Blog

Posts Tagged Gamay

Three Great Weekend Wines

weekend

I drank three sensationally good bottles of wine over the weekend. When you can drink wines as good as this, it makes ‘damp’ (as opposed to dry) January so much more bearable!

Bodegas Cotas 45 UBE Miraflores 2016 VdT de Cadiz

A single-vineyard unfortified Palomino Fino that has been aged in old sherry casks, this is a quite unique and compelling wine; light, fresh, toasty, bready, with delicate apple fruits and a beguiling saline finish. Brilliant wine. €23 from Green Man Wines, Terenure & 64Wines, Glasthule.

Crozes-Hermitage 2015, Grand Classique, Cave de Tain

Last week I did an unusual thing for a wine journalist; I went out and bought a case of wine! I receive so many samples, I am rarely short of wine to drink. The opposite is usually the case. However, this is an exceptionally good wine at a great price. Possibly not a surprise, as 2015 was a great vintage in the Northern Rhône, and the Cave de Tain one of the best co-ops in France. Elegant, perfectly ripe dark fruits, just enough acidity and nicely integrated tannins. Yum!

Moulin-a-Vent 2009 Les Trois Roches, Domaine Vissoux

I bought six bottles of this six years ago; the 2009 vintage was very highly touted back then and time has proved the critics right. This is a gorgeous wine, soft ripe and rounded with intense perfectly ripe dark fruits, and a great finish. A bit riper than most vintages, but a hedonist’s delight. Terroirs in Donnybrook list the 2013 for €29.50.

Posted in: Blog

Leave a Comment (0) →

2018: the year of drinking sensibly

In 2017, nature wrought havoc on the world of wine, with fires in California and devastating frosts and hail storms in Europe. France, Spain, Italy and Chile have all had smaller harvests and we could see a global shortage of wine.

In this country we will most likely see the implementation of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, which will have a significant effect on how alcohol is sold.

This column has always been in favour of drinking less, but drinking better.  With the introduction of minimum pricing, the days of really cheap wines may be over. This is a good thing. Can we rely on the multiples to improve their range, or will they simply offer the same wines at a higher price? And will consumers head north or south to France in search of cheaper booze?

My suggestion for 2018 is to shop local and trade up. Instead of buying three bottles for €4.99, treat yourself to one great wine for €15. You will certainly notice the difference while cutting your consumption at the same time.

I am more worried about the proposed back-labelling of wine. Unless done on a Europe-wide basis, it will cause serious problems for importers who work with small artisanal producers. We may see many really interesting wines disappear from our wine shops. As far as I can see, the legislation does not address the increase in outlets, on and off-trade that sell alcohol.

As to what we will be drinking in 2018, Cabernet Franc grown in the Loire Valley seems to fit current tastes perfectly: light in alcohol, with juicy ripe fruits and refreshing acidity. We should be drinking more. In the past, some wines were a little green and herbaceous, but thanks to better viticulture and winemaking, the wines are so much better. 2018 could be the breakthrough year. As Burgundy prices continue to rise, canny wine drinkers will start drinking the various Crus of Beaujolais.

Brilliant

Spain will continue to excite us with a steady stream of brilliant wines. As well as producing well-made inexpensive wines, Chile now offers some real excitement, including wines made from ancient ungrafted bush-trained vines in the south of the country. I can see natural, less interventionist winemaking improving still further and starting to influence conventional producers.

Prosecco is still wildly popular, but there are so many more interesting bottles of fizz available. Will 2018 be the year of cava? Sales are dominated by two large companies, but there are more than 200 producers in Catalunya, some producing great wine at reasonable prices. I do like good Champagne, but other regions of France, the Loire, Alsace, Limoux, Burgundy, produce very good crémant, sparkling wines made in exactly the same way, at much cheaper prices.

Tesco Cava Rosato NV, Spain, 11.5%, €12.65

Refreshing off-dry fizz with mouth-watering strawberry fruits. A handy alternative to prosecco. Drink as an aperitif, or with richer fish dishes.

