Summer wines are trickling in – and Aldi’s €7.99 Pinot is a steal

It’s been difficult to source supplies and get deliveries but there’s now no shortage of exciting wines

Light and refreshing summer wines

Light and refreshing summer wines

 

It has been 15 months since I last attended a wine tasting. Usually at this time of year, my notebooks bulge with scribbled entries on new wines I have tasted over the preceding three months. During lockdowns some wine companies were more proactive with journalists than others, so I have been receiving regular supplies of bottles, mini-bottles and sachets of wine. 

Most of the multiples seem to have been less active than usual, offering a more limited range of summer wines, with the exception of SuperValu and O’Briens who have in excess of 40 new wines coming in over the next few weeks.

It has, of course, been difficult to source wines, with no wine fairs and both travel and transport disrupted. Many of the independent importers have overcome these obstacles so there is certainly no shortage of new and exciting wines for us to enjoy.

This week, a few white wines that are new to the market. Alsace Pinot Blanc seems to be having a bit of a moment. Last autumn SuperValu offered the excellent Gustave Lorentz for a limited period; now O’Briens has brought in the very attractive Kuentz Bas (€18.95/€16.95) and Aldi has added the wine featured here to its range. Pinot Blanc can be fairly neutral at times, but the better examples have a lovely fresh, subtle pure fruit that make them ideal for summer drinking.

Greece seems to be gaining traction with Irish consumers. The Corkscrew in Dublin 2 forwarded a few new arrivals recently, including the excellent Zambaratas Xynisteri (€28.95) from Cyprus. It would certainly be winner of the most esoteric name award, although it was one of six very good Greek wines I tasted from various importers. If you want esoteric, I also tried a very good Chardonnay from Henry of Pelham based in the Niagara peninsula in Canada. 

Pioneering wine bar Ely now has a retail outlet in Maynooth, delivering nationwide. It has a very impressive range of new Spanish wines, including a favourite of mine from a few years back, the Picarana Albillo Real (€24) from Bodega Marañones in Madrid.

Among the new wines from O’Briens will be a range from Australian wine producer Penfolds (Grange for €650 a bottle anyone?), a rosé from Gaia in Greece and four zero alcohol wines from Arjolle in the Languedoc. 

Aligoté has always played second fiddle to Chardonnay in Burgundy, with the exception of one or two producers, such as Domaine de Villaine. Sylvain Pataille, one of the rising stars of Burgundy, is responsible for the delectable wine featured here. Look out, too, for his marvellous red wines with their distinctive purple labels.

Pierre Jaurent Alsace Pinot Blanc 2019
12.5%, €7.99
Appealing fresh green fruits and crisp acidity that quench the thirst without stretching the finances. Drink before dinner, or with fried plaice or sea bass. Stockist: Aldi, aldi.ie

Guerrieri Rizzardi Lugana, Veneto Italy, 2020
12%, €14.95 reduced from €18.95, until July 18th
New to O’Briens, I suspect this will be a runaway success; very more-ish textured succulent red apple fruits with a lively citrus note. Perfect on its own, or with stir-fried prawns. Stockists: O’Briens, Obrienswine.ie    

Colli Tortonesi Bianco 2019 Oltretorrente
13%, €23.95
A perfect balance of rich and fresh, with delectable, luscious late summer fruits and a crisp mineral acidity. Try it with a crab salad or a plate of oysters.
Stockists: Baggot Street Wines, D4, baggotstreetwines.com; This is It, Ennistymon, thisisitennisytmon.com; Loose Canon, D2, loosecanon.ie; Sweeneys D3, sweeneysd3.ie; Lilliput Stores, D7, lilliputstores.com; Fish Shop, D7, fish-shop.ie; Fine Wine & Food Co, Athlone. 

Sylvain Pataille Bourgogne Aligoté 2019 
12%, €27.50
A wonderful atypical Aligoté, richly textured with ripe exotic fruits and a crisp mineral backbone. It was very good alongside my linguini with clams. 
Stockists: Pinto Wines, D9, pintowines.ie; Baggot Street Wines, D4, baggotstreetwines.com; This is It, Ennistymon, thisisitennisytmon.com; Loose Canon, D2, loosecanon.ie; Love Supreme, D7, lovesupreme.ie; Thenudewineco.ie; Martin’s Off Licence, D3, martinsofflicence.ie; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock, jusdevine.ie.

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