Valtuille 2020, Vino de Villa, César Márquez, Bierzo

Valtuille 2020, Vino de Villa, César Márquez, Bierzo

I am a big fan of Mencía and this is a great example; a lovely, elegant wine with real style – and at a great price too.

€20.86 from

Aromatic, with wonderful pure refreshing juicy dark fruits; a welcome little bit of grip from the whole-bunch fermentation, and good acidity. It all comes together nicely in a dangerously drinkable, free-flowing wine that will brighten up your dinner. Drink it cool, not chilled and decant if possible.

The grapes come from two plots of vines in the villages of Valtuille. It is made from 85% Mencía, 15% Alicante Bouschet and other local varieties. 100% whole-bunch pressed and then aged in oak casks for a year.

César Márquez is a nephew of Raúl Pérez, one of the leading winemakers in North-West Spain. Márquez was introduced to winemaking by Pérez, and having worked in the family wineries and elsewhere, has now started a project of his own. The results are impressive to say the least. As well as this wine, has the lighter and fruitier Parajes de Bierzo for a bargain €16.92.

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Wine on Wednesday

Wine on Wednesday

This week three great wines I have enjoyed recently, but don’t have a slot for in The Irish Times before Christmas.

Calibre 12, 2020 IGP Aveyron, Caveau du Mas

€19.50 From Terroirs, Donnybrook

A supple, vibrant medium-bodied red wine with juicy fresh dark fruits, a savoury peppery note and a rounded finish. A bargain for less than €20. Abv 13% Biodynamic

Made from a blend of Syrah, Gamay and the local Fer Servadou, this comes from the Aveyron, a wild sparsely populated region in South-West France.

Rubio 2020, San Polo, IGT Toscana

Concentrated pure dark cherries and blackcurrants; some well-integrated firm tannins that call out for food. This opened out nicely over an evening and went very well with our venison steaks.

€23-25.95 from Whelehan’s, Loughlinstown; Blackrock Cellar; Higgins, D14; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock; Redmonds, D6; Pinto Wines, D9;

From one of the top estates of Montalcino, a very attractive unoaked Sangiovese that offers a touch of Brunello at an affordable price. Abv 13.5% Organic.

Beaujolais Lantignié Pierre Bleue 2021 Frédéric Berne

€24.95 from Worldwide Wines, Waterford;

Classic, delicious Beaujolais with lively crunchy dark cherry and blackberry fruits and a nice easy finish. A true vin de soif. Perfect solo or with cold meats, cheeses etc. Abv 12.5%

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Spottswoode Lyndenhurst Cabernet Sauvignon 2020
A very elegant style of Napa Cabernet with cool well-balanced black cherry and blackcurrant fruits, some spicy new oak, and lingering dry tannins on the finish. Very drinkable now but will keep up to five years.

€95 – 115 a bottle from Clontarf Wines, Clontarf; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock; Whelehan’s Wines, Loughlinstown.

Spottswoode Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2020
This has more structure than the Lyndenhurst and greater concentration too. Restrained blackcurrants and dark fruits, some toast, but more a spiciness, and a firmly dry tannic finish. Classic Napa Cabernet to lay down for five years – or more.

Tiny quantities available. Try the importer for details.

I have always had a great love for classic Napa Valley Cabernet. Today many of the wines are supercharged, overripe, sweet and over alcoholic. Not at Spottswoode, one of the great traditional Cabernet producers. I would rate them alongside those of Cathy Corison – her wines are no longer imported I think, although you may find the odd bottle in Neighbourhood Wine and other independents. Spottswoode make only three wines; a (very good, atypical) Sauvignon Blanc, the Lyndenhurst Cabernet, made from a mix of younger vines and bought-in grapes, and the Estate wine. The Cabernets are both Bordeaux blends, made in a traditional style. This means earlier picking (useful in 2020 when they had harvested prior to the fires that swept through Napa), producing wines that are lower in alcohol with good structure and ageing potential.

