Wine and fashion- what do these two things have in common? I am guessing a lot more than you can imagine! We’re all quite familiar with the words ‘trends’, ‘fads’ and ‘limited release’ in the fashion industry but believe it or not, these expressions are extremely common in the wine industry too. You are either in vogue or so passé.
During the many years I’ve been working in the wine trade (I’m not that old, I just started young!) I have witnessed the rise and fall of many grape varieties and wine regions. There was a time when we could not get enough of the full-bodied oaky New World Chardonnay; but then dismissing it almost overnight; we cried ABC (Anything but Chardonnay!)
Quickly we moved on to something new, but it wasn’t Merlot, Miles the main character from the movie Sideways radically turned the World off Merlot. His lover affair with Pinot Noir intrigued our senses. What did we do? We pleaded for this delicate grape variety and the Californians obliged, Pinot Noir production increased by 170%.
Then along came sparkling wine, bubbles are no longer just for special occasions; they are now an everyday wine for a lot of people. How about the craze for rosé wine this summer, it was unprecedented; ‘A glass of Whispering Angel darling?’, is what everyone was asking their guests!
All the rage right now are the grape varieties Picpoul, Albarino, Godello, Mencia, Monastrell and Argentinean Malbec. If this is news to you then take my advice, they are definitely worth exploring! Then, there are, of course, those timeless classics that never date and are always in style.
You see, unlike fashion, wine cannot be produced and ready to sell in a matter of weeks because of social media hype or a celebrity endorsement. Some of us are already noticing that with the shortage of ‘Pol Roger’ champagne which was Meghan and Harry’s toast of choice at their recent wedding. Now, whatever is left on the shelf in your local wine merchant is the last there will be for a while.
Passionate winemakers are searching for ancient vines that can be resurrected. They are also exploring lesser known regions in the hope of discovering arid land, hidden treasure, capable of producing top class wine. These findings can create fantastic opportunities and excitement for the wine drinkers seeking character and expression from our wines.
So, we see how trends and fads can impact our desires and purchases, however, the wines I have chosen to feature this month are more like that little black dress or a tailored suit, a timeless piece you will never bore of. They are all different styles, something to suit everyone, whatever body type you are into.
Astrolabe Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Known for their elegant Sauvignon Blancs, Jane & Simon Waghorn, are highly respected winemakers who have an international reputation for producing high-class wines in Marlborough.
A thirst quencher with pronounced aromas of gooseberry and citrus fruits which jump from the glass. Leading onto a fresh, crisp wine displaying the purity of fruit; lemon, lime, notes of pineapple and citrus zest on the palate, mouth-watering acidity with a medium body and dry mineral notes on the finish. A truly elegant modern classic. Fantastic on its own or as an aperitif, with seafood, rocket salad with feta cheese or Asian cuisine.
Stockists: Available exclusively in O’Brien’s Off Licences Nationwide Approx. Price €19.95
Cantina Zaccagnini DOC Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2016
Better known as “Twiggy, due to the piece of vine tied on it, a unique and memorable bottle, as are its contents. This Montepulciano (grape variety) is brick red in colour, with aromas of mixed cherries and plums. The palate is dry, packed with sour cherry, red plum and herbs. More complex than most Montepulicano’s it has a rich medium body with soft smooth tannins. It is relatively light in alcohol and the grapes naturally high acidity makes this wine the perfect accompaniment for tomato-based dishes and antipasti. Extremely versatile, a crowd-pleasing style, a great wine to have for an Italian themed dinner party.
Stockists: Dollard & Co; Fresh Supermarkets; Higgins Off Licence; Hole In The Wall; Joyces Supermarkets, Galway; Jus De Vin, Portmarnock; Martins, Fairview; Mortons, Ranelagh; Nolans Supermarket; Number 21 Off Licence, Cork; Sweeneys, Glasnevin; The Wine Centre, Kilkenny; Number 21 Off Licences, Cork & All Good Independent Off Licences Nationwide. Approx. Price €17.99
Zenato DOC Valpolicella Superiore Ripassa 2013
Valpolicella is a blend of three grapes; Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara (the more Corvina the better quality). Zenato are one of the best producers in the Veneto region. Ripasso wine is made by re-fermenting Valpolicella wine on the lees and grape skins of Amarone wine, creating a richer more complex style wine.
On the nose, the wine shows juicy ripe sweet cherries, plums, figs and notes of spiced autumn fruit compote. Complex layers of ripe fruit flavours and hints of orange peel are echoed on the palate. A structured yet soft wine with fine tannins and a kick of warm alcohol. A superb wine with a full-bodied rich lingering finish. Ideally enjoyed with rich stews, casseroles, braised meats or hard mature cheese.
Stockists: Corkscrew, D2; D-Six Wine, Harold’s Cross; Higgins, Clonskeagh; Lilac Wines, Fairview; Lord Mayor’s Off Licence; Martins, Fairview; McHugh’s Off Licences; Mortons, Ranelagh; Nectar Wines, Sandyford; Nolans Supermarket, Clontarf; Swans on the Green, Naas; Searsons, Monkstown; Sweeney’s, Glasnevin. Approx. Price €25.00
Museum Real Reserva DO Cigales 2012
An up and coming wine area is the lesser known Cigales region at the heart of the Castilla y Leon in Spain. The winemakers at Finca Museum are pioneers of their trade, crafting delicious wines of very high calibre. Showing fantastic promise and potential from these very old vines, Cigales is a place to watch.
Made from 100% Tempranillo grapes from over 70-year-old vines. This wine has spent 2 years in French oak barrels which benefits the wine in terms of quality and complexity. The nose has earthy red fruits and vanilla along with hints of spices and herb. On the palate, there is a burst of black fruits along with currants, liquorice and chocolate. There is a long velvety smooth finish; this wine would match superbly with game or meat dishes.
Also, very worthy of a mention is Museum’s baby brother Finca “Vinea” DO Cigales which has less oak ageing but is equally a fabulous wine, I personally think I prefer this wine.
Stockists: Baggot Street Wines, D2; Drinkstore, Stoneybatter; Higgins, Clonskeagh; Karwig Wines; Lilac Wines; McHugh’s Off Licences; Mortons, Ranelagh; O’Donovan’s Cork; Sweeney’s, Glasnevin; The Vintry, Rathgar; World Wide Wines, Waterford. Approx. Price €24.95
Hi, I am Lynda Coogan owner of Wine Tasting Ireland, I am delighted to be part of The Taste team where I can passionately share my love and knowledge of wine with you. I hold a WSET Diploma in wine, I have ten years’ experience in the wine trade and I am a member of the Guild of Sommeliers. Wine Tasting Ireland, specialises in hosting fun, interactive wine tastings for groups. I believe that by going back to basics, wine can be appreciated by everyone, a little knowledge goes a long way! We come to you, bring all that’s needed to set up a unique, bespoke wine tasting event in your offices, your home or any venue. They are ideal for team building at work, a social gathering or a special occasion. I would love to hear from you, so please get in touch.