Posts Tagged Grapevine

Keller Riesling Trocken 2013, Rheinhessen

Keller Riesling Trocken 2013, Rheinhessen

DSCF6988Keller Riesling Trocken 2013, Rheinhessen
€21.99 from Grapevine, Dalkey and Cabot & Co, Westport

A wine that dances across the palate; light and fragrant, free-flowing and fresh. A mere 12% in alcohol, it gently explodes with fruit.

Drink by itself or with light white fish dishes.

Klaus Peter Keller is one of Germany’s finest winemakers. Based in one of the less fashionable regions of the country, he still manages to produce a series of unbelievably good dry and sweet wines. This is his entry-level dry white, a steal at around €20.

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Domaine Houchard Rosé 2015, Côtes de Provence

<strong>Domaine Houchard Rosé 2015, Côtes de Provence</strong>

houchardDomaine 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.

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Pink for Summer

Pink for Summer

First published in The Irish Times, Saturday 9th July, 2016


Sales of rosé wines in this country have increased a little in recent years, but still remain stubbornly low at 4-5% of sales. This is largely made up of those drinking inexpensive sweet “white” Zinfandel all year round, and by occasional bursts of general pink drinking when the sun makes an appearance in our skies.

We drink the colour as much as the wine; there is something quintessentially summery about a rosé wine, drunk well-chilled over a lunch outside in the sun. I am constantly being told that rosé is much more than that, and we should be drinking it the year round. It is one of the most adaptable of wines, perfect with all sorts of food, but somehow I cannot bring myself to drink it on a wet January evening.

Rosé comes in more styles than one. Leaving aside the aforementioned sweet Californians, elsewhere just about every country has had a go at making rosé; ranging from light and crisp to full-bodied and sometimes fairly alcoholic. Today we concentrate on French rosé.

The lightest, which would include the Bordeaux and Provence rosé below, is very similar in makeup to a crisp dry white wine; these go very well with lighter salads, including seafood, as well as more delicate pasta and rice dishes.More fruity and full-bodied rosés can go with a wide variety of foods, including grilled or barbecued chicken and pork, all of those southern French classics with anchovies, olives, garlic and herbs. They also go nicely with cold meats, pâtés and other charcuterie. I also find they are good match with slightly spicy dishes including curries.

Much has been made of Provençal rosé, usually dry and sometimes very expensive. I have yet to be convinced that any rosé is worth €30 or more. To me it is frivolous and fun, and that means less than €20. The Domaine d’Eole below does offer very good value for money. Look out too for the Mirabeau Rosé from O’Briens, at a price that works out at €12.71 if you buy two bottles. Marks & Spencer have the very tasty Coteaux Varois en Provence 2015 for €12.49. Tavel, a small town in the southern Rhône, traditionally made the most powerful, alcoholic rosés. The appellation here is exclusively for rosé wines. They have gone out of fashion, and most of the wines are lighter, although full of fruit, as with the Tavel below. Those from the Loire tend to be light and crisp.Rosé d’Anjou is usually a bit too sweet for my tastes, but Sancerre rosé, made with Pinot Noir, can be exquisite, and certainly worth the money. Alsace also produces some beautifully fragrant Pinot Noir rosé.

DSCF6640Domaine d’Eole 2015, Coteaux d’Aix en Provence

Very attractive exuberant strawberry fruits with a dry finish. Great with or without food.

Stockists: Whelehan’s Wines, Loughlinstown

Image 1Tavel Rose 2014, Prieuré de Montezargues

The deepest colour, with concentrated red cherry fruits. With herby Provençal salads.

Stockists: Wines on the Green; Dicey Reilly; McCabes; Nectar Wines, Nolans Supermarket.

DSCF6712Bordeaux Rosé 2015, Brande Bergère.

The palest of colours, with sour cherry and plum fruits. Delicate, dry and moreish.

Stockists: Grapevine, Dalkey.

Image 2Famille Bougrier, Les Hauts Lieux 2015 Le Rosé, Vin de France
€12.95 (2nd bottle ½ price)

Light clean refreshing summer fruits. Perfect al fresco drinking.

Stockists: O’Briens

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Fattori Sauvignon Vecchie Scuole 2015, Sauvignon delle Venezie IGT, Terrini Vulcanici

Fattori Sauvignon Vecchie Scuole 2015, Sauvignon delle Venezie IGT, Terrini Vulcanici

DSCF6691Fattori Sauvignon Vecchie Scuole 2015, Sauvignon delle Venezie IGT, Terrini Vulcanici
€19.95 from Grapevine, Dalkey.

Delicious vibrant complex dry Sauvignon Blanc, with light aromas, citrus fruit, gooseberries and a strong mineral backbone. More Loire than Marlborough.

A great aperitif, herby seafood dishes or light risottos.

I met Antonio Fattori at the Knockranny Wine Weekend in Westport earlier this year. I was tempted to pass him by, as he was offering Pinot Grigio and Soave, not wines that usually set the pulse racing. However, he proved a fascinating man, and had a number of really interesting ‘extra’ wines that he had brought along. This included two excellent single vineyard Soaves, and this wonderful Sauvignon Blanc. Antonio told me that he visited Marlborough in 1991, and was fascinated by the wines. On his return to Italy, he planted some Sauvignon; it tastes nothing like a Marlborough Sauvignon, but I think I would prefer it to most.

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Ch. Guillebot Plaisance 2013, Bordeaux

<strong>Ch. Guillebot Plaisance 2013, Bordeaux</strong>

Image 2Ch. Guillebot Plaisance 2013, Bordeaux
€13.95 from Liston’s, Camden Street, Grapevine, Dalkey, and Cabot & Co. Westport.

When making notes at wine tastings I have a personal shorthand. W.M.D.W.W. means well made dry white wine, O/O.O/A.O/E. is for over-oaked, too much alcohol and over extracted. O.D.C. signifies ordinary decent claret (as opposed to ordinary decent criminal), for a particular kind of red wine from Bordeaux. These are light to medium bodied wines, with just ripe blackcurrant and blackberry fruits, with a refreshing acidity and a dryish finish. I love them; they are great all-purpose wines to go with red and white meats, including stews and cheese dishes. The ordinary bit means they have to sell for less than €15. The Guillebot Plaisance fits all the above criteria, and is even light enough to sip solo.

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Barbera d’Asti L’Avvocata, Coppa 2013

<strong>Barbera d’Asti L’Avvocata, Coppa 2013</strong>

ImageBarbera d’Asti L’Avvocata, Coppa 2013
€19 from Morton’s, Galway; Grapevine, Dalkey; and Cabot & Co, Westport.

Apparently the owner is a lawyer, hence the name. The wine is certainly not too serious or weighty though. This is a delicious bouncy wine brimming with juicy ripe blackcurrant and dark cherry fruits. Smooth and succulent, perfect drinking for the summer months. I would drink it with pretty well any meat dish, including chicken, risotto, tomato sauced, cold meats or gnocchi.

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