Stockists: Tesco

St Nicolas de Bourgeuil 2015, Langlois-Château, 12%, €16.95

A mere 12% in alcohol, this is a delicious light juicy red wine, packed with ripe blackberry and blackcurrant fruits. Drink with white meats, such as chicken and pork, or try it with grilled salmon.

Stockists: O’Briens

Reserva Ancesatral 2014, Miguel Torres, 14.5%, €18.50

Made from 80-year-old cinsault, País and Carignan vines, this is a powerful full-bodied earthy wine, brimming with spicy rich damson fruits. Perfect with a steak.

Stockists: Marks & Spencer

Morgon ‘Delys’ 2016, Vieilles Vignes, Daniel Bouland, 13%, €26.95

This might seem expensive, but it is an exceptional wine. Wonderful pure perfectly ripe black fruits ripple across the palate. Soothing and refreshing. Serve with roast chicken or pork.

Stockists: Grapevine, Dalkey; Cabot & Co, Westport cabotandco.com; 64 Wines, Glasthule; The Poppy Seed, Clarinbridge.

Posted in: Irish Times

Leave a Comment (0) →

Time for a drink of ‘liquid summer’ : Beaujolais

Most wine lovers have a lightbulb moment, when they suddenly realise that wine is not simply a very pleasant sociable alcoholic beverage that goes brilliantly with food (although it certainly is all that), but the most complex and wonderful drink known to man. One of my several “wine moments” (I am a slow learner) was a glass of Beaujolais. It was one of the best names, a Moulin-à-Vent, and despite being served in one of those horrible Paris goblets, which are completely unsuitable for wine, it was fragrant and gorgeous, brimming with seductive bright fruits. As a pretentious student I was hooked and ever since that encounter, I return to my first love as often as I can.

 Beaujolais has been through a rough period but with the increasing demand for light, lower alcohol wines, it is enjoying a welcome revival. This is one of the most appetising and reviving wines of all. As soon as spring arrives, I regularly spoil myself with a glass of Beaujolais or Beaujolais Villages from a good producer. Frivolous and full of juicy bouncy fruit, it is liquid summer. Serve cool with salady things, pork, or simply on its own.

Established hierarchy

As with many French regions, there is an established hierarchy. Beaujolais Villages is superior to basic Beaujolais, but at the very top of the tree are 10 “crus” or villages, each entitled to use its own name. All are in the north of the region, and taste tantalisingly different depending on the soil, usually varying forms of granite. The most serious of these wines are worthy of genuine respect. I have stashed away a number of wines from the most structured of the crus including Morgon, Moulin-à-Vent and Fleurie; after a few years, they reveal a new and wonderful depth. I tasted eight vintages of Jadot Ch des Jacques Moulin-à-Vent and Morgon going back to 1996 at a trade tasting late last year. All were in very good condition. I also drank a perfectly-formed 2008 Moulin-à-Vent from Domaine du Vissoux more recently. Now that so many of the well-known fine wines are moving steadily out of our price-range, these are well-worth bearing in mind. The best certainly qualify as fine wines.

More immediately, a glass of youthful Côte de Brouilly, Chénas or any other of the crus will both slake the thirst and revive the vital functions. Most of the mass-produced versions are not great, although even here I note an improvement in quality. But Beaujolais is full of fantastic small producers; a bottle from Domaine du Vissoux (Terroirs), Jean-Paul Brun (Wines Direct), La Madone (Mitchell & Son) or Foillard (Independents) is one of life’s most welcome treats.

Fleurie Tradition 2015, Côte de Brouilly 2015, Moulin-à-Vent 2013 and Fleurie 2014 Terre de Granit Rose 2014
Fleurie Tradition 2015, Côte de Brouilly 2015, Moulin-à-Vent 2013 and Fleurie 2014 Terre de Granit Rose 2014

BEAUJOLAIS BUYS

Fleurie Tradition 2015, Domaine de la Madone
13%, €17
A delightfully fresh and fruity wine from one of the top estates in Fleurie.
Stockists: Mitchell & Son, IFSC, Sandycove, Avoca, Kilmacanogue.

