plate of really good charcuterie. Salami and Beaujolais make a great match. But a pâté en croute sounds perfect.
I had a memorable visit to the Bret Brothers a few years back. They make a range of excellent age worthy white wines from their vineyards in the Mâconnais. This is new to me however; a red wine from the Beaujolais region. As with many of their wines, it is made from biodynamically grown grapes. Morgon is one of the top ‘crus’ of the Beaujolais, producing wines that can taste very like Pinot Noir when aged; and it is worth ageing the wines of Morgon and Moulin-a-Vent. This wine is expensive, but well worth it.