Wines to transport you abroad

Last week I wrote about organic and biodynamic wines and mentioned a few “natural” wines with approval.

I admit that when natural wines arrived here (2014 is the first I can remember) I was skeptical. Not of the production methods exactly but of the religious zeal with which they were promoted, as if the philosophy behind the wine was more important than the taste. Philosophy should never be as important as taste with wine.

Natural wine, of course, often tastes delicious, but so do classic wines and we should always keep an open mind to all styles. This weekend, I’ll find out if the general public agrees with me and my sidekick David Whelehan of Whelehan’s Wines. At the Grub Circus at the All Together Now Festival in Waterford, we’ll be pitting classic wines against some of the new kids at an event called ‘Natural Born Killers’ led by Joe McNamee from that parish (Joe curated the full Grub Circus programme) .

If you’re not going to make it to the festival, I’ve recommended some of the wines below – a Graves Blanc with tropical aromas and citrus from the gravelly soils south of the city of Bordeaux, and a luscious, complex red Burgundy of La Côte Chalonnaise, one of the last affordable Burgundian villages.

As it’s a bank holiday weekend, I also have other wines to transport you to foreign climes with a fruity New Zealand rosé, a floral fruity Agiorgitiko Greek red and some dessert wines to go with all that ripe fruit end of summer in stores now.

Lidl had Greek specialties in store recently, so once again they have their Mavrodaphne and Muscat de Samos in stock again – probably the two best stickies in the country. Samos in the eastern Aegean has been famous for its wines since ancient times, while Mavrodaphni is both a grape variety and a style of fortified wine originating from the Achaia region in the northern Peloponnese. Fermented by oxidation, the latter is fortified with grape brandy before the end of fermentation (likeport), then added to a Solera system for aging.

Wine under €15

Lidl Muscat of Samos, Samos, Greece

Lidl Muscat of Samos, Samos, Greece — €9.49

Dealer: Lidl

Sourced from the cool north-facing slopes of mountain vineyards on the island of Samos, near Turkey, this wine features delicious floral aromas of Muscat with a touch of orange blossom oil, honeyed mandarin and peaches yellow on the palate, but with some spiciness and acidity on the palate. to end. Serve chilled with summer fruit or a fruit salad – apricots, peaches or strawberries will do – or perhaps a summer trifle.

Lidl Mavrodaphni from Patras, Peloponnese, Greece

Lidl Mavrodaphni from Patras, Peloponnese, Greece

Lidl Mavrodaphni from Patras, Peloponnese, Greece — €8.99

Dealer: Lidl

Mavrodaphne of Patras was first created in the 19th century, based loosely on Port (but also including a Solera aging system like Sherry. I admit I have a sweet tooth but I found this lovely, lighter than Port with ripe black cherries that put me in the spirit of real Bavarian black forest cakes Fruity and indulgent with bright sweet cherries balanced by freshness Serve chilled with chocolates (e.g. Grá ) or with summer fruits.

Lidl Duck Point Rosé, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
Lidl Duck Point Rosé, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

Lidl Duck Point Rosé, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand — €8.99

Dealer: Lidl

It arrived in Lidl stores last week alongside a Central Otago Pinot Noir – a quality region rarely found in supermarkets. Very pale salmon pink with aromas of raspberry and peach, fruity and fresh with a slight acidity — serve chilled. The Outlook Bay Pinot Noir (€11.99) on the other hand is bursting with aromas of red fruits and spicy black fruits on the palate – serve chilled for best results.

Wine More than 15 €

Dom.  Papagiannakos 'Erythros' Agiorgitiko-Cab-Sauv, 2018, Attica, Greece

Dom. Papagiannakos ‘Erythros’ Agiorgitiko-Cab-Sauv, 2018, Attica, Greece

Dom. Papagiannakos ‘Erythros’ Agiorgitiko-Cab-Sauv, 2018, Attica, Greece — €17.99

Retailers: JJ O’Driscolls, McHughs, Pinto Wines, Vintry, Corkscrew, Kellys, Blackrock Cellar, Food Store Claremorris, Barnhill Stores

From Attika in central Greece, it’s 70% agiorgitiko (St. George’s grape) with a touch of cabernet sauvignon to add weight and richness to the blackberry floral character of agiorgitiko (the most widely planted grape variety in Greece). Aromas and flavors of bramble and black cherry with pleasant sweet black fruit on the palate balanced by freshness and some cherry skin textures.

Château Crabitey Graves 2019, Bordeaux, France
Château Crabitey Graves 2019, Bordeaux, France

Château Crabitey Graves 2019, Bordeaux, France — €24.00

Retailer: Whelehans Wineswww.whelehanswines.ie

It’s one of the classic wines myself and David Whelehan will be featured at Grub Circus this weekend – chosen to focus on flavor and layers. A blend of 70% Sauvignon and 30% Sémillon with aromas of citrus, apple, guava and other tropical flavors, textured and complex with crisp freshness and pleasing weight and length and a seductive finish which offers freshness and length.

Les Hértiers Saint Genys 'Clos Marcilly 1er Cru', Mercurey 2019, Burgundy

Les Hértiers Saint Genys ‘Clos Marcilly 1er Cru’, Mercurey 2019, Burgundy

Les Hértiers Saint Genys ‘Clos Marcilly 1er Cru’, Mercurey 2019, Burgundy — €55.00

Retailer: Whelehans Wines www.whelehanswines.ie

So if the crowds of Grub Circus at ‘All Together Now’ don’t vote for this, I give up! It is simply magnificent and comes from a Monopole (single, family vineyard) planted with old vines (before 1957). Aromas of ripe cherry, blackberry and spice, layered and sumptuous with ripe red fruit mingling with subtle underbrush notes and a long finish that evolves and develops for a full minute (I counted!) .

spirit of the week

Sliabh Liag Midnight Silkie Whiskey

Sliabh Liag Midnight Silkie Whiskey

Whiskey Sliabh Liag Midnight Silkie, 46% ABV, 70cl — €46.00

Dealers: Bradley’s, Carry Out Off Blackpool & Douglas, www.sliabhliagdistillers.com/shop/, Celtic Whiskey Dublin & Killarney www.celticwhiskeyshop.com, Dicey Riley’s Ballyshannon, Independents

Donegal-based Sliabh Liag is busy recreating the taste of 19th century Donegal whiskeys, when barley was typically malted over peat. The previous version – Dark Silkie – was full of sweet apple fruit and pipe tobacco aromas, which kicks it up a notch.

The Midnight Silkie is part of the basic Silkie collection and is a blend of single malts finished in aged barrels of virgin oak and imperial stout. This has a bold peaty and smoky nose with base notes of muscovado sugar while the palate has flavors of sweet apricots, raisins and spices and a peppery, zesty finish. Try it in a Manhattan.

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