It’s that time of year again, where the post is all bills, that we try to avoid thus leaving with only a few euros to try and make January bearable. With this in mind I popped to a few tastings and noted all the wines that punched above their weight at a price that even your bank manager will allow.
60% Colombard with 20% each of Sauvignon Blanc and Gros Manseng.
This is lovely number from one of my favourite importers, who select some great wines each year to bring to the Irish market. This particular family owned winery produces about 90% white wine.
As a result you can see the purity on the nose with aromas of pears, smoky lime, fresh laundry and light mineral edge.
On the palate this wine is clean, easy and fresh with all the aromas sliding gentling onto the palate along with gentle touches of honeysuckle and mint leaf.
This is a quality white from the South of France.
Available in-store and online from La Caveau Wine Merchants, Kilkenny
Tesco Finest* African Cheinin Blanc 2015 €12
I was surpised when I picked up this bottle, as it is made by a good friend and quality winemaker,Adi Badenhorst. My surprise was not that he was there was that in the grand scheme of things he doesn’t produce endless barrels of wine. He does make some of the best wine from the Swartland.
The nose is clean, fresh and zippy with aromas of pear drops, mint leafs, apples with a light spicy undertone.
It has a lovely palate with additional flavours of herbs and grapes with a light honey quality running through the palate.
This wine is great value at €12, a delightful Cheinin Blanc from a quality producer.
Available from Tesco €12.00
A gem I found on a very wild evening when I went to visit Whelehan Wines, a fantastic new wine shop, café and wine bar.
This is a white Rioja with a delightful nose. It has wonderful mineral touches along with floral aromas that mingle gently with some delicate nutty, citrus tones.
The aromas pop in this juicy wine. It has a soft slightly creamy body that’s well with the floral, citrus tones.
You can sip this wine solo but it will work with white fish and a simple chicken dish.
Available from Whelehan Wines.
For some they don’t want to look at another bottle of bubbles until next New Year’s eve but for some of us we can never have enough but as its January and our budgets are tight so this little number will keep us smiling.
This may be simple but it is also quite pleasant. The nose is delicate with delicate aromas of apples, pears and white blossom.
On the palate those aromas pop with the gentle but persistent effervesce. There is also a touch of sherbet which is quite pleasant and that citrus touch keeps the palate fresh.
Available from Lidl
65% Castelão, 35% Tinta Roriz, 20% Trincadeira Preta
I was really surprised how much this wine had going on with the nose. It has some deep dark fruits such as damsons and black cherries with leathery spicy touches giving it more layers.
Although it is uncomplicated wine it has plenty going on the palate too. The fruit and spice notes from the nose follow onto the palate a with the addition of violets and red berries.
This is quite an enjoyable wine and just calls out for a lazy night in with a tomato pasta dish or a pizza which will work well with the smooth medium body of this wine.
Available from O’Brien’s Wines nationwide.
Tempranillo, Bobal, Merlot, Shiraz & Garnacha
At a recent tasting held in Dublin Aldi put some of their best on show, some with a healthy price tag so when I reached this I wasn’t holding out much hope and yet it is one of the memorable ones.
It is deep, dark and brooding on the nose with aromas of leather, blueberries, blackberries and quite wild.
This wine is full, meaty you almost want to eat it. The aromas from the nose pop in amongst the violets and ripe autumnal vegetation building the wine into a big and warm animal.
I would advise decanting this wine to soften its touch and allow it open to express its full potential.
Available from Aldi €7.99
Castelao, Tinta Roriz, Syrah, Touriga Nacional
Portugal really seems to be hitting it out of the park with quality and price these days and with our love to travel, Portugal being a favourite for most we really should pay more attention. This particular wine won Old World Red Under €10 2015-2016 at the National Off Licence Association (NOFFLA)
One the nose this wine is packed with ripe bramble berries add the earthy ubnder tone and you have something a little special.
The palate carries the bramble berries along with some spice and damsons. Add the earthy undertone and a lick of liquorice giving you a really well balanced ripe fleshy wine.
Decant if possible and make sure it is at room temperature.
Available from Martin’s Off-Licence and all good Independents.
This is a modern style Chianti but made in a way that will appeal to all made by a multi award winning winemaker. It is the baby brother to the Reserva. It is a very approachable wine; I do love Italian reds so finding one that is pleasurable and well-priced can be tricky until I found this.
The nose is full of lush cherries and soft ripe dark fruit. It is clean fresh and a little brooding. It also has a hint of earthy spice mingling gently with the fruit.
It is medium bodied Chianti with a light velvety texture making it a little too easy to enjoy. This is a balanced wine with all the lovely cherries and dark fruit rolling around your palate.
This really is a super wine and I will be adding it to my shopping bag. I enjoyed it solo but it will work well with most paste dishes.
Available from O’Brien’s Wines €10.00 for January.
A delightful Portuguese wine made with traditional grapes from the mountains north of Lisboa. A wine favoured by Celebrity Chef James Martin, saying “one of the nicest reds I’ve tasted in 10 years on this show”.
This wine has clean, clear nose. It has some lovely earthy tones from the indigenous Portuguese grape varieties along with some lush fruits of the forest.
On the palate this wine is soft with a medium to full body. The earthy tones intermingle with the blackberries, blueberries, wild raspberries and faint hints of violets. This super wine is uncomplicated, well made and enjoyable.
Great solo but will pair well with steak or a meaty pizza.
Available from O’Brien’s Wines €12.99 Now €9.99 for January
Suzi is passionate about wine, beer and whiskey too, not forgetting a love of food and travel. She has been a part of this industry for a little over 10 years. She has worked on level 4 in WSET during this time and regularly hosts tastings and staff training in these sectors. She has recently started a blog on all wine, beer and spirit related beverages. You can follow her blog at suzisgrapecrush or follow Suzi on Twitter.