Mont Vesuvius and View over Naples, in Campania. Fifty kilometres east of the tourist hotspots is the mixed-farming region of Irpinia. Photograph: Jean-Pierre Lescourret/Getty Images

The volcanic region of Campania produces wonderful wines with a unique personality

We should categorise our wines slightly differently – by producer type

Fancy a ‘Big Wine’ or a ‘Wild Bunch’ tipple?

Enjoy the long weekend with a glass or two

This may be the last Good Friday where sales of alcohol are banned in Ireland, so make the most of it with our pick of the best

John Wilson on wine: These days, when I want something to drink, I  find myself searching though my samples for something lighter and more elegant.

John Wilson has had enough of powerful, robust wines that roughly grab you by the collar

 Les Amies Chanteuses has a nice freshness and an undercurrent of power and warmth.

John Wilson on two of the best wines to try at home this week

Portugal’s finest wine region is worth exploring

Mid-week tipple: The best wines to try at home this week

Pinot Noir, the great red grape variety responsible for Burgundy
Poor man’s Pinot

Thanks to improved viticulture and possibly climate change too, it is now possible to find plenty of very attractive lightly fruit(...)

Ely wine bars in Dublin can claim to be daddy of them all, now celebrating 15 years of trading and offering a superb selection of 80 wines by the glass. Photograph: Getty Images

John Wilson reveals his favourite wine bars from around the country

French brands Hennessy and Delamain are descended from the Irish, while some new Irish whiskeys owe a lot to France

A mature red Nebbiolo grape in Italy’s northeast: Nebbiolo is the undoubted king of the region, and Barolo and Barbaresco its finest expression

Often called the country’s Burgundy, Italy’s Piemonte region produces superb wines

Mid-week tipple: John Wilson been dreaming about sitting out in the sun and enjoying a glass of chilled white wine

For wine with a bit more character, seek out smaller producers. Photograph: iStock

Finding a wine that offers a little bit extra at a good price can be a challenge

Mid-week tipple: Wine expert John Wilson selects two wines to try at home this week

 Puglia, or Apulia, in southern Italy, produces red wine varieties such as  Negroamaro and  Primitivo, the same grape as California’s Zinfandel. Photograph: iStockphoto

The vineyards of Campania, Calabria and Puglia date back to Roman and Greek times

Burgundy prices are moving steadily upwards and quantities are even more limited than usual, 20-30 per cent less than in 2014. Photograph: Getty

Importers impressed with ‘outstanding’ harvest, the best in almost 90 years

Customers of Searsons in Monkstown, Co. Dublin had the opportunity to taste their way through a huge range of their wines earlier (...)

Blackrock Cellar: well-trained staff, free delivery  and a vast and eclectic selection of interesting drinks

Surrounded by stiff competition in South Dublin, the big winner at the Noffla awards - the 'drink Oscars' - has had to earn its(...)

Mid-week tipple: Each week John Wilson picks two wines for you to try at home

Barrels from oak felled in Ballydowling Wood in Glenealy, Co Wicklow, will used to mature the third release of Midleton Dair Ghaelach whiskey.

Among the latest whiskey arrivals is Midleton Dair Ghaelach – a snip at €260 a bottle – which is aged in traceable virgin Irish oa(...)

Mid-week tipple: Joel Duband and his team have chosen two of their favourite sub €15 wines for you to try

Under the legislation, retailers will be required to separate alcohol from all other products.

New legislation will hit small wine importers and specialist shops

The HSE guidelines are for wines with 12.5 per cent alcohol; most wines contain more, and it can be challenging to work out how many units you are drinking.

'Wine and beer have been around for more than 5,000 years, so a moderate consumption is unlikely to harm me'

Each week John Wilson picks two wines for you to try at home

The harvest in Burgundy overall is 20 per cent down on 2015

Poor harvests, along with higher consumption in the US and China, are putting supply under pressure

For a party red wine try  the lightly fruity Cepa Lebrel Joven for a remarkable €6.99
The best in party wines

It’s a good time to stock up for New Year’s – and there’s plenty of value offerings out there

Lighter – and often cheaper – dessert wines   go   well with fruit salads and  creamy desserts. Photograph: Getty

Sauternes and some German Rieslings strike the right balance of acidity and sweetness

Whatever you choose to drink at Christmas, trade up a little and treat yourself and your guests to something special. Photograph: Getty Images
Wines for Christmas dinner

Turkey-friendly reds and whites, and something for the goose, beef and curry too

Egg nog, served with a dusting of nutmeg and a cinnamon stick, is equally good with rum, cognac, bourbon and, of course, whiskey

Some warming alternatives to enjoy instead of the usual festive mulled wine

More the merrier: “Many argue a magnum is the perfect size to mature Champagne.”