The Novak family moved to Napa form San Diego in the early 1970’s. “My father wanted to live in a rural environment. He was also tired of being a G.P. and wanted to do something else”, Beth Novak, Spottswoode CEO told me. He looked for somewhere large enough to raise his five children and allow his wife to enjoy her passion for gardening. They sold their grapes to other wineries for the first ten years but began bottling their own wine in 1982. Spottswoode was one of the first estates in Napa to go organic (in 1985) and are now biodynamic, solar-powered, B Corp certified, and a member of International Wineries for Climate Action.

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Smaug The Magnificent 2021, Blank Bottle

Smaug The Magnificent 2021, Blank Bottle

A blend of Roussanne (35%), Verdelho (25%), Grenache Blanc (17%) and Grenache Gris (13%) this is a very seductive wine with orange peel, restrained tropical fruits, herbs and grilled nuts. A sort of Southern Rhôneish blend that really works very well.

€40-42 from Redmond’s, Ranelagh; Drinkstore, D7; Franks, D2.

Pieter Walser of Blank Bottle makes as many as fifty wines a year, most of them once-off. Each is made in small quantities from a huge variety of grape varieties sourced from all over the vineyards of South Africa. It sounds like a recipe for chaos, but it works. Obviously a talented winemaker himself, Walser has a small team of viticulturists and winemakers who work and advise growers who own plots that interest him. He refuses to put grape varieties on the label, and most of the wines are blends of two or more grapes. Every wine has a story, and a standout label too.

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Ten Great Buys from Mitchell & Son

Ten great buys from the Mitchell & Son autumn wine tasting yesterday – white, red, sweet and sparkling. Prices are retail.

Pet Nat Rosé. Fresh, light, clean strawberry and redcurrant fruits. €16.95
Seriously good Crémant de Limoux. Fresh orchard fruits, lightly creamy with plenty of cleansing acidity. €27.95

Stylish elegant green apple and pear fruits, with a subtle creaminess. Very moreish. €38.95
One of three tasty wines from Geyerhof. Fresh and racy with vibrant pear and apple fruits, a spicy touch, and a crisp dry finish. Delicious. €20.95
Meyerhof Hofstudien Grüner Veltliner 2022. Biodynamic. Fresh and lively with a lovely weight of green fruits and ginger centre-palate. Elegant and dry. €25.95
White flower aromas, concentrated peach fruits with a firm mineral backbone. €25.95
A delightful delicate Zweigelt with rose petal aromas, and elegant, juicy strawberry and redcurrant fruits. Biodynamic. Very good value at €20.95.
Spicy plums and dark cherries with nicely integrated tannins adding structure. Well-made wine and good value at €16.95. Organic.
Classic Côtes de Nuits with crunchy dark cherry and blackberry fruits, good acidity and light tannins. €35.95
From a lesser-known appellation, this offers seriously good value. Barley sugar, honey, beeswax and pineapples. Sweet but with very good balancing acidity. A steal at €18.95

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SPIT 2023

SPIT 2023

Spit is one of my favourite tastings of the year. Sadly there is no longer an evening session open to the public, but all of the wines featured below are available through independent retailers and online shops. For Spit, four of our best importers come together for a few hours, each offering around twenty of their wines – making a manageable number of wines to taste. I tasted ten wines from each, plus a few more that I couldn’t resist. Below, four of my favourites amongst many.

Thomas Carson of Terre de l’Elu, Anjou

I have always been a fan of Loire Cab Franc and was delighted to come across Thomas Carson of Terre de l’Elu in Anjou who clearly shares my enthusiasm. While his Chenin was excellent and he had possibly the best Pineau d’Aunis I have ever tasted, it was the l’Aiglerie Cabernet Franc that was the star for me.

L’Aiglerie 2019, Anjou, Terre de ‘Elu
Smooth refined red summer fruits with herbs and a touch of lead pencil. It has a long savoury finish and a lovely lightness and elegance throughout.