Côte de Brouilly 2015, Jean-Paul Brun
12.5%, €21.85
An exquisite wine, with refined cherry fruits, hints of strawberry and a refreshing moreish character.
Stockists: Wines Direct

 Moulin-à-Vent 2013, Ch des Jacques, Louis Jadot
13%, €24.99
Solid medium-bodied blackberries with a good tannic structure. Drink or keep a decade or more.
Stockists: Ballyvaughan Stores; Jus de Vine; Mitchell & Son; Redmonds; Sweeney’s.

Bargain bin: Fleurie 2014 Terre de Granit Rose 2014, Thorin
13%, €14.99
Pleasantly plump dark fruits with a smooth rounded finish.
Stockists: Selected Spar, Eurospar, Mace, Londis

Posted in: Irish Times

Leave a Comment (0) →

My Top Ten Red Wines under €20 for 2016

This post came about as a result of a challenge set by a Twitter follower; to name my top five red wines for under €20. I have expanded it out here to ten wines. All have appeared in the Irish Times or on my blog before, and many in Wilson on Wine 2017, but I thought it might be good to see them all together. Doubtless they will change soon. In the meantime I have bought myself six bottles each of the Dâo, Geil Pinot, and Roka for drinking over the next few months.

 

 

DSCF7103Albizu Tempranilllo 2015, VdT de Castilla, Spain

 

I have a weakness for unoaked (or very lightly oaked) Rioja. I love the lively aroma, the pure cherry fruits and the refreshing acidity. Here they come together in an easy-drinking but sophisticated wine, great for sipping alone or for drinking with a variety or red and white meats. This example, made by a Rioja producer, from grapes grown within the region, doesn’t actually have the name Rioja on the label, but it certainly tastes like it. Worth buying in quantity for the season ahead.

 

€11.95-€12.95 from Mitchell & Son; Avoca Rathcoole; Le Caveau, Kilkenny; Baggot St wines; Blackrock Cellar; Corkscrew; Fallon & Byrne; Listons; MacGuinness; Green Man; 64 Wines; World Wide Wines.

 

 

Sa de Baixo 2014Sa de Baixo 2014, Douro, Portugal       

 

This has been one of my go-to wines for a few years now, and I know I am not alone; many of our independent wine shops do a brisk trade with it. The label has changed recently, but the wine is just as good . Succulent ripe red fruits with a smooth tannin-free finish. Light harmonious and very quaffable. A good all-rounder to drink by itself or with white meats – creamy chicken with pasta sounds good.

 

€13.50 from Mortons, Ranelagh; McHughs; Blackrock Cellar; Gibneys, Malahide; Avoca Rathcoole; Wicklow Wine Co.; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock; Baggot St Wines; DrinkStore, D7; Martins, Fairview; Browns Vineyard, Portlaoise; Red Island, Skerries; Probus, Fenian St; Sweeneys, Glasnevin; 64 Wine, Glasthule.

 

 

DSCF6516Borsao Garnacha Seleccíon, Campo de Borja, 2015, Spain

 

The label is fairly dazzling, and so is the wine. The Campo de Borja region produces large quantities of big ripe warming red wines, usually made from Garnacha. This is a warm hug of a wine. 14.5% alcohol, it is big, rounded and ripe with soft spicy strawberry fruits and a very decent supple finish. Fantastic value for money. Perfect for barbecues and other red meats.

 

 

€13.95 from Bradleys, Cork; 64 Wine, Glasthule; Next Door, Arklow; Searsons.com & Searsons Monkstown; Drinkstore, D7.

 

 

DSCF7060Acón Joven 2014, Ribera del Duero, Spain

 

A world away from the big tannic oaky monsters that once made up most of Ribera del Duero. This unoaked ‘young’ wine has forward floral aromas and delicious pure damson fruits. It packs a fair punch too, coming in at 14.5%, but you would hardly know it. Great value for money and perfect with roast lamb and beef.

 

€14.50 Red Island Wines; 64 Wine; Wicklow Wine Co; Clontarf Wines; Listons, Camden St.

