Last Wednesday 1st of March we attended the annual Liberty Wines Tasting. The event, held in Fallon & Byrne, allowed us to taste a combination of new arrivals as well as some of the most popular bottles in the company’s portfolio.
The tasting was a great display of all that’s buzzing in the Irish wine scene, and you’ll see below five wine trends that we appreciated on the day and wine lovers across the country are likely to see more of this year.
While red Spanish wines from Rioja, Ribera del Duero and other regions are a stable of most wine shops and menus, the amount of white wine options available is only getting bigger. Regions such as Rias Baixas and Rueda lead the parade, with white Riojas as an interesting different face of the popular region.
Montañar, Organic Verdejo 2014
Fresh and with lively aromas of citrus and green tropical fruits such as melon and kiwi.
A light bodied and balanced white from Tierra de Castilla, Castilla-La Mancha.
With the global thirst for wines from California only getting stronger, it made sense to stumble into a wide array of options from Napa and beyond. Chardonnay and Zinfandel were the main attractions, but Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and even Chenin Blanc were quite amusing supporting acts.
Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc/Viognier 2014
White peaches and apple blossom combine in this medium bodied white from Napa Valley.
On the palate, juicy ripe lemons and a moderate acidity combine with its floral charm.
While Mediterranean countries are ubiquitous in Irish wine lists, several up and coming regions up north and east of the France-Italy-Spain triumvirate were present and shinning on the tasting tables. Wine from Croatia, Slovenia and Hungary caught our eyes and captivated our palates.
Gasper Malvazija 2014
A.k.a. Malvasia, the grape thrives in the Slovenian region of Goriška Brda, and becomes this delicate and mouth watering wine.
Juicy nectarines, lemon zest and acacia delight both on the nose and on the palate.
British wine is just getting better and while there’s still a huge potential to be fulfilled, English bubbles have already stood their ground and won international acclaim. Made with the Traditional Method, this fizz is going for the high end market and it’s a welcome alternative to Champagne, Cava and New World bubblys.
Balfour Leslie’s Reserve
Made with the same trio that combines for Champagne 55% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay and 5% Pinot Meunier.
This elegant sparkling follows the Traditional Method and offers a very lively fizz with persistent bubbles and aromas of crisp green apple and butter biscuits.
Speaking of bubbles, Italy’s most popular might be Prosecco, but Franciacorta was the one that earned our praise on the tasting. Made with Traditional Method, Franciacorta is closer to Champagne than to Prosecco (made with the Tank Method) and it offers more complexity and elegance than most spumantes.
Bellavista Alma Gran Cuvée Brut
Mostly from Chardonnay with some Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc, it offered a gorgeous combination of white flowers, vanilla and citrus fruits.
The pleasant toastiness of a touch of oak completed the taste, delivered by feisty, unstoppable bubbles.
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.