Some tips from our Wine Club, brought to you by Maureen O'Hara of Premier Wine Training:
Thonya, the manager in O’Briens Wines next door, was recounting how busy they’ve been in the last year. Not only that, but people are spending a bit more on wine. Those who used to spend €10 are now paying up to €15, and those who spent about €15 are going up to €20 or more. And they are coming back for more of the same. Surely a sign that when you move up the scale a little in price, quality becomes noticeably better. You’re getting relatively more wine for your money, while paying relatively less in excise and taxes, since excise on wine is paid on a fixed scale.
Being better quality isn’t a guarantee that you will like it. However, if you stick to a similar style, you should really notice a wow factor when you move up to a wine that’s €15 (at full price).
Thonya is full of good advice. I asked her for tips of what’s really good right now, and these are her star recommendations in the run up to St. Patrick’s Day.
Ch. De Fontaine Audon Sancerre now reduced from €22.95 to €18.95
This estate is owned by Bollinger, so you can expect commensurate quality. In a really good Sancerre, you will not only find balanced crisp acidity and just-ripe citrus and apple, but also a hint of wet stone or flintiness, and a very long satisfying finish.
And her top tip for red wine is Conde Valdemar Rioja Gran Reserva, now reduced from €33.45 to €22.95, making it cheaper than the Reserva level. Rioja Reserva is a big hit with our wine club members, and this wine is bound to delight, whether you are having bacon and cabbage on St. Patricks’ Day, or a more contemporary Irish equivalent. Be quick – it’s sure to be popular.
January has become Veganuary, and many of us are more conscious about what we eat. And drink.
What is "ORGANIC" wine? Wine made from grapes grown without any artificial chemicals (ie pesticides, herbicides, fungicides). There are various bodies who certify wine, with different standards and logos, eg. Vin Bio, EcoCert. Bear in mind that producers often to choose to make wine to organic principles, without the burden of Certification.
“BIODYNAMIC” is a step above organic. Biodynamic farms carry out composting, integrating animals, cover cropping, and crop rotation, and many also farm according to the cycles of the moon. It's all good stuff, like your grandad used to do!
“VEGAN” friendly wines. Animal by-products (eg isinglass, egg white) are used for fining small particles from wine. 'Vegan' wines use non-animal products to do this.
Our Recommended Wine of the Month is a red wine from Spain:
Matsu 'El Recio'- the 'tough guy.' This is made from bio-dynamically farmed grapes (Tempranillo) in the Toro region of Spain. These grapes come from old vines, which results in really concentrated flavour. The wine is aged in French oak for just over a year. It's rich, mouth-filling, textured yet smooth enough, with flavours of dark fruits, mocha and soft spice, and a long finish.
If that seems expensive, consider that €25 would just about buy a mediocre house wine in a restaurant!
Recio is part of a family, which includes El Picaro (the young one, a bit more pocket-friendly), and El Viejo (the elder).