Last weekend hundreds of wine lovers gathered at the Printworks Conference Centre in Dublin Castle to taste the over 200 wines available at the O’Briens Wine Fair. Thousands of glasses were poured and all the best-sellers had well-deserved queues besides them.
But this was not just an occasion to indulge on those you know and love -which never hurts, of course- given the wide range of option the fair was a wonderful opportunity to discover different styles and enjoy some oddities that perhaps you wouldn’t take home normally from the shop but that nevertheless are interesting and worth a taste.
Among the many dozens tried on the day, here are a few picks that stood out due to something a bit out there about them…
14% AVB – 100% Grüner Veltliner – €20.95
Single vineyard grapes grown on poor soils give their best for this unusually alcoholic Austrian white.
An elegant “queen bee” with a waxy aroma and a hint of pollen covered the palate on all its nectary grace. Rich, structured and with a fuller body than many wines sharing its passport, it will make a lovely pair with lobster or rich white fish.
12% AVB – Colombard, Ugni Blanc – €12.95
Winemaker Michel Duffour shares his passion for the Colombard grape, famous for its fresh, crisp style. On this wine, the variety is blended with Ugni blanc, another often overlooked but interesting grape that aapts greatly to the Languedoc region.
This wine has a good mix of freshness and acidity, it’s quite dry and evokes small white flowers with a mineral touch. Works with goats’ cheese or shellfish dishes.
14,5% AVB – Agiorgitiko – €30.49
Greek wine -even though growing in popularity- is already rare enough in Ireland, and when it comes to Greek reds, there’s still lots to be discovered. This high-altitude vineyard varietal is a great way to start.
It’s velvety tannins and blackberry undertones are highlighted by a mild spiciness gained after one year in new French oak barrels. Rib-eye steak and lamb are suggested dishes to accompany it.
11,5% AVB – 100% Pinot Noir – €9.95
A white frizzante Pinot Noir from Italy? Why not?
This lemonade-like, pale and summery pino from Provincia di Pavi IGT is not only fantastic value, it’s a lovely wine to share on a sunny day. Easy to drink and light bodied, it has low alcohol and a delicate acidity. It’s not a complex wine and will work well with seabass, hake or grilled vegetables.
13% AVB – 100% Sauvignon Blanc – €21.45
Asparagus lovers rejoice as that will be the main character in this white sauv blanc from the Kekerengu Coast within New Zealand’s most popular wine-growing region, Marlborough.
Limestone soils add on a layer of mineral oriented flavours and the neutral yeast used for its making allow the grapes to show their true character.
13,5% AVB – 100% Tannat – €16.95
Uruguay’s flagship grape has a reputation for being on the harsh side. However, this red is intense and powerful but its tannins are smooth and pleasant.
Vanilla aromas combined with lots of ripe blackberries make the main character of this surprisingly mellow Tannat (well, for a Tannat).A lovely BBQ wine to pair with simply seasoned beef.
Gabriela’s passion for writing is only matched by her love for food and wine. Journalist, confectioner and sommelier, she fell in love with Ireland years ago and moved from Venezuela to Dublin in 2014.
Since then, she has written about and worked in the local food scene, and she’s determined to discover and share the different traditions, flavours and places that have led Irish food and drink to fascinate her.