€38-40 from Lilith, D7; Greenman Wines, D6W; Blackrock Cellar; Baggot Street; Higgins, D14; Mitchell & Son, Sandycove and IFSC; Sweeeney’s D3; Franks, Lower Camden St.; 64Wine, Glasthule.


The team in Vinostito have been singing the praises of Domaine des Deux Clés for some time but I never really got the wines until now. Florian Richter had five of his wines on show, each one exceptional. I have chosen the Roussanne, the most expensive wine, but I would be happy to drink any of them.

Deux Clés Jeux des Clés Blanc 2022, IGP
Made from thirty year old vines, from a vineyard at three hundred metres, fermented with indigenous yeasts, aged in Burgundy barriques, this is very refined and beautiful wine. A pure Roussanne that balances richness and texture with a fine acidity, and lovely length. The allocation for Ireland this year is 60 bottles.

€31 from Green Man Wines, D6W, 64Wine, Glasthule.


A long-time favourite producer of mine, this domaine produces authentic, pure wines with a wonderful soft elegance and seductive charming warmth. Although almost all are labelled mere Côtes du Rhône, they are as good as any in the southern Rhône. It is possible that they might improve with age but they are all instantly drinkable now and never last long in my house. Mère et fils Gramenon have been to the forefront of the low intervention, biodynamic movement in the Rhône Valley.

The La Sagesse is very Grenache with delicious complex sweet strawberry fruits that are never overly ripe or heavy, with a touch of spice. Rich and silky with excellent concentration and length.

€39 from Sheridan’s Cheesemongers and MacCurtain Wine Cellar, Cork.


Chloé Trosset

Fabian Trosset and his wife Chloé run this small domaine in Savoie, in the foothills of the French Alps. As you might expect, vineyard exposure is important in the cool climate. The wines have a wonderful vibrancy freshness and delicacy. Trosset is best-known for championing the red Mondeuse grape, but it was two white wines that impressed me most at the tasting. While his more expensive Petite Arvine is exceptional, so too is the Les Cerisiers below.

Chignin Bergeron Les Cerisiers 2022
Gold in colour, this Roussanne explodes with vibrant rich pineapple, peach and apricot fruits underpinned by cleansing fresh acidity. Succulent and fleshy with good intensity of flavour. This is great wine.

€27 from; 64Wine, Glasthule; SC grocer, Deansgrange; Greenman Wimes, D6W; Ely Store, Maynooth.

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The White Wines of Etna

The White Wines of Etna

Landing at the airport of Catania you are immediately aware that you are in the shadow of Europe’s most active volcano. A thick layer of dark grey dust still carpets the car park, evidence of a recent eruption that closed the airport for a few days. In the background a whisp of white smoke emanates from the top of the massive Mount Etna. The inhabitants in bustling Catania seem unperturbed.

Etna is 3,500 metres high, towering over the surrounding area. Vines have been grown here for centuries, mostly by families to make wine for their own use. Until recently the wines of Etna were unknown outside the area, although Marco de Graze of Tenuta delle Terre Nere argues that the wines were highly prized in the 1920’s. Things have certainly changed now. Over the last two decades these have become some the most sought-after vineyards in the whole of Italy.

The constant eruptions over millennia have created a unique patchwork of sites for growing vines. There is sandy volcanic ash, pebbles, rocks and solid lava. Add in some hot Mediterranean sun, a huge range of altitudes (including some of Europe’s highest vineyards) and you have an exciting, if complex range of terroirs to grow grapes. The sandy soils and relative isolation of Etna mean that there are plenty of century old pre phylloxera ungrafted vines.

Vineyards are terraced to avoid erosion and most vines are grown a l’alberello a bush vine grown up a single wooden stake to keep it upright in the constant winds. The vineyards form a crescent from north, down the eastern slopes to the south. In general the south is warmer and the wines a little riper, while the north and eastern slopes are cooler. However, elevation also plays a huge part, and a high-altitude southern vineyard can produce very crisp elegant wines.

The initial excitement surrounding Etna was all about the red wines, particularly those made using the local Nerello Mascalese grape. Some of the red wines are certainly impressive, but for the last few years, it is the white wines that have been receiving increased attention.

