Four all-purpose red wines perfect for your summer staycation
Three reasonably priced, medium-bodied reds plus a splash of Galician indulgence
Four bottles of red to take on a staycation; (from L-R) Tolo do Xisto 2016 Ribeira Sacra, Clos Lojen Bobal 2019, Portela do Vento, Daterra Viticultores, Vticultura de Montaña 2018 and Cantina di Nizza, `Le Pole` Barbera d’Asti 2018.
This year we will embark on two mini-staycations, both to parts of the country without a good wine shop. Usually I would buy my wine in the nearest independent as part of a shop local strategy, but this year I will stock up before departure. I have covered online companies several times recently. Remember as well that just about every wine shop will be happy to deliver a case of wine to any part of the country if your boot is already full of holiday luggage.
I will have a lot of fun putting together a mixed case of red and white and possibly include a few rosé or two. Most will fall into the €15-20 price bracket – wines with a bit of interest that won’t stretch the holiday budget too much. These will be all-purpose wines, light enough to drink on their own but with enough body to go with most foods. So really I am looking at medium-bodied wines with plenty of fruit and not too high in alcohol, nor too tannic either. As I will be on holiday I will certainly indulge myself once or twice with something special - such as the Portela do Vento among the bottles of the week.
In my case, I will certainly add a few bottles of Beaujolais, the perfect holiday wine, and one of my favourites for any occasion. Beyond that, look to Syrah, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Rioja, Mencía, lighter Côtes du Rhône, Loire reds, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo or Rosso Piceno, but just about every region produces an all-purpose wine of some sort.
I will probably avoid tannic Bordeaux, and Nebbiolo from Piemonte, and any very alcoholic wines such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The only exception to this rule is sherry. I will certainly pack a bottle of fino to sip, nicely chilled, as the sun goes down.
In addition to the wines below, I also came across three more full-bodied reds, the Burro Loco (€14.95, Mitchell & Son) and the Señorío de Iniesta Petit Verdot 2018 (€14.95, BoutiqueWines.ie) and Oveja Tinto Graciano (€15, independents). If you intend firing up the barbecue coals on holiday, any of these would be great with all sorts of robust grilled red meats.
Although this is not work strictly speaking, I will try to seek out a few new wines that I haven’t tried before, where possible from less familiar grapes or regions. This week I have chosen three sub-€20 all-purpose red wines to enjoy on a staycation, plus one indulgence. Three come from Spain, which is hardly surprising given the combination of great value and real interest the country offers. Two are from Ribeira Sacra in Galicia, a magical region that is producing some wonderful wines. Next week I will suggest some staycation white wines.
Clos Lojen Bobal 2019, Bodegas Poncé, Manchuela (Organic)
One of my lockdown wines; a delightful fresh medium-bodied wine bursting with fresh juicy dark fruits and light tannins on the finish. Drink it solo, or with all kinds of pasta, vegetable or meat dishes.
From: Baggot Street Wines, Dublin 4, baggotstreetwines.com; Blackrock Cellar, Blackrock, blackrockcellar.com; Clontarf Wines, Dublin 3, Clontarfwines.ie; Green Man Wines, Dublin 6, greenmanwines.ie; 64wine, Glasthule, 64wine.com; Redmonds, Dublin 6, Redmonds.ie; Searsons, Monkstown, searsons.com; Sweeneys D3, sweeneysd3.ie; Listons, Dublin 2, listonsfoodstore.ie; Drinkstore, Dublin 7, drinkstore.ie; D-Six Wines, Dublin 6; peggykellys.ie; Loose Canon, Dublin 2, loosecanon.ie; The Delgany Grocer, Delgany; The Fumbally, Dublin 8; The Wicklow Wine Co, Wicklow, wicklowwineco.ie; The Wine Centre, Kilkenny, Thewinecentre.ie.
Cantina di Nizza, `Le Pole` Barbera d’Asti 2018
Smooth dark cherry fruits with a touch of spice and a dry finish. The perfect all-rounder to serve with most foods. Best with grilled or roast white meats, but big enough to take on a steak.
From: Jus de Vine, Portmarnock, jusdevine.ie; Baggot Street Wines, Dublin 4, baggotstreetwines.com; Blackrock Cellar, Blackrock, blackrockcellar.com; The Corkscrew, Dublin 2, thecorkscrew.ie; Dwan’s Off-licence, Dublin 16; McHughs, Dublin 5, mchughs.ie; Red Nose Wines, Clonmel, rednosewine.com; The Fat Angel, Waterford; wineonline.ie.
Tolo do Xisto 2016 Ribeira Sacra
13.5%, €18.95 down from €23.95
Lip-smacking ripe red cherry fruits with a lovely savoury streak, a light herbal note and soft tannins on the finish. A great all-rounder that shines with grilled duck breast, or a barbecued burger.
From: O’Briens, obrienswine.ie
Portela do Vento, Daterra Viticultores, Vticultura de Montaña 2018
An exquisite silky elegant wine filled with delicate dark cherry and damson fruits. Succulent, fresh and delicious. It went perfectly with our pork chops but chicken, salmon tuna or salads would all be great.