Wine with Leslie Williams

Wine with Leslie Williams

A new year and unlike everyone else I’m not going to bore you with tips about losing weight. Wine contains alcohol, and alcohol has calories, but wine with the alcohol removed tastes nothing like the real thing and will surely depress you.

It’s January, who needs to be more depressed? What you need to get through January is distraction so I recommend the annual New Zealand Wine Fair which is on in Dublin on January 13 (details below). This fair is the start of the wine year for me and I’m always surprised that I’m happy to taste so many sauvignon blancs.

It is also a welcome chance to try chardonnay and pinot noir from Martinborough and Central Otago, syrah from Hawke’s Bay and elsewhere, and of course riesling, gruner veltliner, gewurztraminer and other lesser seen New Zealand wines.

Sauvignon blanc is not the most complex of grapes but the New Zealand version sells so well because it is hard to match its big bursts of bright lime, apple and gooseberry flavour. Thankfully, the green bean and asparagus versions seem to be less common these days with Kiwi winemakers looking more towards passionfruit and green apple.

The 2019 vintage was a little down on previous years due to colder weather at fruit-set (in December), but a warm summer has ensured a consistently good vintage. Cloudy Bay claims 2019 will be regarded as one of the great vintages of the last few decades. Its former winemaker Kevin judd of Greywacke is also happy with his 2019 release which is showing ‘subtlety, structure and perfume’ he says.

You generally need to spend more than €14 on New Zealand sauvignons to get any depth. I’ve picked out a few and revisited some of the classics. A wine I didn’t have room for is the Babich Black Label sauvignon blanc (€25) which is imported by Solera Wines. Standard Babich can be commercial but the Black label is a serious step up. It is in good independents in the Dublin area such as Martins, Drink Store and D-6.

For the diary: New Zealand in a Glass, 6.30pm to 8.30pm, January 13, Radisson Blu, Golden Lane, Dublin 8. Tickets: €20 via Eventbrite; jeansmullen.com

Wine with Leslie Williams

Wine with Leslie Williams

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