JUST a few days before Christmas and I hope you have your wines chosen. If not don’t fret, most wine shops and supermarkets have frozen their prices until Christmas before the €1 excise duty is added.
Most outlets have excellent offers at this time of year so check your local shop for recommendations. If you have a sweet tooth, or know someone that has, I recommend Aldi’s honeyed six Puttanyos Tokaji d’Azsu for €25 or their Offley 30 year Tawny Port at €50 if you are feeling a little flush. Thirty-year-old Tawny can cost three times as much.
Many supermarkets have reduced the price of their sparkling wines and popular lines, as have some of the off licence chains. A better idea is to buy next week’s Irish Examiner for my fizz choices for New Year’s Eve.
If you still haven’t decided on a bottle for the 25th or for the wine buff in your life, Dunnes has the 5ieme Cru Classé Chateau Haut Batailley ’07 at €35 and Lidl has the 2nd wine of Chateau Prieuré-Lichine for €20 (2007).
One wine-related present (for yourself or a loved one) which I neglected to mention last week was wine courses, many of which are run in your local neighbourhood wine shop, so make sure to enquire.
Most colleges that run night courses include a Wine-Appreciation course as part of their offering. I teach a 10-week Night Course in Rathmines College which begins in late January, Tel: 01-4975334 or log on to www.rathminescollege.ie
If a 10-week course sounds like too much of a commitment Premier Wine Training have some one day wine-training courses including one at the Imperial Hotel, Cork on Saturday, Feb 9, 2013. Details and online booking at: www.premierwinetraining.com/
Faustino Rivero Yellow Label Crianza 2009 — €8.99
Stockists: O’Donovans Cork, Superquinn.
This wine is not connected to the other Faustino family in Rioja. Aromas of black fruits, vanilla, and spice with a fruit driven palate and long finish. Excellent value.
Paco & Lola Albarino, Rias Baixas, 2010 — €10
Stockist: Dunnes Stores
Albarino is Spain’s most fashionable grape variety. Grapefruit and candied fruit aromas jump out of the glass and on the palate is more grapefruit with a distinct floral edge and a clean fresh finish.
Volpetto Chianti Riserva 2008 — €9.99 (normally €16.99)
Classic Chianti nose of cherries and red currants and soft cherry fruit on the palate with a slight bitter edge to cut through that Steak Florentine or Bolognese. Lingering complex fruit and spice.
Chateau La Grande Metairie, Entre-Deux-Mers, 2010 — €11.99-12.99
Stockists: No. 21, Coberg St. Cork, Gibneys Malahide, O’Learys Cootehill.
A blend of Sauv. Blanc, Sauv. Gris and Semillion. Bright gooseberries and lime aromas and flavours with a steely fresh palate and exhilarating acidity.
Pieropan Soave, Veneto, Italy, 2011 — €18.99
Stockists: O’Donovans, World Wide Wines Waterford, Celtic Whiskey Shop, Fallon & Byrne, Woodberry Galway and McHughs Kilbarrick
This is an old favourite and don’t worry, Pieropan’s Soave is a world away from any Soave you experienced in the 1980s. Flowers and almonds with mineral touches and a long finish.
Les Graves de Paul, Ch. Vincens, Cahors, 2002 — €19.99-22.99
No. 21 Coberg St. Cork, Hollands Bray, Grapevine D9.
Despite its age this Malbec from SW France retains its dark colour and shows aromas of black cherries, plums and tobacco. The palate is structured and complex with hints of prunes and blackberries.
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