The wine industry in Ireland used to be a bit of a boys’ club but times have changed.
I noticed recently that many of my favourite shops are run by women, some of whom took over the family business and others that have started their own.
The newest wine shop on my radar is Brown’s Vineyard which was opened by Barbara Brown in Portlaoise.
I’ll write a little more about Barbara’s wines in a week or two but like many of my other favourite shops she has chosen to source her wines mainly from small importers.
Shops like Deveney’s in Dundrum (Ruth Deveney), Jus de Vine Portmarnock (Julie Cullen) and D6 in Harold’s Cross do the same, and are stimulating places to visit, stocking many unusual wines you won’t find in the supermarkets.
My selections this week are all available in D6 Wines run by Dairine Flanagan and are from family-owned importers and wineries.
D6 is attached to Peggy Kelly’s Pub beside Harold’s Cross Greyhound Stadium where you will find Dairine’s mum behind the bar most nights.
It was Dairine’s idea to open a fine wine and craft beer shop beside the pub eight years ago.
D6 also has a wine club and runs regular wine tastings and it was at one of these that I discovered the wine range imported by Joyce Austin of New Zealand Boutique Wines ( www.newzealandboutiquewines.com). Joyce is Irish but lives in New Zealand and has been importing carefully chosen wines from small producers since around 2001.
Currently, her stockists are mainly in the Pale although Thomas Woodburys in Galway stocks some.
What I liked about Joyce’s wines was that they were more subtle and complex than much of the more commercial wines we see from New Zealand. I like Kiwi wines but they do not often excite me – Joyce’s wines did and are worth tracking down.
BEST VALUE UNDER €15
The Springs Pinot Gris, Waipara, New Zealand — €13.99 to €14.99
Stockists: D6 Wines Harolds Cross, Redmonds Ranelagh, Powers Lucan, La Touche Greystones, Gibneys Malahide, Deveneys
Dundrum Waipara Springs was the pioneering winery in this region and Springs is its entry level range. What distinguishes pinot gris from grigio is usually fragrance. This is packed with lemon verbena and barley sugar scents along.
Ch Dereszla Tokaji Furmint Dry 2012, Hungary — €14.99
Stockists:D6 Wines, Wine Vaults Lismore, Jus de Vine, Mitchell & Son CHQ (www.mitchellandson.com)
Furmint is one of the main grapes in sweet Tokaji but it also makes fine complex dry whites. Dereszla is one of the best producers in the region and their sweet Tokaji is also worth seeking out. This has mineral aromas mixed with apricots and clean lime.
Herdade Pegos Claros, Palmela, Portugal — €14.99
Stockists: O’Donovans Cork, O’Briens, La Touche Greystones, Deveneys Dundrum, D6 Harolds Cross, Whelehans Wines.
I’m a big fan of wines from southern Portugal and importer Kevin O’Hara has a knack of finding ripe juicy wines at a good price. Plum purple colour, prune and date aromas, fruit-driven flavours on the palate with a touch of spice and sweet plums.
BEST VALUE OVER €15
Greenhough Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Nelson, New Zealand - €17.99
Stockists:D6 Wines, Redmond’s, Donnybrook Fair, Blackrock Cellar, La Touche, Greystones, Woodberry’s, Galway. Winemaker Andrew Greenhough likes drier more mineral style Sauvignons, a style I tend to prefer myself.
Aromas of green gooseberries with small touches of stone fruit, guava and lime. Very dry but also exhibiting ripe fruit flavours. and a touch of green bean and tropical fruit on the middle palate.
Totem Pinot Noir 2013, Nelson, New Zealand - €21.99
Stockists: D6 Wines, Redmond’s, Donnybrook Fair, Power Fine Wines, Lucan
Nelson has warm days and cool nights so is perfect for Pinot Noir production. This is a dry fresh style of Pinot Noir with clean red fruit aromas, soft juicy blackberries and some red fruits on the palate, silky fruits and lingering dried herb touches. Try with some grilled duck breast.
Greystone 2013 Pinot Noir, Wairapa, New Zealand - €34.95
Stockists: D6 Wines, Redmonds, Clontarf Wines, Donnybrook Fair, Power Fine Wines Lucan
Wairapa has limestone rich soils and is one of the driest of New Zealand’s wine regions. This costs a little more but for your extra few euro you get a more Burgundian flavour, earthy fruit tones, damsons and touches of chocolate.
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