While there are some plantings of Catarratto, as well as Trebbiano and the local Minella, it is the indigenous Carricante that is proving the real star, a wine with the potential to vie with Italy’s greatest white wines. The wines typically have good floral aromas, a racy acidity, elegant stone fruits and a marked saline finish. While most are attractive in their youth, they age beautifully for five years or more, showing extra depth and complexity.

In this blog I feature four white wines, all available here in Ireland.

Alta Mora Etna Bianco 2020, Cusumano

Maturing nicely, taking on a little richness, with good intensity of fruit, lots of lemon peel and a lightly saline finish. Nice wine. 100% Carricante. 12.5% abv

€24.95 from O’Briens

Pietrodolce Etna Bianco 2021 12.5% €29.95

Michele Faro of Pietradolci

Medium-bodied with bright pear and nectarine fruits shot through with lemon zest. This shows some maturity, with a richness of fruit and touch of honey. 12.5% abv

€29.95 from Green Man Wines, D6W; Corkscrew, D2; Barnhill Stores, Dalkey; Neighbourhood Wine;;

Tenuta di Terre Nere, Bianco 2022

Made from a blend of 70% Carricante, 20% Catarratto, 5% Grecanico, 5% Inzolia, all old vines. Fermented and aged in stainless steel with a gentle pressing. Bright and nervy with lime and fresh peaches, and a nervy mineral backbone. This has a real elegance and good persistence. The single vineyard Santa Spirito 2022 (Corkscrew, Harry Street, €52) is a step further upwards in quality. 12.5% abv

€30-32 from Jus de Vine, Portmarnock; The Corkscrew, D2; MacCurtain Wine Cellar, Cork; Deveney’s, Dundrum; Mitchell & Son, D1 and Sandycove; Green Man Wines, D6W.

Benanti Etna Bianco 2020

Made from 100% Carricante, this is showing some nice maturity with toasted almonds, lemon zest, apple and pear fruits. Lively and light (12% abv), there is a subtle salinity on the lengthy finish. 12% abv

€32-34 from Honest2Goodness, Glasnevin; Baggot Street Wines; Clontarf Wines.

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Burn Cottage Moonlight Race Pinot Noir 2020, Central Otago

Burn Cottage Moonlight Race Pinot Noir 2020, Central Otago

123%abv, €57.99 from Red Nose Wines; Skerries; Corkscrew, D2; Blackrock Cellar; Ely Wine Store, Maynooth;; and other independents.

This is a very seductive elegant fresh Pinot with crunchy spicy dark cherry and blackcurrant fruits. It has good acidity and very fine tannins. You could keep it for a few years, but the mouth-watering pure fruits are irresistible right now. This was one of my highlights at the Liberty tasting earlier this week.

Central Otago is one of the world’s most southerly vineyards. It is the coldest and the driest region of New Zealand with very hot summers and bitterly cold winters. While Central, as it is known locally, produces very good Riesling and Chardonnay, it made its name with Pinot Noir. The best Pinots have intense pure fruit and a silky elegance, and age very well too.

Burn Cottage is one of the most respected estates in Central Otago. Founded in 2002 by the Sauvage family, the 24 hectares of vines have been organic/biodynamic from the start. The winemaker is Ted Lemon, famous for producing excellent Pinots at Lottorai in Calfiornia.

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Generation Riesling

The Roter Hang vineyard.

Earlier this year I was taken on a brief trip to Germany by Generation Riesling where we visited a number of member wineries. It was a great visit, and I tasted plenty of very high-quality wines.

Generation Riesling was set up in 2006 as a means of making German wine more accessible to younger consumers. The 540 wine producers are all under thirty-six years old – apparently you receive a thirty-sixth birthday card bidding you farewell – and part of a new generation making fresh, modern, dry wines, marketing themselves using innovative methods, including lots of social media.

