Wine with Leslie Williams

Wine with Leslie Williams

I have a few things to report on this week but in particular I want to talk about a re-tasting of the wines of Mandrarossa, an excellent Sicilian producer I mentioned first a year ago. 

Mandrarossa is the premium label of the Cantine Settesoli Co-Op based near Menfi on the western coast of Sicily with grapes sourced from the rolling hills overlooking the Mediterranean with Tunisia in the distance.

This is an ideal place to grow grapes with a mix of suitable soils, relatively mild temperatures, good sunlight and elevation, cooling sea breezes and good diurnal differences (day-night temperatures) to help with acidity. I picked out some wines below to try but I also want to talk about two new terroir-driven wines named after their contrada, a vineyard sub-division perhaps best understood as an Italian version of the French term lieu-dit.

With holidays over and autumn officially here, all the supermarkets have wine sales and special offers. Aldi has already begun some seasonal specials and price reductions in wines from its regular range. Dunnes and SuperValu have French wine sales in early September and I’ll have more on its selections next week but I do include a tasty Beaujolais below as an example.

Meanwhile, Champagne house Moet et Chandon is celebrating 150 years since the first release of its flagship Brut Impérial NV. There is a new commemorative bottle and a presentation box and is exclusive to SuperValu for €58.

I will be doing a Moet and smoked salmon wine tasting at Electric Picnic this weekend at the Theatre of Food so do come along if you are reading this somewhere in a field in Laois. If not, text anyone you know to head over to the Mind Field for lots of food and drink demos and tastings.

BEST VALUE UNDER €15

Mandrarossa Grillo Costadune, Sicilia DOC - €14.95

Wine with Leslie Williams

Stockists: Ardkeen Waterford; JJ O’Driscals Cork; 1601 Kinsale; Cashel Wine Cellar; Eldon’s Clonmel.

Grillo was once a workhorse grape grown primarily for Marsala. These days it is being replanted and is generally reliable as Sicily’s fruity, floral everyday white wine. This has lemon oil and white flower aromas, fleshy and soft on the palate with texture and balancing citrusy crisp acidity.

The Fire Tree Reserva Sicilia DOC - €9.99

Wine with Leslie Williams

Stockist: Aldi

Aldi has some autumn specials starting this week including this solid Sicilian which has big dark fruit and raisin aromas, full-bodied, full-flavoured and ripe with lingering red and dark berry notes. Also watch for reductions in the Exquisite Collection, a new Redwood Hills Marlborough sauvignon and the Maynards 10-Year Tawny at a great value €13.99.

André Goichot Beaujolais Villages, France - €10

Wine with Leslie Williams

Stockist: SuperValu

The SuperValu French Wine Sale begins next Thursday and it is one of its best in recent years. I gave the full column over to gamay/Beaujolais last week so as an addendum I’m adding this fruit-driven crowd pleaser which is backed with soft red fruits, serve a little cooler. The Goichot Fleurie returns and also costs a tenner. Watch for its textured Moulin à Vent at €15.

BEST VALUE OVER €15

Mandrarossa Bonera, DOC Sicilia - €20.99-21.99

Wine with Leslie Williams

Stockists: Sweenys Dublin 3; The Corkscrew Dublin; Baggot Street Wines; The Vintry Rathgar; Devenys Dundrum.

This is new to the Mandrarossa range. Hopefully one or two of the stockists of the €15 Grillo above may take it on. A blend of 50-50 nero d’avola and cabernet franc with savoury red and dark fruit aromas with the latter to the fore, darkly fruity and muscular on the palate, ripe and textured.

Mandrarossa Santannella Terre Siciliane IGT 2017 – €24.95

Wine with Leslie Williams

Stockists: Grape & Grain Bakers Corner; McHughes Kilbarrick; Jus de Vine; The Vintry; Drinkstore Stonybatter.

A blend of 70% fiano and 30% chenin blanc with extended skin contact and third and fourth-use oak barrel ageing, just enough to open the wine out. Spice and honeyed floral notes, soft and fruity on the palate but with a kick of lemony freshness — sapid, stony lime-lemon touches.

Moet et Chandon Impérial 150th Anniversary Champagne - €58.00

Wine with Leslie Williams

Stockists: Exclusive SuperValu on special offer

Moet Impérial was first bottled in 1869, 150 years ago this year. The House was established in 1743 and has been drunk by everyone from Napoleon to Bowie. Easily the world’s most famous champagne and remarkably consistent for its size (over 38 million bottles annually). Lithe and textured and as pleasingly fruity and supple as the last time you tasted it.

Contact Leslie Williams at wine@examiner.ie

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