My selections this week are all value-for-money summer wines from Cork-based importers, neither of whom were born in Cork but have been successfully running their businesses from the city for a number of years.
First up is Joe Karwig of Karwigs Wines in Carrigaline. Joe arrived in Cork over 30 years ago and has been nobly trying to convince us all to drink more Riesling, particularly from his native Germany, ever since.
Karwigs is one of the very few shops in the country that has a large selection of German wine covering all the major wine regions from the Mosel to Franken, including some dessert wines and sekt (sparklers).
Karwigs also stock an extensive selection from Italy, including the wonderful wines of the Barbaresco Co-Op in Piedmont and unusual wines such as the much underrated Chateau Ksara from Lebanon. www.karwigwines.ie
In terms of size the other importer I want to mention is not really comparable, but Michael Logan of River Wines has a similarly good nose for sniffing out unusual wines, often from neglected areas of France such as his Croix d’Or Pinot Noir red and rosé from St Pourçain in the Loire.
Michael’s wines are not as widely available in off licences in Munster, but No 21 on Coburg Street (at the bottom of Patrick’s Hill) and No 21 in Midleton stock a few. Good Dublin independents such as the Vintry in Rathgar, Sweeney’s at Hart’s Corner and Holland’s in Bray are also a good bet.
Diary: Indie Wine Weekend at Twelve Hotel Galway, Jun 21-22; Wine Tasting, Music and Body and Soul Weekend. firstname.lastname@example.org
The Great Grape Debate at l’Atitude 51 Wine Bar, Cork; Jun 26, 7pm. Movie and wine tasting; tel: 021-2390219.
Stockists: Karwig Wines Carrigaline
An unusual blend of Grenache Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Mauzac and others. Mauzac is always an interesting grape and can be found in the white wines of Limoux and in Gaillac. This wine has fragrant and inviting aromas of lemon drops and ripe pears, with a palate of lemon peel and dried apples and (just) enough crisp acidity. This would work well with a creamy pasta dish.
Stockists: Karwig Wines, Village Grocer Castlemartyr, JJ O’Driscolls Ballinlough
A blend of Grenache, Carignan, Syrah and Merlot and made in a super-juicy style to attract fans of New World wines. Fresh raspberry jam aromas with a bright fresh taste that would benefit from being served a little cooler than normal — perhaps with some barbecued meat.
Stockists: Karwig Wines; Village Greengrocer, Castlemartyr, JJ O’Driscolls, Ballinlough
From the village of Ortuna in Abruzzo on the Adriatic coast of Central Italy. Aromas of red fruits with a light fruity character, lively acidity (thanks to the Sangiovese), and plenty of personality for a wine of such little expense.
Stockists: Karwig Wines; Cinnamon Cottage Rochestown; JJ O’Driscolls; Spar Rathcormac; Spillanes Service Station, Skehard Road, Cork
Made with Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier, this is another innovative Languedoc wine. It works well as the peach and apricot flavoured viognier is kept under control by the lemony fresh acidity of the sauvignon. Perfect with fresh grilled fish.
Stockists: No. 21 Midleton, Grapevine Dublin 9, Drink Store Dublin 7, Kellys Dublin 3, Sweeneys Dublin 11.
A blend of Colombard and Sauvignon Blanc with that lovely fresh floral and citrus aroma typical of Colombard and a zesty lemony palate and a lime and green apple finish provided by the Sauvignon Blanc. Lively crisp white wine that begs for sunshine or perhaps a spaghetti carbonara.
Stockists: Kellys Dublin 3, Grapvevine Dublin 9, Hollands Bray.
Made from the classic Corbières blend of Carignan, Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah from a village half way between Carcassonne and the coast.. Bright red fruit aromas with cherries and red fruits on the palate and a spicy edge to the finish and a fine lightness of touch making it suitable for lamb or duck dishes.