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.
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.
DOMAINE DES DEUX CLÉS, CORBIÈRES
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.
DOMAINE FABIEN TROSSET, SAVOIE
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 Siyps.com; 64Wine, Glasthule; SC grocer, Deansgrange; Greenman Wimes, D6W; Ely Store, Maynooth.