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Posts Tagged ‘Wine of the Week’

We opened this as a a birthday on a week night treat. We wanted bubbles, but also liked the idea of lower alcohol, and it hit the spot very nicely!

Antech, Doux Blanquette Méthode Ancestrale NV (£8.95 form the Wine Society, UK)

This wine is a bit of a throw back and is made in a more rustic way than the sophisticated Champagne method. The grapes are grown to extra ripeness and partially fermented to about 5% alcohol. The wine is then transferred to bottle where it ferments a little more, giving the fizz. Made from Mauzac, the result is an apple pie of a wine; in fact we’re going to serve an apple pie or tarte tatin next time we open a bottle! It has a real creaminess with soft and mouth-filling bubbles. Though not completely elegant and sophisticated this nonetheless oozes charm and playfulness. The flavours are dominated by apples, but we also got rich double cream, poached pears and a touch of quince plus hints of caramelisation (like you get when cooking a tarte tatin). Delicious!

In contrast to Champagne and many traditional sparkling wines this has bags of fruitiness. It is comparable with the very fruity Moscato d’Asti, which like this has naturally low alcohol. The Blanquette however has a good dollop of acidity, which comes from the Mauzac grape, to make it all the more refreshing and attractive.

Jono

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The wine of the week is a little gem: the Chateau Dereszla, Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos 2000 – in a snipe (187ml) and sells for €13.95 from Mitchells in Dublin.

You may be saying to yourself, how can they be seriously reviewing a snipe as the wine of the week? Quite simply, this is no ordinary wine.

Chateau Dereszla is from the the Hungarian region of Tokaji and this type of wine can be considered one of the great wines of the world. It is intensely sweet, but at the same time wonderfully fresh. This particular example has over 120g of sugar per litre, which makes it very sweet, and yet it is so fresh that the wine never tasted cloying or sugary. Rather it has an intenseness to the flavour: very lemony, with orange peel, marmalade and honeyed aromas and flavours from the botrytis (noble rot) that lends this character to great sweet wines. The acidity balances the sweetness perfectly and the flavours last forever.

Normally Tokaji comes in 50cl bottles which is great when sharing with a few friends, but if there is just one or two drinking (or nobody else likes sweet wine) the 187ml snipe is perfect. We had a delightful glass each while nibbling on a little cheese after dinner. A real treat.

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Harvey Nichols, Plan de Dieu, Cotes du Rhone Villages, 2008 €14.95

We had actually tried another Cotes du Rhone Villages from a different wine shop (which will remain nameless as we’re in the business of recommending not slating wines) and it wasn’t good enough to have as our wine of week. To be fair though it too was a 2008, which wasn’t a great vintage in the Rhone, with poor weather (rain and hail storms) in July and August.

This wine was a bit lighter in colour than you would expect for a southern Rhone red which probably also reflects the difficult vintage. More importantly though there was plenty of red berry and black pepper aromas with a slight herbal note.  A perfect wine for uncomplicated food; try it with steak, sausages or stew.

Well done Kelly in Harvey Nichols wine shop in Dundrum who suggested we try it.

Julie

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Oops, we’ve broken our price point slightly on this one – the rule for wine of the week is to stay under €15.00, but this was the cheapest Italian red in Fallon & Byrne on Exchequer Street, Dublin and came in at €15.99. As we had a hankering for an Italian at the time to go with our meatballs (see below), this wine gets to be our Wine of the Week!

From an area slightly less prestigious than Chianti Classico, this Chianti Rufina delivers on value and flavour. It had a lovely, juicy cherry flavour which was balanced with fine, and slightly rustic tannins. This gave the wine a delightful character and was perfect with the Meatballs.

I am sure this would have been a few Euro more if from Chianti Classico as it had personality and good levels of fruit.

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From The Corkscrew on Chatham Street (off Grafton St in Dublin): three guys who are passionate about their wines!

This is one they import themselves and I can see why: it has a fullness and roundness to the body and fruit while balancing a real easiness of drinking. The flavours and aromas of grapefruit and apple meld well with the fullness and juiciness to give a delightful wine that works very well with winter dishes of chicken and turkey, but equally on its own too. €14.95 and well worth it .

Jono

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This week we went to Oddbins in Blackrock village while walking home from work in the really bad snow. We unfairly put the staff under pressure, and the poor shop assistant even gave us a wine out of her Christmas box – thanks a mill!

We also don’t usually chill our reds in snow before drinking, but the photo opportunity, and the abundant snow in Dublin, begged for this photo.

To the wine: classically new world in that the fruit is wonderfully ripe with a little lift from slightly higher alcohol (compared to Burgundy, where Pinot Noir finds its greatest expression). The aromas and flavours are predominately cherries and summer berries and it has a nice juiciness and medium weight. The best thing is the balance and freshness which makes this wine effortless to drink and yet interesting and flavoursome.

Don’t serve with a big, meaty stew, rather this wine would be great with lighter meats, like Christmas turkey and ham .. the shop assistant would have had a nice wine for the big day ahead (now I feel guilty). It also went particularly well with barbecued sausages and champ; see right.

We paid €14.99 but don’t rush out as we think Oddbins may not have this in stock again until after Christmas.


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This week a wine found in Tesco – normally €23.49 but on offer for €15 (and so it qualifies for our wine of the week slot!)

We had some trepidation over this wine as we are a little biassed against big brands of which Wolf Blass is one – the cheaper level wines tend to be a big and brash and have much less attention to detail and the sense of place the grapes have been grown. We like to see a little individuality and personality in the wines we drink.

The Gold Label signifies a step up from the masses and we agree, this is sophisticated, balanced and not without charm. Would we pay full price – probably not – but for €15 it is a steal.

This would go perfectly with creamy chicken dishes; a full-bodied and yet soft and low-acid wine with flavours of yellow apples and toast. It maintains freshness through well judged winemaking techniques (battonage) and the result is very pleasant. A well balanced, well made, clever wine.

Jono

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