Malia Vida Valencia 2010

Bright clean cherries and strawberries on the nose with lovely fresh clean red fruit flavours on the palate.

Malia Vida Valencia 2010

ACTOR Sam Neill, on a recent visit to Cork, said “It’s not about the wine it’s all about the context — drinking a good bottle of wine with friends and family.” It is a sentiment this column would like to heartily endorse.

Neil was hosting a lunch in the Cornstore restaurant to promote his Two Paddocks Pinot Noir which has recently been taken on by Curious Wines Cork and Red Nose Wine in Clonmel. Neil’s vineyard was originally just a hobby but has turned into an award-winning small business, thanks to a suitable climate and some dedicated wine making.

Neil was born in Omagh, Co Tyrone, but grew up in New Zealand. When not on location starring in Hollywood movies he lives and farms near Dunedin in Central Otago one of the world’s most isolated wine regions at the southern end of the South Island.

New Zealand produces around 0.3% of the world’s wine but are very export driven given their small population. In 1980 there were 14,000 acres under vines but now there are over 70,000.

Two Paddocks vineyard was planted in 1993 with the primary intention to provide wine for sharing with friends and family. Neil now produces around 4,000 cases of Riesling and Pinot Noir a year with just 1,200 cases of the Two Paddocks (so called because the early vintages came from two neighbouring vineyards).

Two Paddocks Picnic Pinot €22: Ripe cherries and raspberries on the nose. Easy drinking but by no means un-serious.

Two Paddocks Pinot Noir 2008, €32: A classic cool climate Pinot with fine nervy complex fruit and a beautiful elegance.

Wines this week are mostly from the Antipodes with two juicy reds available at Curious Wines and Red Nose Wine.

BEST VALUE UNDER €10

Malia Vida Valencia 2010 — €9.59 (was €11.99)

Stockists: Curious Wines, Kinsale Road, Cork www.curiouswines.ie, Red Nose Wine Clonmel www.rednosewine.com

This is on sale at Curious Wines at 20% discount for the next few weeks. Bright clean cherries and strawberries on the nose with lovely fresh clean red fruit flavours on the palate.

Moulin de Gassac Classic Rouge 2011 — €7.19 (was €8.99)

Stockists: Curious Wines, Kinsale Road, Cork www.curiouswines.ie, Red Nose Wine Clonmel www.rednosewine.com

Languedoc blend of Syrah and Grenache from the famed house of Mas de Daumas Gassac. The nose has ripe plums and blackcurrants with a solid fruity palate and a hint of structure to match with red meats and rich pasta dishes.

Giesen Sauvignon Blanc 2011 — €9.99

Stockists: Dunnes Stores, O’Donovans, Jus de Vine Portmarnock, Deveneys Dundrum, World Wide Wines Waterford

Due to terrible harvests and world wide demand this wine will no longer be under a tenner in the new year so snap it up while you can. Bright fresh Sauv Blanc with lovely crisp clean aromas of nettles and gooseberries. Bracing acidity and a light lingering herbs and citrus finish.

BEST VALUE UNDER €20

Tinpot Hut Marlborough Riesling 2012 — €19.99

Stockists: Cork — Bradleys; Dublin — Jus de Vine, Fallon & Byrne, Mortons; Waterford: World Wide, Florries Tramore; Online —thewineshop.ie,

Marlborough is much warmer than Central Otago but this shows that Riesling is a grape that can grow well all over New Zealand. Ripe lemon and lime aromas on the nose, soft and fruity with sweet apples on the palate but with a crisp finish and lingering tangy lemon flavours.

Tim Adams Clare Valley Riesling €12.99

Stockist: Tesco

Another southern hemisphere Riesling that I love from the Clare Valley which has a continental climate not unlike Central Otago with bright days and chilly nights to ensure lots of acidity. Aromas of gun flint and apple peel with a clean bright palate and refreshing acidity.

The Ned Pinot Noir 2010 — €19.99

Stockists: Curious Wines, Kinsale Road, Cork — www.curiouswines.ie

Lighter than many a New Zealand Pinot Noir this has a lovely fragrant berry aroma with touches of cocoa and nutmeg. Fruity and characterful on the palate with good juicy flavours and a fine elegant finish.

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