Many excellent wines are now available in larger bottles – and they are practical and fun

Most of the multiples have branches on both sides of the Border and so have the problem covered to some degree

Dublin shops seem to be recovering, but is there a rural/urban divide?

Each week John Wilson finds two wines to try at home

Ribera del Duero has bitterly cold winters and short hot summers, with very cold nights; that climate is responsible for the unique style of wine

Ribera del Duero has emerged as one of Spain’s greatest wine regions, competing with Rioja for top spot

Some of the so-called dry wines on our supermarket shelves are actually off-dry or medium-dry

Wealthy rock stars and movie celebrities are often very keen to acquire a wine estate – I wonder who will end up with the Provence rosé Miraval in the Brangelina split

Chianti means Sangiovese, one of the great grapes varieties of the world, but rarely found outside of Tuscany

Albariño wine, with the Rias Baixas appellation of origin, is a high quality white wine. Photograph: iStock

Albariño has also become a standard listing for most wine bars and restaurants

Each week John Wilson picks two wines for you to try at home. This week: Marks & Spencer Mâcon-Villages 2015 and Hécula 2014, Mona(...)

Port has been enjoying huge growth in the US over the past decade

The traditional fortified wine is getting a new twist – and appealing to young people

Pastis  is lighter than absinthe and consumed diluted with water, classically one part pastis to five of water

Absinthe has a bad name, but in its absence, why not try its lighter cousin pastis?

Growing grapes and making wine is not easy, and selling the finished product is often even more difficult

Owning a vineyard is a dream come true for Liam and Sinéad Cabot

The Hungarians would claim Furmint as their own, but  you will also find it in Austria, Croatia and Slovenia and other neighbouring states. Photograph: Istock

Known as a key element of Tokaji, the Furmint grape has much to offer

Each week John Wilson picks two wines for you to try at home. This week: Château Martinolles Limoux Chardonnay 2015 and Château Ma(...)

I asked four sommeliers from around the country to divulge their favourite wine within a budget, and a dish to accompany it

We ask four experts to choose budget wines and the dishes they would eat as an accompaniment

Happiness is a  warming plate of mushroom risotto: mushrooms  are very wine friendly

The spices and flavourings, as well as the accompanying sauce, should determine what wine to drink with vegetarian food

Some unique wines are produced on Sicily’s volcanic mountain. Prices are high - but most are worth it

For a start, you’ll need a bottle of the Danish spirit akvavit, and a beer on the side

Among all the half-priced wines and other bogus offers, this year there are some genuine bargains.

Here are the real bargains in the Lidl, Aldi and SuperValu sales

Alsace produces a variety of white wines and some improving reds

The Alsace variety isn’t cheap, but it is worth the money

Wine-wise the (correct) advice is to go for something cheap and cheerful. But does eating outdoors have to be so casual?

How to choose the best wines for eating al fresco

Brett and Pamela Stephenson of Wicklow Way  make fruit wines

Couple use Irish fruit for their in-demand wine range

Jameson’s new whiskeys come in intriguingly-named threes

A vineyard in the Jeruzalem wine region of Slovenia

Furmint, a Slovenian white wine, deserves recognition as one of the great grapes

We drink the colour as much as the wine; there is something quintessentially summery about a rosé wine

French varieties offer a refreshing and dry alternative to the sweet Zinfandels

Alice Feiring has written a wonderful, emotional book about traditional winemaking in Georgia

Three books explore niche areas of wine production

Virtually all of the Loire wines, white and rosé too, fit the sunny category

Loire valley reds come into their own when the sun shines

Until now, you could only buy an Irish-made tonic syrup from Fever-Tree and other premium tonic waters have been hugely successful in the UK, so it was only a matter of time before someone came up with an Irish version.

Ireland is coming into its own for both elements of G and T

Jameson are no longer alone; back in March, Galway Bay Brewery launched 200 Fathoms, an Imperial stout aged in whiskey casks borrowed from Dublin’s Teeling Whiskey

Distillers’ new limited editions employ barrels used by brewers

Vineyards at Beaujolais, France.

Light, fruity and often misunderstood, Beaujolais is a perfect summer wine - but also so much more

South Africa now makes world-beating Chardonnay. It can also offer excellent Sauvignon Blanc, especially from cooler areas such as Elgin, Overberg and Darling.

There has been a revolution in white wines from this region

Cala Llombard, Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain. In the Santany municipality, Mediterranean area. Photograph: Simeone Huber/Photographer's Choice/Getty. Go travel October 2009.

