Four wines from local vintners to savour this Christmas
Priced from €12.95 to €18.50, this selection of red and white wines offers real value for money
Four wines to try over the festive season
This Christmas will be different. Everyone is saying it. Many of us will be having much smaller celebratory feasts, possibly just for two people. So how can we enjoy a glass of sparkling wine before sitting down, followed by a glass of white, before moving on to red? Wine begins to deteriorate once opened.
As a general rule, red wines keep longer than white, and sweet and fortified wines last longest of all. Good-quality sparkling wine keeps its fizz for a few hours, longer if you have a stopper, but it still loses some of that refreshing frothiness.
I am fortunate in having a Coravin, a device that allows me to pour as much wine as I need without pulling the cork. It doesn’t work with synthetic corks and the cost, €200-€350, will be prohibitive for many. I usually simply recork any leftover wine and we finish it the following day. There may be a slight loss of aroma, but it is usually perfectly drinkable.
The other option is half-bottles. Some wine shops have a decent range. My enlightening nationwide survey seemed to show that Whelehans, 64wine, Marks & Spencer and O’Briens have the best range, including half-bottles of Champagne. O’Briens, for instance, has halves of their very good Beaumont des Crayères Champagne.
However, you will usually pay a premium for a half-bottle and the range will always be less than for full bottles. One solution is to buy a half-bottle, and once finished, use it to store future leftovers for a few days. Keeping red or white chilled will help preserve it too.
One of my treats is a decent bottle of wine. I have recently bought several mixed cases of wine in the €12-€20 price bracket. Most were Spanish, but I also enjoyed Portuguese, French, Italian, Austrian and Slovenian wines. I go for medium-bodied fruity red and white wines with 13-13.5% alcohol as these make the best all-purpose wines to go with just about any dish you are cooking.
Talking to a few small retailers and importers, business has been very unpredictable over the past few weeks, with many worried about what January will bring. So, if you want to have a decent selection of wine available to you in the future, now is the time to shop local (or online) at a good independent wine shop. The four wines featured here are all available from local wine shops and offer real value for money.
Les Secrets de Sophie 2019, Touraine Sauvignon Blanc
13%, €12.95 down from €16.68
I have featured this wine before, but the new 2019 vintage is a real step up in quality. Lightly aromatic with fresh toothsome green fruits, a twist of lemon zest and a clean dry finish. Try this with grilled white fish, smoked salmon, or goat’s cheese salads.
Stockists: O’Briens, obrienswine.ie.
Dinamica Branco 2019, Bairrada, Filipa Pato, Portugal Biodynamic, vegan
Expressive green fruit aromas, some very seductive light fruits, and a lingering, crisp, dry finish. A delightful wine with real finesse. This would be perfect solo, and even better with all manner of lighter seafood dishes.
Stockists: Margagh, Howth; 64wine, Glasthule, 64wine.com; Lilliput Stores, Dublin 7, lilliputstores.com; D-Six Wines, Dublin 6; peggykellys.ie; Loose Cannon, Dublin 2, loosecannon.ie; Baggot Street Wines, Dublin 4, baggotstreetwines.com; Clontarf Wines, D3, clontarfwines.ie;siyps.com; Blackrock Cellar, Blackrock, blackrockcellar.com; Bradleys Off-licence, Cork, bradleysofflicence.ie; First Draft Coffee & Wine, Dublin 8, firstdraftcoffeandwine.com; Green Man Wines, Dublin 6, greenmanwines.ie; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock, jusdevine.ie; Martin’s Off Licence, Dublin 3, martinsofflicence.ie; Sweeneys D3, sweeneysd3.ie.
Mas Las Cabes 2019, Côtes du Roussillon, Organic
A charming medium-bodied wine with generous, rounded, ripe red fruits and light tannins on the finish. You could drink this alongside most red and white meats, as well as most vegetarian dishes featuring beans and tomatoes.
Stockists: Wines Direct, Mullingar, and Arnotts, Dublin 1, winesdirect.ie
Brezo Mencía 2018, Bierzo, Spain
Plump, juicy, ripe dark fruits with a savoury, mineral bite. This would suit a wide variety of dishes over the coming weeks, including turkey.
Stockists: Sheridan’s Cheesemongers, Dublin 2, Kells, Co Meath, Galway, sheridanscheesemongers.com; Green Man Wines, Dublin 6, greenmanwines.ie; Eleven Deli, Greystones, elevendeli.ie; Red Nose Wines, Clonmel, rednosewine.com; Margadh, Howth, margadhfoodandwine.ie.