All the wines this week are from the Wine Centre

The number of new Irish whiskies seems to be growing by the week with new brands being launched and the old guard easily keeping up.

All the wines this week are from the Wine Centre

Method and Madness is a new range from Midleton that combines tradition (the method) with a little bit of madness.

Master distillers and their apprentices have teamed up and let their creativity loose and produced some genuinely unusual new whiskey.

There is a delicious sweet and nutty single pot-still finished in sweet chestnut casks (a first as far as I know), a spicy single grain finished in virgin Spanish oak, a Single Malt finished in French limousin casks and an exclusive single barrel single grain whiskey.

All are excellent.

Powers 1817 meanwhile is a sumptuous and lively Bourbon cask finish created to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Licensed Vintners Association so is only available exclusively in Dublin pubs but worth seeking out.

Some fine publicans in Kilkenny meanwhile have launched the Kilkenny Whiskey Guild www.KilkennyWhiskeyGuild.com which should help us keep up.

The Guild will host monthly whiskey events and tastings and each bar (and one off-licence) has committed to stocking at least 60 Irish Whiskies and offer comparative tasting trays.

The bars include Lanigans, Langtons, Billy Byrnes, The Hibernian, Paris Texas, Matt the Millers, The Left Bank and the Dylan.

The Wine Centre Off-Licence is also a member and stocks more than 160 whiskies not to mention 40 gins.

The shop also recently began brewing their own beer — Sullivans Maltings Red Ale and you can drink it with excellent wood-fired pizza in their new Tap room to the rear of the shop — they also plan to use their courtyard to host events in the coming months.

All the wines this week are from the Wine Centre but I’ve listed some other stockists also.

Founded in 1965 the shop is managed by Mark Tormey and ably assisted by Pawel and Dante all of whom good advice and opinions.

There are lots of bargain wines, a fine selection of craft beers and I spotted all kinds of covetable bottles, from Chateau Chasse Spleen, to top end Trimbach from Alsace and Jaboulet’s Hermitage La Chapelle.

In the dessert wine section I spotted Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes and also Chateau Climens, Suduiraud and Chateau Rieussac .

BEST VALUE UNDER €15

La Linda Malbec 2014, Argentina — €11.99 – 13.99

Stockists: Kilkenny Wine Centre, Next Door Cork, JJ O’Driscolls, Martins Fairview, 1601 Kinsale, Castle Tralee, www.winesoftheworld.ie

Deep purple-red colour, blackberry and glack cherry aromas, supple and fruity with good lingering dark fruit flavours. The Bonarda in this range is a little lighter and I also like the Chardonnay and Syrah.

Lab, Lisboa Region, Portugal — €9.99

Stockists: Kilkenny Wine Centre, Independents, Next Door Raheen, Vintry Rathgar, McHughs

This is a blend of mainly Portuguese varieties with Castelao, Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo), Touriga Nacional and some Syrah.

Lisboa is similar in style to Alentejo and a good place to look for value wines. This is ultra-fruity with bright juicy plum and blueberry flavours and a kick of spice on the finish.

Tank No. 26, Nero d’Avola Appassimento, Sicily — €13.99-14.99

Stockists: Wine Centre Kilkenny, Independents

This is made from dried grapes — a kind of Sicilian version of Ripassa as you might find in the Veneto.

Fruity and opulent with fig and spice flavours and with admirable richness on the finish.

BEST VALUE OVER €15

Chateau Saint-Julian 2011, Bordeaux Supérieur, France — €15.95

Stockist: Kilkenny Wine Centre

Exclusive to the Wine Centre this is a bit of a find. While this is not AOP Saint-Julian it is from the hills surrounding that village according to the back label.

Showing its 60% Merlot (unusual on this side of the Gironde) this has ripe chocolate tinged plum fruits, ripe and fruity and drinking well right now. The elegant, riper 2014 vintage is due in any day now.

Cedric Bardin Sancerre 2014, Loire, France — €22.99

Stockists: Kilkenny Wine Centre, Sweeneys, Hart’s Corner Glasnevin

This excellent Sancerre/Pouilly Fumé producer is exclusive to the Wine Centre and Sweeneys (they import it together since the original importer retired).

Family run with just 13 hectares, both wines show good tipicité with the Pouilly Fumé (€19.99) a little softer and this Sancerre more mineral and complex with taut apple and citrus flavours.

Luigi Boaca Malbec D.O.C Malbec, Argentina — €21.99

Stockists: Kilkenny Wine Centre, O’Donovans, 1601, JJ O’Driscolls, Martins, Next Door Limerick, Castle Tralee, www.winesoftheworld.ie

I’ve long been a fan of Luigi Bosca for consistency and value at their different price points.

This has full bright red and black fruit aromas with mocha and spice touches. Their chocolaty Cab Sauv. Is also recommended.

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