 

 

 

Domaine des NuguesDomaine des Nugues, Beaujolais Villages 2014, France    

 

Beaujolais is finally coming back into fashion as we seek wines that are lighter in style. I spent a few lovely days in the region earlier this year, tasting the various crus. I also visited this estate. This wine is one of the best, and certainly superior to many of the cheap Fleurie you will come across in the shops. Wonderful aromas and pure sweet red cherry and blackcurrant fruits with a touch of liquorice. Patés, cheese and all things porcine, including belly of pork, ham and boiled bacon, as well as roast chicken.

 

€16.75 from Martin’s, Fairview; 64 Wine, Glasthule.

 

 

 

Roka BlaufränkischRoka Blaufränkisch 2015, Stajerska, Slovenia

 

Made by Irish couple Sinéad & Liam Cabot from their own grapes, both this and their equally delicious white Šipon are really good wines, and quite amazing for a first real effort after a few limited releases. The Blaufränkisch is a true vin de soif, with fresh supple cherry and damson fruits, but that really does it a disservice; this is a wine with plenty of depth and concentration. Well worth seeking out.

 

€16.99 from Cabot & Co;, Westport; No.1 Pery Square, Limerick; Grapevine, Dalkey; The Poppyseed, Clarinbridge; McCambridges, Galway.

 

 

 

DSCF6122Dâo Rótulo 2015, Niepoort, Portugal

 

If your tastes run to rich full-bodied reds, stay away from this wine. It is a delicious refreshing light red with a savoury edge to the clean damson fruits. Moreish, and with a mere 12.5% alcohol, you don’t have to deny yourself.

 

€16.99 from Redmonds, Mortons, Martins,Jus de vine, Green Man, Donnybrook Fair, Clontarf Wines, Blackrock Cellar and Baggot Street Wines

 

 

 

DSCF7121Geil Pinot Noir 2015, Rheinhessen

 

Charming free-flowing light supple sweet cherry fruits with a nice kick of acidity. Try it with salmon, tuna or pork. I have tried this several times in wine bars recently, including La Touche and Grapevine in Dalkey. It seems to suit all tastes, and is light enough be drunk without food.

 

€16.95-17.95 from La Touche; Grapevine; Mortons; Sweeneys; Redmonds; Wicklow Wine Co; Mitchell & Son; Listons; Jus de Vine; Drinkstore; Corkscrew; Blackrock Cellar; 64Wine.

 

 

 

DSCF5905Ch. Pey-Bonhomme Les-Tours 2012, Blaye – Côtes de Bordeaux, France

This was a really enjoyable wine, classic Bordeaux, with clean blackcurrant fruits, a seam of acidity running through, and a light dry tannic bite on the finish. I had mine with a roast shoulder of pork (Tamworth, from ethicalpork.com, excellent) and it was very good. I suspect it would be even better with lamb. Affordable well-made Bordeaux.

€19 from Green Man Wines, Terenure; 64Wine, Glasthule; Fallon & Byrne, Exchequer Street; Clontarf Wines; Mortons, Ranelagh.

 

 

 

 

 

Quite 2014 BierzoQuite 2014 Bierzo, Veronica Ortega

 

Medium-bodied and perfumed with fresh clean dark fruits; delicious, but if I was feeling flush I would go for Ortega’s Roc (at €30). I have been on a big Mencía kick for the last few years. I still love the Castro Valtuillé Joven, and the Brezo de Grégory Pérez, both widely available from independents, but I have really enjoyed this several times at home over the last eight months.

 

€19.50 from 64wine, Glasthule; World Wide Wines, Waterford; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock; Blackrock Cellars; Clontarf Wines; Drinkstore, D7;

 

Posted in: Blog

Leave a Comment (0) →

Morgon ‘Les Charmes’ 2014, Bret Brothers

<strong>Morgon ‘Les Charmes’ 2014, Bret Brothers</strong>

DSCF6709Morgon ‘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.

Posted in: Top Drop

Leave a Comment (0) →

Beaujolais – the Perfect Summer Wine

Beaujolais – the Perfect Summer Wine

First published in The Irish Times, Saturday 5th June, 2016

IMG_2286

Domaine de la Madone, Fleurie

I love Beaujolais; the place and the wine. I have recently returned from a visit, which reminded me that this is one of the loveliest wine regions of all. In fact, if you are planning a cycling, walking or driving trip in France, I would give serious consideration to Beaujolais and the equally unspoilt Mâconnais region.

