Terroirs in Donnybrook held a tasting of a selection of their wines recently. The boutique wine and food shop import all of these directly from the producer, so they are only available from Terroirs (including online), and a few select restaurants. The line-up included a wide range of wines, primarily French. Françoise and Séan Gilley have scoured every corner of France, seeking out small, interesting quality producers. Some make well-known wines, others use lesser-known, indigenous grapes. A great many are organic or biodynamic.
This was one of the best tastings so far this year. There were some thrilling wines, sadly very few under €15, and a plenty for €30 and over, but the standard was incredibly high, and many offered great value for money. If I ever win the Lotto, this will be one of my first ports of call.
Champagne Agrapart & Fils Les 7 Crus Brut NV, Avize €69.50
100% Chardonnay. Superb, refined relatively full-bodied Champagne with ripe bruised strawberry fruits, subtle brioche, and lemon zest, finishing very dry. Excellent Champagne.
Jacquère 2016, Savoie, Domaine de Chevillard €29.50
Sappy, limpid, snow-like with fresh green apple fruits, real concentration and very fine crisp acidity, finishing bone dry. A counter to those who dismiss Jacquére as a grape; this a is delicious refreshing wine with real character.
Domaine de Montbourgeau Étoile 2015 €29.50
Elegant clean walnuts and baked apples with a subtle fino sherry notes (I’m guessing some was aged under a voile or veil of flor) and a long dry finish. Delicious wine with plenty of character and style.
Chablis 2015, Domaine Laurent Tribut €29.50
Classic, structured Chablis, with relatively ripe orchard fruits, lots of green apples vivid crisp mineral acidity and great length. Certainly a match for many Chablis 1er cru.
Maison Emmanuel Giboulot Côte de Beaune 2016, Bourgogne €29.50
From the man who risked ruin and jail for his biodynamic principles, a classic Côte de Beaune, brisk and crisp with white flower aromas, hazelnuts and wet stones, alongside some precise green apple fruits.
Domaine Guiberteau Clos des Carmes 2014, Saumur Blanc €59.50
A wonderful tightly bound wine with a core of delicious rich orchard fruits, honey and nuts, with a laserlike seam of saline minerality. Expensive, but superior to many white Burgundies at the same price; this is exceptional wine. Drink now, but it will develop for years.
Domaine Saint Georges d’Ibry, Côtes de Thongue Cuvée des Amis €13.95
Bubbling over with lovely lively fresh crunchy dark forest fruits. Light tannins on the finish. Perfect with charcuterie or grilled meats. A Merlot / Syrah blend that works very well.
Domaine Les Goubert, Côtes du Rhône 2017 €16.95
Very easy-drinking supple medium to full-bodied wine with sweet soft ripe fruits edged with subtle spice
Élian da Ros, Le Vin est une Fête 2016, Côtes du Marmandais €16.95
The Abouriou (€29.50) is a great wine, but I have always had a real liking for this wine, a delicious light (12.5%) summery red with smooth delicate dark fruits, that grow on you with every sip. Great value for money too.
Domaine des Païssels Le Banel 2017, St. Chinian €17.95
Belies its 14.5% alcohol, with some deft elegant herby dark fruits underpinned by good acidity and freshness. A very attractive clean easy-drinking Carignan / Grenache blend with a touch of class. Serve with braises of beef.
Fleurie ‘Les Garants’ 2016 Pierre-Marie Chermette €23.50
Gorgeous unputdownable wine filled with vibrant crunchy pure dark fruits, all blackcurrants and dark cherries, with real length and concentration. A true Fleurie that will last a few years, and very good value given the quality.
Domaine Arretxea Tradition 2015, Irouléguy €29.50
Don’t bother trying to pronounce it (unless you speak Basque); just enjoy the wonderful pure blackcurrant and plum fruits, the subtle, maturing leafy edge, and the lightly tannic austere finish. Try with grilled Toulouse sausages.
La Porte Saint Jean Vieilles Vignes 2015, Saumur, €39.50
Not cheap, but this is a stunning wine, a perfect balance of ripe brambly blackcurrant and blackberry fruits, a brisk minerality, a touch of pencil shavings and a long dry finish. The flavours are intense but there is real finesse to this wine. I would dearly love to have a case in my cellar.
Classic Margaux fragrance of cigar box and violets; a wonderfully elegant silky plush palate of cassis and blackcurrants, structured and long. Drink now or keep up to five years