Marc Kreydenweiss Pinot Blanc, Alsace
€17.95 from O’Briens
Lively and fresh, a perfectly formed combination of pure apple and pear fruits with a lovely lingering finish.
We drank it as an aperitif (with tortilla chips, possibly not the best match), but also with some very fresh plain boiled prawns – delicious.
Every now and again you come across a wine that everybody likes; both the wine geeks and those who just want to drink a nice glass of wine, and everyone else in between. This is one such wine. Having tasted it myself, I tested it out on a gang of half a dozen or more friends before a casual dinner recently. Without being asked, they all raved about it. Why? It is light but full of flavour and it has a perfect balance of fruit and acidity. It is not cheap, but if you are looking for a failsafe aperitif, this is certainly an option.
Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir 2014, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
€28 from Marks & Spencer
This is a seriously good Pinot Noir. Light and juicy with piquant dark cherries and plums, very good concentration and nice length. Refreshing, but it has some depth too.
I drank it with roast duck (also from M&S) with my own version of petits pois à la française. Delicious.
I told the story earlier this week about how I first heard of this wine through my former scout leader. I have heard a lot about (aboot?) Pinot Noir from British Columbia, but very rarely had the chance to try it. In style this wine has a certain similarity to Central Otago, but is a little lighter. Pricewise, it stacks up well against the competition from New Zealand, Burgundy, Germany and elsewhere in the New World too.
Primo de Conti Rouge 2014, Bergerac
€16 from Marks & Spencer
Lovely elegant just-ripe blackcurrant fruits with cigar box and cedar wood, finishing with some well-judged tannins. So much better than most Bordeaux at this price.
Perfect with a dinner party roast of lamb, beef, or pork.
Luc de Conti and his family have been producing excellent wines, both red and white for many years, under the Tour des Gendres label. Based in Bergerac, right beside Bordeaux, they use similar grape varieties, grown biodynamically. Their wines over-deliver every time. This is a cuvée produced for Marks & Spencer.
Domaine Houchard Rosé 2015, Côtes de Provence
€16.95 from Gibney’s, Malahide; The Wine House, Trim; Drinkstore, Stoneybatter; Nectar Wines, Sandyford; Grapevine, Dalkey; Karwig Wines, Carrigaline.
Not much on the nose, but lovely pure strawberry fruits on the palate. Medium-bodied and textured, you could drink this on its own, but we found it even better with food.
Rosé is a great food wine and this one is no exception. Drink with summery Provencal salads, including tomatoes, tapenade and anchoïade and all sorts of summer vegetables. Herb-scented fish dishes would do very nicely too.
Houchard is owned by the Quiot family, proprietors of a number of estates further north in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and the Ventoux. Made from a blend of four grapes (Grenache, Cinsault, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah), this wine is richer, with more fruit than most Provence rosés. We enjoyed it immensely in sunny West Cork.
Domaine des Ardoisières Argile 2015, Vin des Allobroges St. Pierre de Soucy
€30 from Blackrock Cellar; 64wine, Glasthule and Jus de Vine, Portmarnock.
Light (12%) pristine subtle green fruits, with a wonderful crisp mineral acidity running through. Delicate and complex, almost like eating snow. Delicious.
Light seafood dishes or simply on its own. It will develop nicely in the glass.
Made from a blend of 40% Jacquère, 30% Mondeuse Blanche (both varieties local to the Savoie) and 30% Chardonnay. Ardoisières is a recently-founded biodynamic estate with two single vineyards planted with local red and white varieties.
Domaine René Favre & Fils, Humagne Rouge 2014, Valais, Switzerland
€32.50 from Searsons Wine Merchants in Monkstown
Lifted fragrant aromas; peppery with cool redcurrant and cherry fruits, good acidity and a lovely long linear dry finish. Lovely wine, not unlike a (very good) Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley.
I would probably decant this, or keep it a year or two, and try it with white meats, pork in particular.
Humagne is an obscure variety grown in the Valais region of Switzerland and the Val d’Aosta in northern Italy. Brothers Mike and John Favre are responsible for this and few other intriguing wines, both red and white, that I tasted. All should arrive into Searsons in the very near future.
Trimbach Riesling Réserve 2010, Alsace
€23 from Donnybrook Fair and Jus de Vine, Portmarnock.
This is a glorious maturing Riesling with complex honeyed toasted fruits and a steely backbone that brings a pleasing austerity. It is completely dry, light in alcohol (13%) and offers great value for money.
This would go perfectly with chicken, pork or shellfish.
I have indulged my love of Alsace Riesling to the full over the last few weeks. First on a trip to Strasbourg with Lidl (they bring us to France every year to taste their new French selection), and then several tastings of the wines available here. I even succeeded in drinking a glass of Clos Sainte Hune, one of France’s greatest white wines while over there. This Riesling Réserve was new to me, and really stood out in my tasting. It is well worth the premium (€4) over the standard Trimbach Riesling. Having said that, Donnybrook Fair have the latter for a very competitive €15.99. Both a great wines.
Guardoilvento Etna Rosso DOC 2014, Sicily
€26 from Sheridans Cheesemongers and Mitchell & Son, chq, Sandycove and Avoca, Kilmacanogue.
A wonderful wine full of the warm herby earthy aromas of the sunny Mediterranean combined with some elegant fresh dark fruits. Very delicious.
Drink with red meats. I enjoyed mine with some spicy Moroccan barbequed lamb.
I am writing an article on the wines of Etna for the Irish Times, and this formed part of a great tasting – it is only one of a number of brilliant wines. It is made from 100% Nerello Mascalase a local grape that has been all the rage for a few years now.
Domaine Olivier Santenay Blanc ‘Clos des Champs’ 2013
€33.95 from O’Briens
White flower aromas; clean and fresh with a nice racy minerality, elegant pears and subtle toasted nuts.
I would drink this with black sole, brill or plaice served simply, possibly with lemon and butter.
Santenay is not the best-known region of Burgundy, and even then you are more likely to come across red wines rather than white. So today’s wine is a bit of an oddity. Santenay lies to the very far south of the Côte d’Or. The wines are sometimes dismissed as being a little too earthy, but I have always enjoyed them. Given the way Burgundy prices are going (upwards!) we may see more Santenay being offered on the future.
Domaine Regnaudot Maranges 1er cru ‘Fussières’ 2013
€24.40 from Le Caveau; Baggot St. Wines; MacGuinness, Dundalk; Green Man Wines, Terenure; World Wide Wines Waterford; Redmond’s, Ranelagh.
Elegant and nicely concentrated with delicious cool dark cherry fruits. It does have some light tannins, and so will probably keep for a year or two, but drinking beautifully now.
Ideal with white meats, chicken and charcuterie.
Maranges is the most southerly name of the Côte d’Or, right beside Santenay (see above). Jean-Claude Regnaudot produces great value wines from this appellation; his Bourgogne Rouge, which sells for around €18, is always worth buying, and this wine, from old vines in his best single vineyard, is a steal at less than €25.