People who know me will be aware that I have always been a big fan of German wines, Riesling and Spätburgunder in particular. The trip certainly reinforced that and reminded of how good German Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) and Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris) can be too. Several smaller importers import some of the finest German wines into Ireland, while the multiples also offer some very good less expensive wines. Obviously German wines sell.

None of the wineries are available in Ireland, although I understand one will shortly arrive and others are in discussion with distributors. So, this article may, for the moment, be of greater interest to our wine importers. However, I do believe that German wines will soon become an important part of every wine importers portfolio.


My first visit was to Baron Knyphausen in the Rheingau. Founded by the monks in Kloster Eberbach back in 1141, the estate has some fine vineyards including Grosse Lagen in Eberbacher Macrobrun and Hohenrain. It is currently owned and run by Frederik Baron Knyphausen. The estate has been organic for some time and will gain certification next year. They have sixteen hectares of vineyards planted with 75% Riesling, 10% Pinot Noir, as well a small amount of Red Riesling, a mutation of Rhein Riesling.

There is a very good modern visitor centre, restaurant and shop with an Enomatic tasting machine. The estate also has a ten-bed hotel with several apartments and outdoor concerts are held throughout the summer.

I met and tasted with cellarmaster Arne Wilken. I started with a very good alcohol-free Riesling, a sparkling Riesling and several other wines. The highlight was an excellent rich and full-bodied Hattenheimer Nussbrunnen Riesling Grosses Gewachs 2020. This a very good estate.


Sophie Egert & Tatjana Russler

The next visit was a more relaxed affair, chatting and tasting with two female winemakers in the sunshine followed by a leisurely walk in the vineyards.

Sophie Egert runs Weingut Egert with brother Max and her parents. The nine-hectare estate is in Hattenheim, one of the famous wine villages of the Rheingau. The estate has an impressive portfolio, with holdings in 8 Große Lagen and three 3 Erste Lagen, including vineyards in Oestricher Lenchen and Hattenheimer Nussbrunnen. It is made up of 90% Riesling, 7% Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir), and 3% Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc). Tastings can be arranged, along with food, and there even a couple of guest rooms available to rent.

We started with “Viel Gebubble Riesling Sekt” a very stylish sparkling wine made by friends Sophie and Tatjana together, before moving on to two very good Rieslings, the best of which was the Nattenheimer Nussbrunnen 2020 GG. This is obviously a star estate making very high quality wines.

Tatjana Russler works in the family owned and run Friedel Russler estate. They farm 10 hectares planted with 7 different grape varieties, mainly Riesling. They are certified organic as of last month. Instead of a Riesling I tried an unusual but very good Chardonnay Grauburgunder blend, made Tatjana told me, ‘because I’m special!” The wine was pretty special too.

Incidentally Grauburgunder aka Pinot Gris is having something of a moment in Germany at present. While in the past some were quite sweet, most these days are fresh and dry, more North of Italy than Alsace.


Fritz Steitz Germany

Fritz Steitz is one of the rising stars of his generation. From a modest winery and house in the Rheinhessen, he fashions a range of wines, all good and some exceptional.

This is a family business, with 15 hectares of vines in the Rheinhessen and Nahe regions. Steitz did a degree in Business & Economics, and then a masters in Sports Management (when he worked for the Bundesliga) before studying winemaking in Geisenheim. He took over from his father. who he told me, had worked long and hard to build up the business. Much of the sales are still direct to the public. Steitz loved growing up here and loves working in the winery. He wants to offer the same opportunity to his daughter, now two years old.

Here I tasted a range of wines including a Grauburgunder, Sauvignon Blanc, Spätburgunder, St. Laurent, and two Kabinett style Riesling. However, the standouts for me were a delicious fresh crisp Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) Quarzit and two single vineyard dry Rieslings; the Paradis 2021 from the Nahe and the Mandelbaum 2020 from the Rheinhessen.

I also tried a sweet red, made from the Regent grape, a throwback to earlier times and still popular with some of their private customers.


