Wines this week are from the new Irish Whiskey Experience shop in Killarney, Co Kerry

This week is all about the Celtic Whiskey Shop in part to celebrate its new bar/restaurant/shop called the Irish Whiskey Experience on New Street (just off Main St) in Killarney, Co Kerry.

Killarney has the second highest number of hotel/ guesthouse bed-nights after Dublin so a huge number of people visit the town, all of whom have at least a passing interest in Ireland.

And given that we more or less invented whiskey it seems a no-brainer that Ireland’s best whiskey shop would open in the town. 

However, the Irish Whiskey Experience, is more than just selling whiskey and is designed to educate using a well-trained staff who seemed remarkably free of bias — a rare thing in the whiskey world.

Irish whiskey has come a long way in a decade and Celtic’s Ally Alpine is due some of the credit. 

Originally from Scotland he came to Dublin to work for Oddbins and then took redundancy to fill a much needed hole in Dublin’s retail scene on Dawson Street. 

That shop has a huge range and almost everything for sale in Dublin is also for sale in Killarney.

The Irish Whiskey Experience has around 800 whiskies in stock including over 400 from Ireland if you include all the different bottlings. 

There is also a mini whiskey-museum on the glass-covered walls containing some very rare Irish whiskey bottles so even if you don’t drink whiskey you should visit for a look at Ireland’s whiskey heritage.

On my visit I had a whiskey and food-matching tutorial matching whiskey with everything from chocolate to blue cheese. 

I later had a go at creating my own blend using a graduated cylinder and some fine Irish whiskies including smoky Connemara and fruity sherry-influenced Redbreast. 

This deepened my appreciation for the craft of the whiskey blender.

The two spots do not just do whiskey and while the shop in Killarney has a whiskey focus there is an extensive range of spirits, craft beers and wines with arguably the best selection of fortified wines in the country.

All the wines selected below are available from the Irish Whiskey Experience in Killarney by the glass and bottle and can also be found on Dawson Street and online at www.celticwhiskeyshop.com 

BEST VALUE UNDER €15

Condes de Albarei Albariño, Rias Baixas, Spain — €14.99

Wines this week are from the new Irish Whiskey Experience shop in Killarney, Co Kerry

Stockist: All at Irish Whiskey Experience, www.celticwhiskeyshop.com 

I haven’t yet tired of Albariño from Rias Baixas and I hope you are the same. There have been attempts to grow it elsewhere but with limited success, it just seems to need that salty Galician Atlantic breeze to show at its best. 

This has classical stone, fruit aromas, a rich, full palate and a bright fresh mineral salty finish.

Muros Antigos Vinho Verde 2015, Portugal — €12.99

Wines this week are from the new Irish Whiskey Experience shop in Killarney, Co Kerry

Vinho Verde is made just across the River Miño/Minho from Galicia using some alvarinho/albariño (as here), and more usually loureira (also found in Galicia). 

The pleasing spritz and fresh crisp flavours mixed with the peachy-apricot aromas and soft juicy palate and bitter apple peel finish make this a perfect summer drink.

Andreza Reserva 2013, Douro, Portugal — €13.99

Wines this week are from the new Irish Whiskey Experience shop in Killarney, Co Kerry

A blend of violet-scented touriga nacional with tinta franca and tinta roriz (local name for tempranillo) this is from higher altitude on slopes normally reserved for port. 

Floral and black fruit aromas and flavours with a touch of herbal complexity. Try with some barbecued pork ribs or some summer lamb.

BEST VALUE OVER €15

Ekam Riesling-Albariño, Costers del Segre, Spain — €29.99

Wines this week are from the new Irish Whiskey Experience shop in Killarney, Co Kerry

Stockist: All at Irish Whiskey Experience, www.celticwhiskeyshop.com 

This is from the relatively cool Costers del Segre region of Catalonia not far from Barcelona. The wine is mostly Riesling with just a (noticeable) punch of Albariño to for fragrance. 

Fermented in part in amphora this has fruity peach, pear and apple aromas with a supple palate, lingering intense fruits and a refreshing apple acidity zing.

Equipo Navazos La Bota 54 Fino Macharnudo Alto, Spain — €33.99

Wines this week are from the new Irish Whiskey Experience shop in Killarney, Co Kerry

Equipo Navazos don’t have a winery but just buy the best barrels they can find from the sherry cellars of Jerez and Sanlucar (this is from Valdespino Innocente). 

This is approximately 10 years old (fino is usually aged five years), and the colour of light honey with aromas of camomile, mineral salt and straw. Supple and deeply complex palate with taut tangy ozone and herbal edges. Outstanding.

Barbeito Verdelho 2000, Madeira, Portugal — €37.99

Wines this week are from the new Irish Whiskey Experience shop in Killarney, Co Kerry

I praised the 2000 Colheita Barbeito Malvasia in January and this is even better. Madeira has such wonderful acidity that it is good for summer drinking (serve around 5-10 C). 

Intense aromas of everything from old mahogany furniture to almonds and figs with a saline, sea-washed edge. Ripe sweet apple fruit on the front palate gives way to deeper honey-tinged darker fruit flavours. Hugely recommended.


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