Suggestions this week are from O’Briens wines nationwide

I want to begin this week by offering my congratulations to Lynne Coyle MW, wine buyer at O’Briens wines.

Lynne recently achieved one of the wine world’s most difficult feats by becoming a master of wine, one of only 340 in the world with just a few in Ireland.

I should also congratulate Barbara Boyle of Wine Mason who has now passed the theory and tasting sections and is working on her research paper so we can expect another Irish MW in the next year or two. 

Wine Mason ( www.winemason.ie ) imports some excellent wines including Niepoort and Thienot Champagne.

To become an MW you need to first pass three fiendishly difficult blind-tasting exams followed by four similarly difficult theory exams on everything from viticulture and vinification to wine marketing, and finally submit a research paper. 

The MW is a little like an MBA for wine but with a much lower pass rate — just 17 out of about 110 passed the tasting portion this year.

One collaboration of Lynne and O’Briens in recent years has been with the Cazes family, owners of Chateau Lynch Bages and a number of other properties. 

Jean Charles Cazes was in Dublin recently and I met him for a lunch in l’Ecrivain and for a dinner in Montys of Kathmandu sponsored by Cork-based importers Barry Fitzwilliam which is the main agents for Lynch Bages in Ireland.

Both meals were excellent but I was nicely surprised at how well Montys food matches complex wines. 

The vanilla, spice and citrus flavours in Lynch Bages Blanc worked with the chilli prawns but the cedar and black fruit flavours of Lynch Bages 2009 worked beautifully with the lamb.

The Cazes family own Domaine des Sénéchaux in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and L’OstalCazes in the Languedoc-Roussillon and a hidden gem in the Graves — Chateau Villa Bel-Air producing excellent reds and whites.

BEST VALUE UNDER €15

Michel Lynch White 2014, AC Bordeaux, France — €14.99

Suggestions this week are from O’Briens wines nationwide

Stockists:

O’Briens Nationwide, Tesco, SuperValu, Centra, Dunnes, JJ ODriscoll, Cork, Ardkeen Stores, Waterford

A pure sauvignon blanc with fine light apple fruit and green apple acidity but also some creamy textures and lingering golden delicious flavours. The red Michel Lynch is also soft with plum and prune fruits, grip, and more concentration than expected.

L’Ostal Cazes Rosé, Languedoc, France — €14.49

Stockist: O’Briens Nationwide

The last rosé of summer perhaps given that this weekend is said to be moderately sunny. This is in a classic Provencal rosé style with a light onion-skin pink colour, redcurrant and strawberry aromas, blackberry hints and a crisp textured finish. Try with spicy food.

L’Ostal Cazes Eclipse White, Languedoc, France — €11.99 (was €16.99)

Stockist: O’Briens Nationwide

A blend of 65% viognier to 35% marsanne, this is beautifully fragrant (peaches, apricots) with a stony core and sits beautifully in the mouth.

This would make a good aperitif but would also work well with a piece of grilled sole or perhaps some shellfish.

BEST VALUE OVER €15

Chateau Lynch Bages 2010, Pauillac, France — €220

Suggestions this week are from O’Briens wines nationwide

Stockists:

O’Briens Nationwide, Callans Dundalk, Clontarf Wines, Corkscrew, Cabot & Co.

The 2010 is a huge wine and still a babe in arms — dark chocolate and smoky black fruit aromas, creamy chewy black fruit on the palate. This needs time (or double decanting) and will age for 40 years. The 2009 is much fleshier (try Callans or Clontarf Wines) and will drink sooner.

Domaine des Sénéchaux Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, Rhone, France — €36.99

Stockist:

O’Briens Douglas, Limerick and Nationwide

The Cazes family bought this fine old Chateuneuf property just a few years ago and have spent serious money improving the wines. Mainly a blend of rousanne, grenache blanc and clairette this is a real peaches and cream wine but with a nervy centre thanks to the rousanne – one of the best white Chateuneufs I have tasted.

L’Ostal Cazes Eclipse Red, Languedoc, France — €16.99

Stockist:

O’Briens Douglas, Limerick and Nationwide

The L’Ostal Grand Vin Red is a violet-perfumed jewel of a wine but temporarily out of stock.

In the meantime, the Eclipse is a blend of syrah with a little cabernet franc and sauvignon and is good value for the quality with ripe blackcurrant fruits and a soft fruity palate.


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