Vineyard lunch chez Bretz

Viktoria Bretz is a lively, dynamic winemaker. She is the tenth generation of her family to make wine in Bretz. Prior to that the winery in the village of Bechtolsheim, was part of a monastery. The estate is relatively large, forty hectares and they buy in grapes too and produces a large range of wines.

“We are your winery next door”, Viktoria tells me, “with something for all the family. We are down to earth, our wines are well-made and well-priced.” I would have to agree. I tasted a very good sparkling wine, and a number of clean fresh well-made white wines that would work very well on the Irish market.


I had a dinner and tasting with Malenka Stenner of Weingut Stenner that evening. Very much a family affair. Malenka works with her father and brother Niklas. This is a go-ahead winery making very good wines, but also using some very innovative marketing ideas.

Stenner have developed a unique wine mosaic they use on their labels, explaining the flavours and style of each wine. Based near the city of Mainz, they produce a bewildering array of wines, covering all styles and price points. As well as wine, they make a range of spritzers, Norbert Nuss – a hazelnut flavoured liqueur, and Heidi Himbeer, a raspberry liqueur. They are also part of the Twin Wineries project that twins producers in Haifa and Mainz. They work with the Israeli Vortman winery distributing their wines in Germany.

While the Rieslings were good here, my favourites included the excellent 2021 Bodenheimer Mönchspfad Pinot Blanc and the spicy opulent Bodenheimer Grauburgunder 2021.


This is another star producer. Brother Johannes and sister Franziska Gröhl run a small estate from their winery in Weinolsheim with their parents. The family has been here since 1625. Franziska explains that her grandfather had eleven siblings, so the estate became very fragmented. Her parents inherited two hectares which they have now built up to 25. They have vineyards here and in Nierstein and Oppenheim, two better-known nearby sites. Their holdings include sought-after plots in Pettenhal, Hölle, Herrenberg and others. Johannes makes the wine (he was awarded Young Winemaker of the Year by Falstaff last year). They will be certified organic next year.

I tasted a range of excellent wines here, including the sparkling Cuvée Brut Nature, some classic Riesling Trockens and Kabinetts, and a Sauvignon Blanc. However, the highlights were three single vineyard wines, the Weissburgunder Hölle 2021, the Riesling Pettenthal 2021 and the Riesling Trocken Roter Hang 2021.

The Roter Hang, or ‘red hillside’, is a steep vineyard that runs back from the Rhine between Nierstein and Nackenheim, The exposure changes and the iron rich red soils vary as you move along. As a result, there are seven different single vineyards within the Roter Hang, all highly regarded and very much sought-after.

The Gröhl wines are now imported into Ireland by Carrington Wines.


Gina Gehring Germany

Gina Gehring is the fourth generation of Gehring involved in the wine business, but her father was the first to concentrate solely on wine. Previous generations were coopers providing barrels to wine producers. Her father moved out of the family premises in old Nierstein in 2001, and built an impressive winery, visitor centre, restaurant and caravan park out amongst the vines. He also bought vineyards, including parcels in Ölberg, Hipping and Pettenthal in the Roter Hang. The estate is 80% white and 60% Riesling. They also grow Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Frühburgunder. They hope to be certified organic in two years’ time.

I tasted a range of wines (with some very good food) and enjoyed all. Highlights included a very good sparkling wine, a Riesling Roter Hang 2022, and a Grauburgunder Bildstock 2020.

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A Greek Extravaganza

Left to Right: Luis Sole Garriz, Jennifer Thompson, Anne Rodgers.

Irish women Jennifer Thompson and Anne Rodgers spent many summers in Greece and fell in love with the culture, food and wines. They decided to form Oinos Wines, (oinos or oίνος in Greek, means wines) and import a range of Greek wines. They enlisted the help of Luis Sole Garriz, a Spanish sommelier who has worked in some of the top restaurants of Greece, and currently works in The Corkscrew wine and spirit shop in Dublin. Between them the trio have put together a very impressive range of wines, sparkling, white and red.

