Sunny wines to combat the winter blues

SO THE dark days of January are upon us once again but don’t despair, I think I’ve found some sunny wines to recommend below that will chase away the winter blues.

January is the month we plan a little for the year ahead so why not make some wine resolutions to add to the ones on dieting, exercise and mind expansion.

If you are on a diet I suggest you spend a little more on your wine but drink less. Alcohol is the only calorific element in wine so drinking less will help. If you normally spend €10 then spend €5 but make the bottle last two days. Our punitive tax regime means that you get a huge bump in quality just by spending an extra €5.

I also recommend that you resolve to drink at least one new wine every month. We tend to be quite conservative wine drinkers in Ireland despite having one of the most diverse range of wines available of any country in the world. Have you tried wine from Alentejo in Portugal or what about Georgia or Lebanon?

If some of those suggestions sound too ambitious you could start closer to your comfort zone and try different grape varieties from producers you already know and from other producers from the region you favour.

If you only drink Rioja then try Tempranillo-Garnacha blends from Ribera del Duero, Navarra, or virtually anywhere in Spain such is the consistency. If you only drink New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc try one from the Languedoc, the Loire Valley or from South Africa.

Resolve to smell your wine a little more. Yes, the simple act of sniffing the wine you are about to drink before will imprint its aroma and flavours better in your mind as our sense of smell is the most closely linked to memory.

Consider doing a wine course (details next week) and attending more wine tastings in places like L’Atitude 51, and remember the more wines you like the more choice you will have and the less you may end up spending.

Aldi Chablis Premier Cru, Burgundy, France — €10.99-€11.99

Stockist: Aldi

Another good find by Aldi, this Chablis tastes as good as many costing closer to €20. Honeysuckle and tropical fruit hints on the nose with very good weight and body. Good acidity and a rounded dry finish with good length.

Piccini Memoro Blanco Vino da Tavola, Italy — €9

Stockist: Tesco

An unusual blend from four Italian regions, including Pecorino from Marches, Chardonnay from Trentino, Vermentino from Maremma in Tuscany and Viognier from Sicily. Floral aromas with flavours of pears, peaches and lemons with a mineral edge and some fresh touches on the finish. Very drinkable.

Marks & Spencer Valpolicella Ripasso 2011 — €14.29

Stockist: Marks & Spencer

Blended by the M&S in conjunction with the winemaker from Valpatena, this is made with fresh Corvina and Rondinella grapes and the wine is then re-fermented with the addition of dried “recioto” grapes to give the wine depth and character. Rich cherry and dark chocolate aromas, full bodied and fruity on the palate with good weight and fine acidity.

Domaine du Monteillet “Les Hauts de Monteillet” Syrah, Rhone — €17.99-€18.99

Stockists: Vintry Rathgar, 64 Wines, On the Grapevine, Jus de Vine

From renowned producer Stephan Montez. The IGP is Collines Rhodaniennes and this has distinct Northern Rhone character with tar, smoke and tobacco aromas with chewy blackcurrant fruit on the palate. Drink with game or beef.

Veuve Monsigny Rosé Brut Champagne — €23.99

Stockist: Aldi

There should still be some of this tasty Rosé Champagne left in your local Aldi. Light salmon pink colour with good consistent fizz and red fruit aromas. Creamy on the palate with some nice fresh cherry touches on the finish. Drink with a smoked salmon quiche, or perhaps with a simple omelette.

Cono Sur 20 Barrels Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Casablanca Valley, Chile — €22.49

Stockists: Bradleys North Main St, Corkscrew Dublin, Eugenes Kenmare, independent wine shops

Cono Sur select the best 20 barrels of their Sauvignon Blanc for this wine which shows lots of lime, pineapple and citrus with some good depth and complexity with herbal and greengage notes on the finish. Try with spicy Thai food.


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