April brings with it a sea-change here in Ireland: Easter, the end of Lent, the clocks going forward (technically the weekend before, but hey), and with all that the most tangible effects of spring yet. Below I’ve recommended various wines with which to mark the various notable moments we’ll be experiencing this month – enjoy!
Something For… Celebrating the End of Lent
Easter finally means the end of Lent, and for many people booze was the treat that got the cut during this annual occasion of abstinence, so what better way to break Lent than with something bubbly? Try this sparkling from Cono Sur, one of Chile’s most reliable producers. Coming from the Bío Bío region, one of the most southerly wine-making areas in the world, Cono Sur Sparkling is made up of the that world-famous Champagne pairing of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Expect honey and white flowers over a crisp and refreshing palate. Oh, and the bottle is pretty sexy.
Something For… The Start of Spring (White)
Now that the sun is showing itself more, what better way to celebrate than quaffing a wine named after it? Vina Sol, from the famous Torres winery in Catalonia, is their ever-popular white that has been going strong now for the 60 years since its inception. Always a consistent crowd-pleaser, expect white floral aromas with fennel and some approachable tropical fruit flavours. Olé!
Something For… The Start of Spring (Red)
What struck me first about this beautiful wine was not just the eye-catching label but also the gorgeously complex floral aromas that leapt out of the glass, followed by a supple, silky palate with a perfect enough acidity at the end. Expect rose on the nose then something more akin to Turkish Delight on the palate, amongst lots of other delicious flavours.
This is made 100% from Graciano, a very under-looked grape that normally is only blended with its more famous kin Tempranillo. When handled like this I’m amazed there’s not more of it available – this really is a show-stopper. What’s more the wine is organic too, always a bonus when the wine is this good.
Something For… The Easter Lunch
Easter means lamb, and as far as wine is concerned lamb means Pinot Noir. I tasted this recently at the Ely Big Tasting and liked it a lot. It’s a typically New World, perfumed Pinot with juicy red fruit flavours backed by just the right amount of toasty oak and acidity.
Delta are interesting in that they specialise in Pinot Noir first and Sauvignon Blanc second, something that is generally antithetical to the established New Zealand way of doing things. In addition to that they’ve only 3 wines in their portfolios: two red and one white, so when they mention ‘specialised’ and ‘boutique’ here they’re not lying!
Something From… Argentina
The 2015 Argentine Wine Fair takes place on Wednesday 16th April, a day before World Malbec Day, so it would be remiss of me not to feature a wine from the country in this month’s piece.
The Andean Vineyards Malbec I wrote about last month’s Taste edition would be a great place to start (had I not already featured it!), but I also have a soft spot for the Masi ‘Passo Doble’ from the Tupungato.
I’ve mentioned Masi a couple of times before, but this is a wine from their Argentinean outpost, one of the few (if any) Italian wineries to do so. It’s a true blend of Argentina and Italy, mixing both Malbec and the native Venetian grape Corvina, the latter traditionally featuring heavily in the wines from Valpolicella.
The Corvina is semi-dried on bamboo racks to intensify the flavours – what’s called appassimento in the Veneto – adding a rich, soft mouthfeel with cherry and red berry flavours to the Malbec’s slightly more tannic chocolate and plums.
Richie Magnier blogs under the pseudonym The Motley Cru at www.themotleycru.com and @motleycruwine on Twitter. He has been involved in the Irish wine industry for almost seven years and holds a WSET Advanced Level 3 Certificate.