Three things have always held Greek wines back; firstly, they are rarely cheap. Most producers are small in scale and many of the wines are made in inaccessible parts of the country, often islands. Secondly Greece has its own amazing array of grape varieties unknown on the international market. Combine that with over thirty quality regions and more than a hundred PDIs, and you can see why many are confused.

However, many of the wines are compelling and certainly worth investigating. We see Greece as a hot sunny country so you might expect rich powerful ripe red wines. These certainly exist, but it is the white wines that have gained coverage on the international stage over the last 5-10 years. Wines made using Assyrtiko from the island of Santorini have gained a following, but there are plenty of other fascinating high-quality white wines too.

This was one of the best tastings I have attended this year, with an array of excellent wines. I urge you to try them out.

Sparkling Wine

Sparkling Rosé 2021, Domaine Karanika, Amyndaio, (organic)
A blend of 90% Xinomavro and 10% Assyrtiko.
Delicious fresh raspberry and wild strawberry fruits and a lively crisp dry finish. 16/20 €35.50

White Wines

Mantina 2020, Bosinakis Winery (organic)
Made from the Moschofilero grape, this has very floral, almost Muscat aromas and a nice full rich palate of red apples and peaches, cut through with good acidity. 15/20

€26.50 from 64wine, Glasthule.

Vatistas Laconia 2021
Delicious wine and great value for money. Precise floral aromas, rich textured peaches and excellent acidity. 16/20
€23.99 Redmond’s, Ranelagh; Whelehan’s, Loughlinstown; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock.

Gerovassiliou 2022, Epanomi, Thessaloniki
100% Malagouzia. Marvellous wine with masses of orange peel, rich, ripe textured stone fruits and a lovely mineral edge. 17/20
€37 from Redmond’s, Ranelagh; 64wine, Glasthule; Searson’s, Monkstown.

Magoutes Xinamavro White Vieilles Vignes 2021, Siatista Naoussa
100% Xinomavro. Unusual in that it is made from a red grape, this is an intriguing wine with subtle strawberry fruits, a grippy note and masses of pure mineral on the lip-smacking finish. 16.5/20
€27 from Redmond’s, Ranelagh; 64wine, Glasthule; Whelehan’s, Loughlinstown; Sweeneys, D3.

Dourakis Lihnos 2021, Chania, Crete, organic
100% Vidiano. 14% Subtle rich, textured waxy with honey, herbal and floral notes and a strong mineral backbone. Lovely, subtle use of oak. 17/20

€30 Blackrock Cellar, Blackrock.

Diamantakis Petali 2022, Crete, Chania
100% Assyrtiko, 13%. Cleansing lemon zest and crisp mineral acidity with pears and a bone dry, slightly austere finish. Very well priced. 16.5

€20 from Blackrock Cellar, Blackrock; 64wines, Glasthule.

Argyros Estate 2021 Santorini
100% Assyrtiko 14.5%

An amazing intense combination of fruit, chalky minerals with a taut, lengthy lip-smacking finish. Stunning wine. 17.5/20.

€51 from 64wine, Glasthule

Vassaltis 2022 Santorini
100% Assyrtiko 14%
Fresh, lively, pure and fascinating, like licking a stone. Clean, slightly salty, with green apples, 17/20.

€66 from 64wine, Glasthule.

Diamantopetra White 2022, Crete, Heraklion, Diamantakis
50% Vidiano, 50% Assyrtiko 13.5%
A fruitier style with peaches, a touch of grilled nuts, and a rounded finish. 14/20

€24.50 from Redmond’s, Ranelagh; Searson’s, Monkstown; Sweeney’s, D3.

Rosé Wines

Diamonatopetra Rosé 2022 Crete, Heraklion, Diamantakis
100% Liatiko 12.5%
A distinctive rosé, quite deep in colour with minerals, red cherries, and a good dry finish. Much more interest than a Provence rosé. 15/20

€22.70 from 64wine, Glasthule.

