A trip to Renvyle House for their Wild Atlantic Way weekend in early March is also lingering in my mind as I ate fish for breakfast lunch and dinner over my two day trip.
Renvyle’s seafood specialist chef Tim O’Sullivan cooked a seafood banquet on the Saturday which was matched with wines from importers J&C Kenny who are based in Oranmore in Galway — Kennys had also invited a couple of their winemakers from France to talk about their wines.
Chateau L’Oiselinière Muscadet with crab and lobster with sea-lettuce and dillisk was one highlight as was de Villebois Sancerre with Inishturk Scallops and Connemara Lamb ‘Surf ‘n Turf’ (although we also paired it with Kenny’s Moillard Bourgogne to cope with the Kelly’s Black Pudding garnish).
I hope to be down that way again later this month for the Connemara Mussel Festival (April 28-30) in Tullycross and Renvyle — Moules-Frites and Muscadet being one of my favourite food and wine combinations.
We tend to think of Brittany as a land of cider rather than wine but don’t forget that most Bretons consider Nantes as their true capital, not Rennes.
Bretons will tell you that Officialdom stole Nantes and their wine regions (eg, Muscadet) in an act of spite, and in an attempt to weaken Breton culture — I suspect they are correct.
J&C Kenny have been importing wines since 1979 and the second generation looks set to continue the good work.
As well as the wines mentioned below Kennys also have some other good names on their books such as Milton Park from Australia, Valdeviso from Chile and some good family run Italian and French producers.
My suggestions this week will all match seafood except obviously for the Centra Bordeaux wines.
The six wines in this offer are all from 2014 and 2015 so although you can drink them now, they are a little young and would benefit from decanting or better still resting for a year.
The Graham Norton Sauvignon and Shiraz are also on offer in Centra at €12 as are some Nugan Estate wines.
Finally on Holy Thursday next Curious Wines will be doing tastings all day at JJ O’Driscolls Ballinlough.
Sunnydale Ballincollig, Cappagh Stores Knocknacarra, Hole in the Wall, Independents
Brittany is the seafood capital of France and historically Muscadet is a Breton wine so as you would expect it is perfect with shellfish.
This has white floral aromas mixed with sweet pear and apple fruits, crisp and refreshing with a lingering stony mineral finish.
This is a softer more aromatic Sauvignon than you wold expect for the price (reduced from €15 this month) — ripe tropical tinged fruits along with yellow apples and gooseberry, clean fresh and crisp.
Greenes Restaurant will host a Gérard Bertrand wine dinner on May 3 — Tickets: €80
Centra have an Easter offer of six 375ml bottles of Bordeaux in an attractive wooden box.
The wines are very young so are best served with some cheese or with roast meats — my favourite of the six was the one pictured which has was soft and fleshy with ripe plums and sweet black fruits.
Sunnydale Ballincollig, Cappagh Stores Knocknacarra, Murrays Sligo
This estate is a Sauvignon specialist and their excellent Sancerre has ripe green apple with gooseberry and apple on the palate and lingering stony green fruits on the finish.
The Villebois Pouilly-Fumé had smoky more tropical touches and their Touraine Sauvignon is also worth a look.
Cappagh Stores Knocknacarra, Independents
This family run estate can trace their wine making heritage to 1600 in the Ahr sub-region (the Ahr is a tributary of the Rhine).
Their Riesling is wonderfully crisp and clean with honeysuckle, melon and apple aromas, fruity and ripe on the palate with zingy acidity — this would match baked or curried fish dishes particularly well.
JJ O’Driscolls, Independents
Another Atlantic region making wines perfectly suited to their wonderful seafood.
Peach and apricot aromas, soft and ripe but also refreshing with good acidity on the palate. Albarino also works well with spicy foods if you are cooking the fish with chilli.