Giacondi Bianco NV

REMOVING plants (or people) from their native soil and transplanting them to far off climes is not always successful but sometimes they thrive.

We can only hope that the young people leaving Ireland every week will thrive and perhaps return in a few years with new ideas and energy and perhaps wines from their own vineyard.

The wine geese continue to return for Gathering events and more are added weekly. There is no better way to understand wine than to listen to someone who makes it, so watch out for tastings and dinners in this column. L’Attitude 51 on Union Quay, Cork, is hosting events every month so call in or check their website.

I mentioned a few weeks back about how successful Malbec has been in Argentina but there is another significantly more obscure grape from South West France starting to enter our consciousness and that is Tannat from Madiran in Gascony and also Irouléguy in the French Basque country. Thanks to Basque settlers who arrived with Tannat vines in the 19th century Uruguay produces large quantities of Tannat wines including the O’Brien’s one featured below.

As its name suggests Tannat can be tannic and bitter if not handled correctly but when made well it can be delicious. I also recommend the wines of Chateau Lafitte-Teston and Alain Brumont from Madiran which are available in some of the better independents such as The Corkscrew in Dublin or Le Caveau in Kilkenny.

Recommendations this week include bargains under a tenner but also some less well-known reds that I liked.

* For the Diary: As part of the Bringing the Wine Geese Home series of events, Cafe Paradiso is putting on a special six-course dinner on Tuesday, May 28, to complement the bio-dynamic wines of the Cullen Winery in Margaret River, Australia. Emma Cullen will present the wines. Contact Cafe Paradiso for reservations: 021-4277939.

Best value under €10

Giacondi Bianco NV, Sicily — €6.99 (was €8.49)

Stockist: O’Briens

A blend of obscure Southern Italian grape varieties including Cattarratto and Inzolia with a dash of Chardonnay. Bright fresh peach and lime aromas with similar flavours on the palate and a fragrant yet crisp finish. Excellent value.

Romio Nero d’Avola IGP 2011, Sicily — €9.99

Stockists – JJ O Driscolls, Matsons, Bandon, No 21, Midleton and Coburg St, Cork:,Next door, Thomastown, Simply Delicious, Foxrock, Red Earth, Mullingar.

Nero d’Avola is arguably Sicily’s best grape variety and well suited to the island’s warm climate. Bright fresh red fruit aromas, soft juicy middle and a dry cherry influenced finish. Best served a little cooler than room temperature and would work well with barbecue.

Marqués de Almonacid Vendimia Seleccionada 2009, Spain — €9.00

Stockist – Dunnes

Recent winner of gold medal at the Brussells Monde Selection competition. Made mostly from Grenache in the small Carinena region of Northern Spain. Plums and tobacco on the nose, solid, fruity and slightly spicy palate with cherries and stewed fruits and a light fruity finish. Serve with charceuterie and spicy food.

Best value under €20

Rigal Malbec Cahors 2011, France — €12.99

Stockists: O’Sullivans, Blarney, Ballincollig and Douglas, Matsons, Bandon, JJ O’Driscolls, Cork, No 21, Midleton, Redmonds, Ranelagh.

Although we now associate Malbec with Argentina the grape originates in South West France and in particular the small region of Cahors. Dark almost black colour, dark fruit aromas with a hint of tar, generous and fruity on the palate with a solid fruity finish. Try with roast lamb.

Carmen Pinot Noir Reserva 2012, Chile — €11.99

Stockists: Tesco

Grown in the Leyda Valley to the west of Santiago around 10 miles from the cool currents of the Pacific Ocean. Dark ruby colour, earthy and red fruit aromas on the nose, sweet ripe fruit on the palate and decent acidity making it a good match for a pink-cooked duck breast or lamb chops.

Atlántico Sur Tannat 2011, Uruguay — €14.99

Stockist: O’Briens

This is easily the most approachable Tannat based wine I have encountered, including many trips to Gascony. Rich fruity aromas reminiscent of sweet plums and purple Rowntrees Pastilles, juicy and solid with some structure but no aggressive tannins. Very charming and a real find.


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