THE technology focus in this week’s magazine got me thinking about wine and technology.
When we think of wine most of us still imagine romantic vineyards in Bordeaux or Chateauneuf-du-Pape and ancient wine-making traditions that have changed little over the centuries.
It is true that vineyards have changed little over the past hundred years and there has even been a return to organic growing and natural vineyard management, including a return to draught horses in some sensitive vineyards.
The average winery, however, has been utterly transformed and is as technology driven as any industry with computer controlled fermentation tanks, and a laboratory packed with as much scientific equipment as most hospitals. Wine marketing has also changed and even the humblest wine producer now has a website and most have a Twitter account and Facebook page where you will find not just images of the vineyard and wine maker but also often gain an insight into the daily workings of a wine estate. Ultimately it should be the quality of the grapes and how they are handled that counts.
The wines recommended this week are all are technically well made wines from large and small producers.
* Wine Apps: As usual the best Wine Apps are for iPhone and the following are recommended — Vinoteka (for note-taking and cellar management); Cor.KZ (linked to the tasting notes website Cellar Tracker) and WineSearch (linked to Wine-Searcher.com).
If you have an Android or Windows phone then a simple Google search or a look at the sites below is useful.
* Recommended websites: www.decanter.com; www.wineanorak.com; wine.about.com; www.wine-searcher.com; www.cellartracker.com; www.erobertparker.com (subs: $99 per year or $12 per month); www.jancisrobinson.com (subs: £69 per year or £6.99 per month).
Best value under €10
Puklavec & Friends Blooming White 2012, Slovenia — €9.00 (normally €12)
Stockists: Dunnes Stores
The first Slovenian wine to appear in this column. Made from a blend of (hand-picked) Furmint, Welschriesling and Chardonnay grapes in Eastern Slovenia. Furmint is the Tokaji grape and I suspect it is responsible for the ripe pear and lime aromas in this lovely crisp fresh wine that just reeks of summer sunshine.
Puklavec & Friends Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot 2011, Slovenia — €9.00 (normally €12)
Stockists: Dunnes Stores
The Puklavec family have been making wine in Slovenia since the 1930s and took ownership of this winery in 2009 (although the grapes are mainly grown by the local co-operative). Classic Cabernet aromas of blackcurrants with a hint of smoke — ripe solid wine with good structure and a juicy, fruity centre. Serve with red meat or strong cheese.
Carmen Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2012 — €9.00-€11.99
Stockists: Dunnes Stores, Tesco, SuperValu, etc
The Carmen Reserva range is on special offer at €9 this month in Dunnes Stores and this Casablanca Sauvignon Blanc is a good example of a technically very well made wine. That may not sound romantic but Sauv Blanc needs precision and this has an excellent balance of bright fresh gooseberry fruit and green apple acidity.
Best value under €20
Palataia Pinot Grigio Germany 2012 — €12.49
Stockist: Marks & Spencer
A blend of 85% Pinot Grigio and 15% Pinot Blanc from the Pfalz region of Germany. Bright clean nose of lime and apple with very pleasant pear drops and crisp acidity on the palate. If you haven’t drunk any German wine in a while this may convert you.
PX-Elqui, Chile 2011 — €11.49
Stockist: Marks &Spencer
Pedro Ximinez is a grape more commonly associated with the Sherry region of Spain where it is usually dried to provide sweetness to sherry. This version is from the Elqui valley in the north of Chile and has very pleasant light tropical and citrus aromas with a lovely clean fresh palate — a perfect match for fish or perhaps a light pasta dish.
Simone Joseph Chardonnay 2011 — €12.95
Stockists: Jus de Vine, Portmarnock; Cases, Galway www.cases.ie; The Vineyard, Galway; thewinestore.ie
If you are still a member of the ABC club (anything-but-chardonnay) this may help wean you back onto what is after all the great grape of Burgundy and Champagne. Zingy fresh fruity lemon and melons on the nose with elegance and subtlety on the palate and a crisp finish.
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