Wine selections this week are from Cases Wine Warehouse in Galway

First this week a reminder that school is back for wine enthusiasts as well as children. 

Wine courses are beginning all over the country and there will be many wine-tasting events between now and Christmas so keep an eye here and check with your local Off-Licence.

O’Donovans’ Cork Wine School has one-day, nine-week, and 15-week courses beginning next month ( http://goo.gl/rVVJm4 ); and my own 10-week course in Rathmines College in Dublin begins on Monday for the bargain price of €125 ( www.rathminescollege.ie ; tel 01 4975334).

If a wine course sounds too much like actual school you might enjoy one-off events such as the Oak Masterclass tasting in L’Atitude 51 Wine Bar on Friday, October 2. 

The main focus of the evening is Beronia Rioja Reserva which is owned by Gonzales Byass of Tio Pepe fame. 

Winemaker Matias Calleja has kindly sent versions of the same wine from different casks made from French Oak, American Oak, and a hybrid barrel with American staves and French ends.

I also hope to show how oak influences Oloroso sherry and Irish whiskey. 

Oak barrels allow wine and whiskey to breathe as well as giving flavour and structure. 

I will also be explaining some new research on how oak influences sweetness in a wine.

My selections this week are from Cases Wine Warehouse in Galway (also available online), which held a fascinating tasting at the end of last month showcasing many new wines, virtually all of which I liked.

In particular I was pleased to see some new wines from an excellent co-op in Gascony which I am including this week to mark the start of the Rugby World Cup.

Gascony and the Landes regions live for rugby and if you are ever in the area a visit to the Chapelle Notre Dame du Rugby is a must as it contains the boots and shirts of famous local players and contains rugby-themed stained glass windows depicting both the Madonna and Christ holding rugby balls.

For the diary: Friday October 2, L’Atitude 51, Cork — Beronia Rioja Oak Masterclass Tasting, 7pm. Tel 021 2390219

BEST VALUE UNDER €15

Musita Sr Grillo Sicily 2013, Italy — €12.95

Wine selections this week are from Cases Wine Warehouse in Galway

Stockist: Cases Wine Warehouse Galway www.cases.ie 

Grillo is always worth seeking out for its combination of fragrance, freshness and good value. This has spicy floral aromas and a stony character; fruity at first, but dry and clean on the middle palate with apple drop flavours and a spicy citrus dry finish.

‘Le Favori de Gascogne’, Cotes de Gascogne, France — €10.95

Wine selections this week are from Cases Wine Warehouse in Galway

Stockist: Cases Wine Warehouse Galway www.cases.ie 

I’ve praised the wines of the Plaimont Co-Op in Gascony in the past and in general they are extremely reliable (well worth a visit if you are ever in that part of France). This is a blend of Colombard and Ugni Blanc and has bright fragrant pear and citrus aromas with zingy acidity and lots of freshness.

Les Vignes Retrouvées, Cotes de St Mont, France — €14.95

Wine selections this week are from Cases Wine Warehouse in Galway

Stockists: Cases Wine Warehouse Galway www.cases.ie

Cotes de St Mont is beside Madiran in the heart of Rugby obsessed Gascony (the rugby chapel Le Notre Dame de Rugby is nearby). This has some Cabernet but is mostly Tannat — the classic local grape that produces the Paul O’Connell of red wines — unyielding and complex with solid black fruit and chewy tannins.

BEST VALUE OVER €15

Beronia Crianza, Rioja 2010 — €14.99-15.99

Wine selections this week are from Cases Wine Warehouse in Galway

Stockists: Bradleys, No 21 Group, JJ O’Driscolls, Dunnes Stores, O’Driscolls Cahirciveen, www.wineonline.ie 

Mainly tempranillo with a little garnacha and mazuela for extra structure. This is aged in mixed French and American oak (new-, second- and third-use oak) for around 13 months. The initial aroma is of toasted brioche with a background of vanilla from the oak giving a subtle warming quality.

Beronia Reserva Rioja — €17.99

Wine selections this week are from Cases Wine Warehouse in Galway

Bradleys Cork, No 21 Group, JJ O’Driscolls Ballinlough, Dunnes Stores, O’Driscolls Cahirciveen, www.wineonline.ie 

An almost identical blend to the crianza but from older vines and newer oak which shows immediately. Vanilla and spice aromas followed on the palate by some sweet textured black fruit flavours. What elevates this above the crianza is the depth of flavour and lingering fruit flavours.

Viticultors del Priorat ‘Morlanda’, Priorat, Spain — €31.45

Wine selections this week are from Cases Wine Warehouse in Galway

Cases Wine Warehouse Galway www.cases.ie 

Priorat is a fascinating and spectacular region in north-eastern Spain south-west of Barcelona with steep slate hills — the garnacha and carignan snaking between the slates. Morlanda is intensely fragrant with generous red and plum fruit flavours and good value for the region. Entry level Mas de Suberia is lighter but still excellent at €18.95.


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