FOOD&WINE wine writer, Raymond Blake, shares his favourite wines filling up his glass this autumn.
The gradual closing in of the evenings, noticeable but ignorable since the schools went back, receives a rapid jolt with the change of the hour at the end of this month. Shorts and skimpy summer tops, worn defiantly on recent sunny days must now be consigned to the bottom drawer of the wardrobe. Also shelved for another six months or so are rosé wines, whose allure seems to fade as the sun heads south. But a bounteous array of vinous treats awaits the savvy wine lover for whom a nip in the air is a signal to search out some warm fruit flavours. All of the following half-dozen of ‘shoulder season’ wines have fruit in abundance. The winter warmers can wait – enjoy these treats now!
Tríocha Blanc, Luberon 2016 13.5% €23.50 France
White wines from the south of France can often be clunky, with plodding flavours on the palate, which makes the first sip of this delight such a joy. It’s a blend of Grenache Blanc and Vermentino from the talented hand of Sylvain Morey. It’s clean and juicy with a mild mineral whiff, but above all it is delightfully different. There is also a sibling red, so this is a two-in-one pick as it were.
Available from: Terroirs, Donnybrook. www.terroirs.ie
Lagar de Costa, Albariño 2017 13.5% €19.95 (€16.95 on offer from 30th October) Spain
As the evenings darken there is no need to go all hearty and hefty in your wine choices – a liquid echo of summer is sometimes called for and this Albariño is just the ticket. The exuberant floral and fruit flavours alone make this a must-buy; add in a more incisive stony note that hovers in the background and you have a real winner with enduring interest.
Available from: O’Briens Wines www.obrienswine.ie/lagar-de-costa-albarino.html
Willunga 100, The Hundred Blewitt Springs, Grenache 2015 14.5% €27.99 Australia
Many 100 per cent Grenache wines are defined by sloppy sweet flavours that mask an unexpected whack of alcohol. Not this one. There’s a commendable delicacy of touch here: delicious, lingering fruit flavours take centre stage, supported by mild tannin that adds a gentle bite, and discreet acid that keeps the wine fresh right through to the finish.
Available from: Jus de Vine, Portmarnock; Blackrock Cellar; www.wineonline.ie Redmonds, Ranelagh.
(Liberty Wines www.libertywines.ie )
Fontanafredda, Raimonda Barbera d’Alba 2016 13.5% €18.00 Italy
It always strikes me as slightly unfair that, when people seek out a crisp and vibrant Italian red, their default choice is inevitably Chianti. In doing so they are missing out on one of the jewels of the Piedmont region – Barbera d’Alba. This example is vivid garnet in the glass and intense but not heavy on the palate. Cherry flavours dominate, with some spice to add complexity.
Available from: Martins, Fairview; Hole In The Wall, Blackhorse Avenue; Jerry’s, Skerries.
(Comans Beverages www.comans.ie)
Tolo do Xisto, Ribeira Sacra 2016 13.5% €23.95 Spain
As with all great wines there is a hand-in-glove fit here between grape and ground, the grape being Mencia and the ground being the Ribeira Sacra region of northwest Spain. If ever a wine could be described as ‘alive’ on the palate, this is it. There is a lean, racy quality to the fruit, interleaved with an intriguing mineral bite. In short, a treat for taste buds jaded by concentration at the expense of finesse.
Available from: O’Briens Wines www.obrienswine.ie/tolo-do-xisto.html
Mad Fish, Great Southern Pinot Noir 2016 13.5% €13.99 Australia
The Great Southern region lies in Western Australia, far removed from the better known Barossa and Hunter Valleys, and hence slightly ‘under the radar’. Don’t let that deter you. This Pinot boasts smooth and suave berry fruit with a slight smoky hint and, crucially, none of the baked jam character that mars too many new world Pinots. Best drunk slightly cool.
Available from: Drinkstore, Manor Street; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock.
(Comans Beverages www.comans.ie)
Author: Raymond Blake
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