Well it feels like an age ago, and the weather’s been pretty dismal in general since. But it now seems a spell of warm sunshine is likely.
If you’re looking for inspiration, you might like to check that out online at url.ie/fo5m.
And to match, on page 25 of Weekend today, I’m looking at what you might call a rosé beer — a lighter, fresher and fruitier ale than serious beer aficionados usually swig.
Having said all that, rosé is too much fun to relegate it to summertime only: a well-made one can grace the dinner table at any time of year and I’ve included one today too — a Loire rosé I found on my recent sweep through part of Fine Wines’ range.
I must say I like the simplicity of Fine Wines’ online wine store.
While you would expect to rack up savings on practically all wine websites through case discounts and specials, Fine Wines have a delightfully simplified offering, whereby they advertise one price in-store and another, lower, price online.
The cut varies from bottle to bottle, but you can make considerable savings — up to a quarter off the shelf price.
And like most online stores, shipping is free on 12 bottles or more.
And if you prefer shopping in person, Fine Wines have stores at the following locations.
Clare: Mill Road, Ennis; Roslevan Centre, Ennis.
Cork: Blackpool Retail Park; Washington Street.
Dublin: 514, South Circular Road, Rialto, D8; Burnell Square, Northern Cross, Malahide Road, D17.
Galway: Westside; Raven Terrace.
Kerry: Manor West, Tralee.
Limerick: Roches Street; Parnell Street; Dooradoyle; Cosgrave’s, Castletroy; Grove Island, Corbally; High Road, Thomondgate; Q Centre, Roxboro; Delta Retail Park; Kilmurry roundabout, Castletroy.
Tipperary: Showgrounds Shopping Court, Clonmel.
Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2011
One of the staples of the Irish wine fan’s shopping basket, this is a terrific crisp critrussy sauv blanc from one of New Zealand’s biggest and oldest wineries (formerly known as Montana). Although officially priced over a tenner, you’ll often find it considerably less and this is a great price.
The popular Californian blush style has counterparts back home in Europe, and this rosé from the Loire is one of them: simple, soft, and strawberry sweet, it’s comparable to one of those white zins — although augmented with a lovely crisp darkness of the cabernet franc grape.
Rather than superabundance of fruit, this is all about lightness and elegance - crisp, bright, and light oak-aged tempranillo. Its entry-level stablemate (labelled simply as ‘tempranillo’) has probably seen better days but this one’s well-weighted, firm and fresh.
Marqués De Monistrol Cava Reserva Rosé NV
Along with its white counterpart, this is one of the best value Cavas out there. There’s a distinct nod towards champenoise style, as it’s made with the pinot noir grape along with some fragrant mourvèdre (or monastrell in Spanish). Plump with fresh strawberries, it rather wonderfully manages to be simpatico without being frivolous or dumbed down. Bargain of the week.
D’Arenberg is most highly renowned for its red wines - in this instance from the renowned McLaren Vale region - and there’s a glimpse of that genius here in their entry-level shiraz. Plump ripe blackberries undercut with lovely crisp, dark, bitter herbal notes.
Woah. Trading under the rather apt slogan ‘the art of being different’, d’Arenberg winemaker Chester Osborn is renowned for his fresh approach to wine and this eclectic (unique even) blend of riesling, marsanne and sauvignon blanc is no exception. Abrupt, smoky, nutty and spicy it’s arrestingly aromatic: a white wine for red wine lovers.