Beaujolais is misunderstood by some and dismissed by others. Older readers will have memories of drinking awful Beaujolais Nouveau many years ago; younger wine-lovers, weaned on rich Aussie Shiraz may be nonplussed by a lack of oomph.

Beaujolais is the perfect summer wine; light, refreshing and fruity, it is a true vin de soif. Cool it a little, then kick back and enjoy those vibrant pure fruits over an alfresco dinner or lunch. All Beaujolais, including the cru wines, tend to be low in alcohol (usually 12.5-13 per cent), so they make great (if pricey) party wines too.

There is far more to Beaujolais than simple summer drinking though. The region divides neatly into two sections. The southern half is home to much of the less expensive glugging Beaujolais, although there are a few really good growers here. In the northern half you will finds the top 10 villages, or “crus”, entitled to use their own name on the label. All are situated on more granitic soils.

These include the familiar names Fleurie, Morgon and Moulin-à-Vent. Each has its own distinctive style, ranging from light, delicate and fragrant to more powerful, richer wines. Don’t get too hung up about drinking the youngest wine either; some of the crus age very well. I am currently finishing off my last bottles of a wonderful fragrant 2008 Moulin-à-Vent, and tasted an exceptional 1990 (yes, 1990!) Beaujolais Villages on my visit to Domaine des Nugues.

However, in general with the crus, two to three years will see some improvement, and these are the vintages on our shelves. Lesser wines are best enjoyed in their glorious precocious youth.

There is certainly no shortage of cheap wine from the Beaujolais region, including some of the crus. These tend to be uninspiring. Better to go for a fresh fruit-filled Beaujolais instead of a Fleurie at the same price. Vintages do matter too: 2013 and 2014 were both very good, and 2015 was near perfect.

The wines go brilliantly with pates, cheese, a few salads and a crusty baguette. The top crus can go perfectly with all things porcine, including belly of pork, ham and boiled bacon, as well as roast chicken. On my arrival home, tired after a long journey, I cooked myself an omelette and drank a glass of delicious fruity Beaujolais – perfection!

DSCF6572Beaujolais Villages 2014 Domaine des Nugues
13%
€16.75

Wonderful aromas and pure sweet red cherry and blackcurrant fruits with a touch of liquorice.

Stockists: Martin’s, Fairview; 64wine, Glasthule.

DSCF6574Fleurie Tradition 2014, Domaine de la Madone
13%
€20

Lively perfumed nose with supple rounded red cherry and raspberry fruits.

Stockists: Mitchel & Son; Wilde & Green; Myles Doyle, Gorey.


ImageBeaujolais L’Ancien 2014 Domaines des Terres Dorées

12%
€18.50

From forty year-old vines, a delicious fragrant wine bursting with crunchy red cherry fruits.

Stockists: Wines Direct online, Mullingar & Arnotts, Dublin.

Posted in: Irish Times

Leave a Comment (0) →

Cheverny ‘Rouillon’ 2015 Clos de Tue-Boeuf

<strong>Cheverny ‘Rouillon’ 2015 Clos de Tue-Boeuf</strong>

ImageCheverny ‘Rouillon’ 2015 Clos de Tue-Boeuf
12%
€22.95 from Blackrock Cellars, 64wine, Glasthule & Le Caveau, Kilkenny.

Not many wine geeks will have heard of Cheverny. It is one of those very obscure appellations of the Loire Valley. The white wines are a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Arbois, Chardonnay or Pinot Blanc. The red is also a blend, of Gamay and Pinot Noir or Cabernet Franc.

Thierry Puzelat is one of the leading exponents of natural winemaking in France. His wines are made with no added yeasts and little or no sulphur. When they work, I find them spectacularly good, although I have tasted a few very barnyardy examples in the past. This was delicious, a refreshing fruit-filled wine with redcurrants and raspberries and a fine elegant acidity and an earthy touch. Serve cool with all sorts of pork and chicken dishes.

Posted in: Top Drop

Leave a Comment (0) →