Wine: Hazy View Chenin Blanc 2012




HAVE you ever wondered what it is actually like to own your own vineyard in France?

Well this coming Thursday you can find out as L’Attitude 51 wine bar will host another of their hugely successful “Bringing the Wine Geese Home” evenings as part of The Gathering.

I will be guest-hosting the evening in the company of Philip Grant of Chateau Bellevue le Foret in Fronton near Toulouse and Neasa Corish Miquel of Laurent Miquel wines in the Languedoc. Neasa married into the Miquel family and has been instrumental in driving the company forward in recent years with their wines now available in most supermarkets. Philip Grant has similarly upped the quality and scope of Bellevue la Foret since he bought it a few years back but has gone a more independent route, focusing on fine wine shops and restaurants.

It might sound romantic to own your own vineyard but I suspect next Thursday we will hear just how difficult it can be, given the capriciousness of certain Ministers for Finance and the vagaries of the weather. This year was particularly difficult with almost every vineyard in Europe hit by hailstones and heavy rains.

Our own weather has taken a bit of a turn for winter as I write this week so I have suggested a few wines that suit the cooler weather, although I’m not sure my wine choices change all that much with the seasons (rosé excepted).

Below I also include some more of the wines that won awards at the recent NOffLA awards but also old favourites which you should like, especially if you have had enough of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio.

¦ For the diary: Thursday, Nov 14, 2013 — 7pm; Bringing the Wine Geese Home at L’Atitude 51 Wine Bar Cork. What is it really like to own a winery in France?

With Philip Grant of Chateau Bellevue le Foret and Neasa Corish Miquel of Laurent Miquel. Contact L’Atitude on 021-2390219 or info@latitude51.ie

BEST VALUE UNDER €15

Hazy View Chenin Blanc 2012, South Africa — €9.99

Stockists: NOffLA Independent Off-Licences nationwide — e.g. O’Donovans, Galvins, Ardkeen

Chenin Blanc is grown in huge quantities in South Africa and is treated as a bit of a workhorse grape quite different to how it is viewed in its home territory of the Loire (eg Vouvray). This inexpensive example shows what the grape can do if vinified carefully — peaches and pears on the nose with some more pears on the palate and a fresh clean finish.

La Granja 360 Verdejo Viura 2012, Spain — €9.99

Stockists: NOffLA Independent Off-Licences nationwide — e.g. O’Donovans, Galvins, Ardkeen

From the Castilla Y Leon region in Northern Spain and a blend of Rueda’s Verdejo grape with Rioja’s Viura. Spanish whites are an alternative for anyone bored with Sauvignon Blanc and this is a good introduction with lovely floral and citrus aromas and a bright crisp finish. Try with mussels or light pasta dishes.

Escudo Rojo 2010, Chile — €12.99

Stockists: NOffLA Independent Off-Licences nationwide — e.g. O’Donovans, Galvins, Ardkeen

Owned by Baron Philippe de Rothschild this is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere and Cabernet Franc. Dark smoky fruits on the nose with soft complex red and black fruit flavours on the palate and some good balance and structure. This will work well with any meat dish but I found it particularly successful with a beef and chorizo stew.

BEST VALUE UNDER €25

The Wise One Grand Tawny, Bleasdale Wines Australia — €16.99 (down from €19.99)

Curious Wines Cork, Red Nose Wines Clonmel

Winter is officially here so it must be time for a bottle of port to warm up those evenings. This Aussie fortified Tawny spends an average of 10 years in oak and has rich aromas of dried fruits with figs particularly noticeable. On the palate this is a rich complex wine with a nutty spicy character.

Valdamor Albariño 2010, Rías Baixas, €16.99-17.99

World Wide Wines Waterford, Florries Fine Wine Tramore, Wine Centre Kilkenny, Wicklow Wine Co.

This is a very good introduction to the Albariño grape from Galicia in North West Spain. Albariño has the ability to be both fragrant and refreshing. Ripe aromas of brioche and apple pie with touches of pear and apricot and a rich mouth-feel but a crisp finish. Try with creamy pasta dishes or on its own.

Predator Old Vine Zinfandel 2010, Lodi, California — €19.99-€20.99

Stockists: Wine Boutique Ringsend, Barrys Midleton, Stacks Listowel,

Red Earth Mullingar, Ardkeen Stores Waterford. An eco-friendly wine that uses ladybirds in the vineyards and various other techniques to avoid spraying pesticides. Solid juicy wine with distinct coffee and spice aromas and a rich complex palate packed with fruit. Try with steak or posh burgers.


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