Mediterranean islands produce remarkable wines in extraordinary conditions

The network of independent wine shops around the country deserve your support

Companies across Ireland use indigenous wild plants to make delectable gins

Avoid big, alcoholic wines, or you and your guests will be sprawling long before the food is ready. A light, well-chilled refreshing white wine is ideal

Look to the example of sunny countries when choosing bottles

Drinking one wine all the time can get very dull. I have pointed out a few alternatives here before. My favourite would be Riesling, but every country offers their own version of crisp ’n’ dry

Drinking Sauvignon all the time can get dull, but there are alternatives

Julie Dupouy, Best Sommelier in Ireland, and newly crowned third-best sommelier in the world. Photograph: Irish Guild of  Sommeliers

Julie Dupouy took bronze in gruelling world championships of 60 wine experts

Sulphur dioxide (SO2) prevents oxidation in a wine and wards off harmful bacteria. All wines contain small amounts

Medical science argues that SO2 does not cause most people any problems, but a small number will have a severe allergic reaction (...)

Mencía has been described as a cross between Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir.

Pay a little more for the Spanish wine and reap the rewards

Fernet Branca is “like waking up in a foreign country and finding a crowd of people arguing in agitated thorny voices outside your hotel window”.

Dark, sharp and medicinal, the Italian digestif is surprisingly trendy

Each week John Wilson picks a wine and a beer for you to try, this week: Radikale Radical Brew and Pinot Grigio 2015 Roberta Fugat(...)

Lamb is the traditional centrepiece of most Easter feasts. Happily, it is also one of the most wine-friendly foods of all.

Many of us will roast lamb tomorrow and it deserves a nice wine alongside

Zinfandel comes in three colours. You will find the odd genuinely white wine, stripped of both colour and flavour, but the majorit(...)

Brewer Peter Reynier at work.

The Craft Brewers of Ireland love an excuse to come up with a seasonal brew, preferably with a pun or two in the name. A combinati(...)

In 1986, Austria exported some three million litres of wine at a value of €3 million. Three decades on, the volumes have increased to 50 million litres.

A slow-build, three-decade strategy has pushed Austria’s wines, lead by the all-rounder Grüner, into new markets

If you tire of the city, and of wineries, take a relaxing a trip to the amazing beaches of Arcachon or the nearby  Saint-Emilion

The new Cité du Vin gives another good reason to visit the French city

The distinctive green herbal liqueur made by monks is back in vogue

Substantial comfort wines remain ideal companions until spring

Rioja expanded massively in the 1990s and at times the quality of the wine decreased.

No sign of waning popularity for this Spanish wine

Until recently, most large producers concentrated on well-known varieties that were in demand worldwide

A once-unfashionable valley has become a source of funky wines

The difference between what we pay and what people pay in other countries varied according to each wine. However, Ireland is comfortably the most expensive country in which to buy almost all of the wines I looked at

John Wilson investigates how much we pay and how much wine drinkers elsewhere are stumping up

Why should we drink Chardonnay? Well, because it is one of the world’s greatest grapes, producing some of the most complete wines.
The case for Chardonnay

Far from the mouthfuls of oak of the 1990s, this is one of the world’s greatest grapes producing the some of the most complete win(...)

The process of making gin is quicker than whiskey; no long-ageing in barrels or intricate blending of different casks is needed. Gin is all about the botanicals.

Craft gin – the coolest tipple in town – is all about the botanicals

Vineyard, San Vicente de la Sonsierra as background, La Rioja

Europe took a while to take to wine tourism, but now the options are endless

A beer called Rwanda

Each week, John Wilson selects a great beer and wine to try right now. This week: a Beer called Rwanda from Wicklow Wolf and Bénar(...)

It’s not too late
Last minute wine buys

Star buys to consider on your final shopping trolly dash

To make a sweet wine, you can add brandy to a fermenting must, as they do with fortified wines. Or you can simply stop the fermentation by chilling the wine.
Wines: The Sweetest Thing

Naturally sweet wines can be a perfect Christmas treat

Do not get stressed trying to find the perfect wine to match your Christmas dinner

Try these wines when serving up our all-star chefs’ creations in your home

Bottling the taste of Christmas is easier than you might think

Some of the most interesting wines come from just a few importers

Soft creamy cheeses tend to go with acidic wines, and that really means white wines. Tannic red wines tend to go better with hard cheeses.

The famous combination is not necessarily a match made in heaven

The Irish Whiskey Awards is now in its third year, and represents a serious attempt to reward the very best in our expanding whiskey industry

As the whiskey business expands, competition is hotting up

Germany is the third-largest producer of this variety in the world, after France and the US.

German Pinot Noir is well proven, the only problem is sourcing enough of the stuff

Martinborough is a small town, laid out in the shape of a Union Jack by its founder, Irishman John Martin, in the 19th century, on the North Island, an hour’s drive from the capital, Wellington

New Zealand winemakers have conquered the quarrelsome grape

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