Red Wines

Petali Red 2019, Crete, Heraklion, Diamantakis
100% Liatiko. Apparently Liatiko, indigenous to Crete, is difficult to grow and to make into wine. This is a fascinating wine, but I’m not sure how commercial it is. Intense aromas of green tea, herbs and black cherries, followed up by a Nebbiolo-like palate with high acidity plenty of drying tannins, and chewy dark fruits. Calls out for food. 16/20

RIo Erito Red 2022, Crete, Chania, Pateromichelakis, organic
100% Romeiko, 13%
Another unusual but interesting wine. Soft, easy, leafy with sous-bois and black cherries with no real tannins. Not sure what to score it. 13.5 for quality, 16/20 for interest?

€25 from Blackrock Cellar, Blackrock.

Naoussa Red 2017, Foundi Estate
100% Xinamavro
You can see why Xinomavro is so often likened to Nebbiolo. This has similarities to a (pretty good) young Barolo. Paleish in colour and firmly tannic with quite delicious savoury damsons and dark fruits. I’d love to try it in a few years’ time. 16/20.

€32 from Blackrock Cellar, Blackrock.

Naoussa Red 2020, Dalamara, organic
100% Xinomavro.
My notes read ”Could be a young Barolo’. Taut and firm but the tannins are far from overwhelming. A huge concentration of high-quality dark fruits and very good length. 17/20

€38 from Blackrock Cellars, Blackrock; Sweeney’s, D3.

Old Vines Red 2019, Karanika, Amyndeon
100% Xinomavro 12.5%
More open in style, pale in colour with subtle developing dark fruits and a herbal note. 15/20.

€29.95 from Redmond’s, Ranelagh; Whelehan’s, Loughlinstown; Searson’s, Monkstown.

Magoutes Red 2020, Siatista, Naoussa
100% Xinomavro 13%
A very different style of Xinomavro; fragrant and floral with easy concentrated red fruits and a refined tannic structure. 17/20.

€28.95, Whelehan’s, Loughlinstown.

Moschomavro Red 2021, Siatista, Nouassa, Magoutes
100% Moschomavro, 13%
Succulent red summery fruits with a leafy touch and light tannins on the finish. Attractive and very enjoyable. 15.5/20.

€26.99 from Redmond’s, Ranelagh; 64wine, Glasthule; Sweeney’s, D3; Blackrock Cellar, Blackrock; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock.

Kilma Red 2021, Crete Chania, Karavitakes
A blend of Kotsifali and Mavrotrango 13%
Quite pale in colour, smoky, fruity with a touch of prunes. Very pleasant, interesting and well-priced wine. 15.5/20

€24.95 from Blackrock Cellar, Blackrock; Searson’s, Monkstown; Redmond’s, Ranelagh.

Mandalari Red 2018, Crete Heraklion, Gavalas, organic
100% Mandalari, 12.7%
Fresh and aromatic, with rosehips, sour cherries and grippy drying tannins. Not my favourite although others liked it. 14/20

€24.95 from Redmond’s, Ranelagh.

Diamanopetra Red 2019, Crete, Heraklion, Diamantakis
70% Syrah 30% Mandalori
Earthy, leafy nose; good savoury dried fruits and cranberries with an attractive spiciness. 15/20

€24.95 No Stockists at present.

Palaia Ktima Old Vines Red 2015, Pappaiaonou Estate, organic
100% Agiorgitiko 14.5%
Rich and powerful with warming red fruits, a light spiciness and smooth but present tannins on the finish. 16/20.

€36.95 from Redmond’s, Ranelagh; 64wine, Glasthule; Sweeney’s, D3; Blackrock Cellar, Blackrock; Searson’s, Monkstown.

Dessert Wines

Anthemis Samos 2016, UWC Samos
100% Muscat 15%
Seductive sweet wine; some primary fruits still but more honey, butterscotch and all sort of dried fruits. 17/20

€24.95 from 64wine, Glasthule; Searson’s, Monkstown.

Nectar Samos 2015, UWC Samos
100% Muscat 14%
Gorgeous grilled nuts, dried fruits, caramel and orange peel with good acidity. Delicious 17/20

€40 from Searson’s, Monkstown.

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