Red or white? Green. Four Irish wine producers and their wines

Celebrate St Patrick’s Day with these excellent, ageworthy wines

The number of Irish wine producers continues to expand. I have featured Róisín Curley (Burgundy), Sinéad and Liam Cabot (Slovenia), Mick O’Connell (Sardinia) and Killian Horan (Rhône) before.

As we approach Saint Patrick’s Day here are four more very different Irish wine producers and their wines.

Deirdre O’Brien, from Edenderry in Co Offaly met her Italian partner Maurizio Caffer in Dublin. “On holiday we stumbled across this place by chance; there was something about it spoke to us, and we bought it without having a clear idea of what we were going to do.”

This valley in Monferrato in Piemonte had been abandoned after the second World War and was completely overgrown. The region had a history of viticulture, so along with various fruit and vegetables, they planted 3.5 hectares of vines, all farmed biodynamically. The grapes are local: Slerina, Grignolino and Nebbiolo.

“It is very satisfying work; we both love working with our hands. With biodynamics you are always out there observing and creating a living soil.” Their Cascina Val Liberata Grignolino features below.

In 2001 Irish businessman Lochlann Quinn bought Grand Cru Classé Château de Fieuzal, one of the leading properties of Pessac-Léognan, in Bordeaux. Since then he and his wife Brenda have built a new cellar and improved the wines further. Their son Darragh Quinn is now estate manager.

All of the wines are excellent and ageworthy including the "second" wine l'Abeille de Fieuzal; the white Abeille has always been a favourite of mine  (available for €49 from 64 Wine, Kelly's Clontarf, Barnhill Stores and Wineonline.ie) and the red grand vin, featured below, is a star.

This Saint Patrick’s Day is an appropriate time to salute one of the great Irish wine geese, Anthony Barton, who passed away recently aged 91. Born in Straffan House (now the Kildare Hotel and Country Club), Barton was a true gentleman with a relaxed manner and a keen sense of humour. His daughter Lillian Sartorius Barton and her children continue to run the business very successfully. Many wine shops stock one or both of their great Châteaux, Langoa and Léoville-Barton, or the more recently acquired Château Mauvesin-Barton. All offer great value for money in relative terms.

Les Deux Cols is an estate in the Rhône owned by Simon Tyrrell, Gerard Maguire and Charles Derain, all Irish or long-time residents of this country. They produce an excellent range of wines, including the Ô Font below.

Lastly, an Irish wine author. Wine lovers will be familiar with Raymond Blake’s previous two works, Breakfast in Burgundy and Cote d’Or.  Last month, Blake released a third book, Wine Talk, his lockdown oeuvre, a fascinating, funny, opinionated and lovingly written take on everything to do with wine.

Wine Talk (Skyhorse) is available from bookshops and online

Ô Font 2020, Côtes du Rhône, Les Deux Cols 14%, €16 A very attractive medium-bodied wine with smooth, succulent, dark cherry fruits, and a touch of spice, finishing with a flourish. A good all-rounder to drink alongside most white or red meats. Try it with a roast or baked Mediterranean vegetables.

From 64wine, Glasthule, 64wine.ie; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock, jusdevine.ie; Baggot Street Wines, D4, baggotstreetwines.com; Clontarf Wines, D3, Clontarfwines.ie; Deveney's, D14, Deveneys.ie; Drinkstore, D7, drinkstore.ie; Ely Wine Store, Maynooth; elywinebar.ie; Green Man Wines, D6, greenmanwines.ie; The Malt House, Trim; Mortons of Galway, Mortonsofgalway.ie; Neighbourhood Wine, D4, Dun Laoghaire, Bray, Neighbourhoodwine.ie; SIYPS.com; Stationtostationwine.ie.

Anarkoide Vino Rosso 2020, Cascina Val Liberata (Biodynamic) 12.5%, €24

Made from Grignolino, a local speciality, this has a lively refreshing acidity woven into the light crunchy fruits; Mouth-watering tart raspberries and plums that draw you back to the glass again and again. The sort of red wine the Italians call goloso. Perfect with salumi, pizza, and fresh tomato-based pasta dishes.

From Sheridan's Cheesemongers, D2, Kells, Co. Meath, Galway, sheridanscheesemongers.com; SIYPS.com; The Fumbally, D8; The Fumbally.ie; Lennox Street Grocer, D8, Lennoxstreet.ie.

Château Mauvesin-Barton 2018, Moulis-en-Médoc 13.5%, €30-€35

A delicious, very keenly-priced Bordeaux available in several vintages. The 2018 has rippling, smooth, elegant dark fruits, with a minty touch and well-integrated tannins.

From Higgins, Clonskeagh, Higginsofflicence.ie; McHughs, D5, mchughs.ie; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock, jusdevine.ie; Redmonds, D6; Redmonds.ie; Searsons, Monkstown, searsons.com; Thomas's of Foxrock,thomasoffoxrock.ie; Donnybrook Fair, donnybrookfair.ie; Select O'Briens, Obrienswine.ie; Greenacres, Wexford, Greenacres.ie.

Château de Fieuzal 2015, Grand Cru Classé 2015, Pessac-Léognan 13.5%, €70-€75

A sumptuous maturing fresh Bordeaux with generous ripe blackcurrants, classic Pessac-Léognan notes of tobacco, and fine tannins on the finish. Keep it for 10 years or enjoy now. Perfect with a roast of lamb or beef.

From Morganswine.ie; Select O'Briens, Obrienswine.ie; Greenacres, Wexford, Greenacres.ie; The Corkscrew, D2, thecorkscrew.ie.; Mitchell & Son, D1, Sandycove, and Avoca, Kilmacanogue & Dunboyne, mitchellandson.com.

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