We are at mid-summer point now and the sunshine, up to now, has been rather absent.
At least we are not getting hail showers like the poor benighted growers in Cognac and Burgundy — we are already being warned that Chablis prices will be as much as 20% higher next year.
A little to the south in Beaujolais there were a couple of devastating hail showers this growing season with a particularly devastating one at the end of June.
The cru villages of Morgon, Chiroubles, Moulin-à-Vent and Fleurie were worst affected, the last suffering between 70% and 80% damage according to the Mayor.
All my recommendations this week are making a debut appearance and all are from independent importers.
Curious Wines, Red Nose Wines and especially Karwigs in Carrigaline get mentioned a lot on this page so don’t need much introduction.
If you haven’t visited Karwigs shop yet it’s about time you did — just be sure to use Google maps as they can be difficult to find.
It is just over a year since the sudden death of Joe Karwig, a man whose loss will be felt for many years to come, not just in Cork.
I’m pleased to see that Jurgen Karwig and the team is just as active as Joe was in ferreting out good quality new wines such as the two mentioned below.
Some of my other selections are from Febvre, a long established importer that has always had a fine roster of wines although they tend to concentrate a little more on the restaurant and hotel trade.
The company has gone through some changes in management in recent times (to put it mildly) but their core range of wines has remained solid with some new names added recently including Burgundy’s Louis Latour and Nederberg from South Africa.
They have some great producers worth watching out for in the independent sector such as Portugal’s Esporao, Champagnes Taittinger and Deutz, Italy’s Castello Banfi and Disznoko from Hungary (wonderful dry furmint and sweet tokajii).
From Australia they have D’Arenberg and Thorn-Clark, Sepp Moser from Austria and the excellent De Martino from Chile.
BEST VALUE UNDER €15
Fumées Blanches Gris de Sauvignon, Vin de France — €14
Stockists: 1601 Kinsale, Rineys Sneem, Martins Fairview, Jus de Vine, Egans
Sauvignon Gris is a pink skinned mutation of Sauvignon Blanc and while less aromatic does produce rich tasting wines.
This has a pretty pale salmon pink colour, fresh citrus aromas with a hint of raspberry. On the palate this has softer red fruit flavours — perfect for summer.
Conde Valdemar Rosado Rioja, Spain — €13-€13.49
Stockists: Coolers Swords, Nectar Sandyford, Kellys Clontarf, Londis Johnstown
Conde Valdemar are a fine Rioja house and have gone for a rich Rosado style, almost akin to a Bordeaux Clairet.
This is 85% Garnacha and 15% Tempranillo and made from free-run juice. Rich enough to serve with meats from the barbecue.
Domaine Gaujal Picpoul de Pinet 2015, Languedoc, France — €15-€16
Stockists: JJ O’Driscolls, 1601 Kinsale, Carry-Out Ardfert Kerry, Karwigs Carriagaline New to Karwigs list so just a couple of stockists besides their own shop in Carrigaline from an estate founded in 1744.
Do we need another Picpoul-de-Pinet you may ask? Well yes if it has ripe soft pear aromas mixed with hints of anise and lilies, soft tangy pear fruits and a crisp mineral finish.
BEST VALUE OVER €15
Quinta do Judeu Douro, Portugal — €16.99
Stockists: Red Nose Wines Clonmel, Curious Wines Cork and Naas
A blend of 30% each of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinta Roriz plus other Port grapes — this fruit driven red wine is from the same slopes as used for Port.
Bright juicy aromas, primary fruits, plums and ripe black cherries, soft and fruity palate. Packs a huge amount of fruit as only Portugal seems to be able to do these days (for the price).
Calodoro Colle dei Venti Pecorino, Abruzzo, Italy — €16.99
Stockists: JJ O’Driscolls, Karwigs Carriagaline Pecorino is an ancient (quality) variety commonly found in the Marche and Abruzzo in Central Italy.
Pale straw colour with green tints, chalky mineral aromas plus peach and soft yellow apples — pleasing soft fruits mixed with crisp acidity on the palate and mouth-filling fruit and tingly freshness on the finish. Try with a big bowl of wild mussels.
Warres White Port, Portugal — €18
Stockists: On the Grapevine Dalkey, Deveneys Dundrum
This is new to the Febvre list and will hopefully pick up some more stockists outside Dublin soon. Candied fruits, honeysuckle, lychees, tropical fruit, delicate sprit tinged fruits on the palate, and more lychees on the finish.
I love this on its own but also on ice with mint and a good tonic such as Fentimans, Fever Tree, or the new Irish entry Poachers Blend.
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