Posts Tagged Barbaresco

The best wine bargains from Lidl’s summer sale

Published in The Irish Times, Saturday 10th June, 2017

Lidl launches its Italian wine sale next Monday. It is more modest in scale than their annual autumn French wine sale, which usually includes plenty of  top Bordeaux at very attractive prices. There are 28 wines included in the offer, some of which are already in stock. Almost all are very inexpensive, the vast majority less than €10, with only two pitching in at more than €15. The white wines are all refreshing, lightly textured and unoaked, and will make decent budget summer drinking, although some seemed to be rounded off by a few grams of residual sugar. I am not a fan of this, but I know many of you are. As well as the white wine below, look out for the fresh tropical Falanghina Sassi del Mare (€7.99), and the Vernaccia di San Gimignano (€9.99) with its layered pineapple and red apple fruits, balanced by a reviving acidity. If you are planning a refreshing summer cocktail, you could add some pomegranate juice (and maybe a few seeds) to the Pinot Grigio Rosé Spumante (€10.99).

As for the red wines, I can see the ripe, rounded Cannonau di Sardegna (€7.99) being popular when the barbecue comes out, or you could go for the grippier Rosso di Montalcino (€8.99) with its dark cherry fruits. I won’t claim that the Barbaresco below will compete with any of the top Nebbiolo from the region or neighbouring Barolo. However, it is a very drinkable bottle of wine. My favourite wine, however, is the Chianti Colli Senesi Medici Riccardi. From one of the best subregions of Chianti, the 2015 vintage (2014 was on sale until recently) is a wonderfully light, elegant wine with plenty of succulent fruit. It will go very nicely with pork, chicken and lighter red meats in the coming summer months.

While on the subject of Chianti, I recently tasted an excellent range of wines from Castellare, one of the top estates in Chianti Classico, the subregion that is home to almost all of the great Chianti. Castellare has never gone for the rich and powerful style of wine, preferring lighter, more refreshing, food-friendly wines. Quality has always remained high, and prices reasonable compared with many of their rivals. Their Chianti Classico 2014 is excellent, and the importer is waiting for stocks of the equally good 2015. I would also look out for their superb I Sodi di San Niccolo 2012 (Wines on the Green), the very best wine from the same producer; at €66 it may seem expensive, but it is far cheaper and superior to many of its ‘Super-Tuscan’ rivals. In recent weeks I have also enjoyed the Rocca delle Macie Vernaiolo Chianti  2014 (JNwine, €14.99) with its supple light savoury dark cherry fruits.

Müller Thurgau 2016, Südtirol Alto Adige 13%, €9.99

Rounded ripe apple and pear fruits, with good cleansing acidity. Lovely summer drinking.
Stockist: Lidl

Chianti Colli Senesi 2015 Medici Riccardi 13%, €9.95

Clean refreshing red cherry fruits, good acidity and pretty good length for a wine at this price.
Stockist: Lidl

Lightly fragrant nose, smooth elegant summer fruits with a pleasant savoury finish.
Stockist: Lidl

Chianti Classico 2014, Castellare di Castellina 13.5%, €22.99

An excellent sophisticated harmonious wine with elegant ripe dark cherry fruits, a refreshing seam of acidity and a lingering finish.
Stockists: Wines on the Green; 64 Wines; Fresh; Kelly’s, Clontarf; McCabe’s; McHugh’s.

Posted in: Irish Times

Leave a Comment (0) →

Christmas – The Big Feast

First published in the Irish Times, Saturday 10th December, 2016

 I covered Christmas dinner in the Irish Times Winter Food and Drink magazine in November. But for those who may have lost their copy, to reiterate, I would suggest a Pinot Noir, Syrah (from the Northern Rhône) or Shiraz, or Grenache to go with turkey. From Spain, a Rioja Reserva will do nicely, although I would be tempted to try a lighter red from Bierzo. I know many of you will ignore me completely, but a tannic Bordeaux is not the ideal partner for turkey.

Do start the day with something nice – Champagne is great if numbers and budget permit. A Chardonnay of some sort would be the traditional white option, and most work very well with a fishy starter and the turkey, too, if required. But this year, why not experiment a little with a Godello from Galicia in Spain, a Grüner Veltliner from Austria, or a Chenin Blanc from South Africa? All three offer great alternatives. A Soave or Vermentino from Italy would also do very nicely. However, I have a bottle of the Viognier, pictured on the page, stashed away for our Christmas dinner.

Roast beef is popular for post-Christmas get-togethers. A rib roast is a brilliant partner for most reds, Cabernets and Bordeaux in particular. Jus de Vine has the lovely Château d’Angludet 2012 for a very competitive €40. Alternatively, the delicious concentrated tannic Nebbiolo (below) would be fantastic. The wines of Viajra, from the same region are also worth looking out for in independents. Just don’t try them without food. Both Cabernet and Nebbiolo go very nicely with that other seasonal favourite, roast goose. If you are serving something sweet, such as red cabbage or an apple stuffing, then Pinot Noir or Rioja is a better bet. If you only drink white wine, go for a really good Riesling from Alsace or Germany, or a rich Pinot Gris.

Turkey curry is traditional in some households, and here I would go for a Pinot Gris or good Pinot Grigio, a Grüner Veltliner from Austria, or maybe a rich Garnacha from Spain. I like my turkey and stuffing sandwiches accompanied by a light refreshing Beaujolais or a Mencía from Bierzo.

A few last minute buys: Mail order company Wines Direct has two Chardonnays, the excellent Chablis Moreau 2015 (€23.15) and the delicious Maillet Macon-Villages 2014 (€23.25). Whelehan’s has the lovely rich Bierzo Godello Luna Bebride (€19.95) and O’Briens has the very keenly-priced Pouilly-Fumé Domaine de Bel Air for €16.95. I recently came across the very well-priced Fonseca Quinta do Panascal Vintage Port 2001 for €30 from SuperValu. I love the days following Christmas, when I open up random interesting bottles. This will certainly include a German Riesling Trocken and a good bottle of Amontillado Sherry, along with many others.

Image 2Pouilly-Fumé 2014 Domaine de Bel-Air



A very attractive well-priced Sauvignon with tangy green fruits and a crisp dry finish.

Stockists: O’Briens





Image 1Langhe Nebbiolo 2014, Produttori del Barbaresco



Delicious firm austere dark fruits; perfect with beef or goose.

Stockists: Select Carry Out; Cinnamon Cottage, Rochestown;

Terroirs, Donnybrook; JJ O’Driscolls; The Corkscrew; Karwig Eines.




Viognier de Rosine 2014Viognier de Rosine 2014, Domaine Ogier,

Vdp des Collines Rhodanniennes




Peaches and pineapples perfectly balanced by a cleansing acidity. Exquisite wine.


Stockists: Jus de Vin; La Touche; Searsons; Bottle Shop, D7; Green Man Wines.; One Pery Square.



Posted in: Irish Times

Leave a Comment (0) →