Winners and losers at the Wine Olympics
Are jury-based awards, done under blind-tasting conditions, better than a personal opinion? It depends on the opinion, but if you use a book analogy, the winner of the Man Booker Prize sells in massive numbers each year. However, books, like wine, are a matter of personal taste. Sometimes I would prefer to read the views of one trusted writer than listen to the combined wisdom of many. But we all seek superlatives in everything – and wine awards seem to offer a certain reassurance.
BOTTLES OF THE WEEK
Amalaya White 2011, Cafayate, Argentina, 13.5%, €12.99This wine was the winner of the Decanter international trophy for best dry aromatic under £10. Cafayate, in the far north of Argentina, has a cooler climate than Mendoza, the country’s main wine-producing region. It is proving ideal for white wines and lighter reds. Torrontes is Argentina’s answer to Sauvignon Blanc. This is one of the best examples I have come across this year, with a floral nose, lively refreshing orange and peach fruits finishing dry. Interestingly, the winemaker blended in a little Riesling to give the wine backbone, and it works a treat. Stockists: Matson’s Wine Store, Bandon; Red Island Wine, Skerries; Enowine, Monkstown and IFSC; Mitchell Son, Chq and Glasthule; JM Vintners, Rush; Fallon Byrne, Exchequer Street, Dublin.
Domaine de Villemajou 2010, Corbières, Gerard Bertrand, 14%, €18.99This won two pieces of silverware at the International Wine Challenge: the Carignan trophy and the Corbières trophy. It is a big wine, rich in dark fruits, liquorice and herbs, with some spicy new oak, and a dry finish. This is one to try with beef casserole flavoured with Mediterranean herbs. Stockist: O’Briens.
Tiki Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Marlborough, 13%, €14.99This won Noffla white wine of the year. I handed a glass of this to my in-house Marlborough Sauvignon expert, who said “it tastes just like Marlborough Sauvignon should”. So, fresh aromatic with decent clean, green fruits, and a squeeze of lime. This is a well-made wine to enjoy solo or with fish. Stockists: Wicklow Arms, Delgany; Deveney’s, Dundrum; the Vintry, Dublin 6; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock; Redmonds, Ranelagh; Londis, Malahide; On the Grapevine, Dalkey.
Cousino Macul Cabernet Sauvignon Antiguas Reserva 2010, Valle del Maipo, Chile, 14%, €14.95This was named Noffla red wine of the year. It is an attractive medium-bodied cabernet with slightly earthy but elegant blackcurrant fruits, hints of spice and a smooth dry finish. Try it with roast beef or lamb. Stockists: Jus de Vine, Portmarnock; Deveney’s, Dundrum and Rathmines; the Vintry, Dublin 6; McCabes, Blackrock; Redmonds, Ranelagh; Sweeneys, Hart’s Corner, Glasnevin; McHughs, Artane and Kilbarrack; Martin’s, Fairview; Lilac Wines, Fairview; Baggot Street Wines; Hollands, Bray; O’Donovans, Cork; McCambridge’s, Galway; Grenham’s, Ballinasloe; Knights, Shannon; Macguinness Wine Merchants, Dundalk; Next Door off-licences; the Old Stand, Mullingar; Paul’s, Donegal.