Monday, December 29, 2014
No Shortage of Sparkle at Year’s End
No doubt that Champagne, Cava and Prosecco are the big three in sparkling wine. But there are many more from all over the world. We enjoyed a white and a rosé from Cono Sur during the recent blogging competition final in Paris and, speaking of France, the country produces well over twenty such wines aside from the well known champagne. This is one of them, from the Loire and made in the same way as Champagne (méthode traditionnelle). It survived the Christmas and I'm looking forward to opening it on New Year’s Eve. Happy New Year to you all.
There is no shortage of sparkling wine to see out the old year and to welcome the new, anything from an expensive champagne such as Krug to the inexpensive Prosecco below. The big selection gives you a good chance to get one to suit both your palate and budget.
Champagne Pierre Darcys Brut, €20.00 at SuperValu
Cava Brut Barcino, €12.00 at Supervalu
Griffon Prosecco Frizzante, €9.00 at SuperValu
These are just three from the SuperValu range. The champagne itself was put to the test here on Christmas Day and went down very well indeed. It certainly has got the usual characteristics, is crisp and well balanced and runs out quickly!
The Cava stood into the breach then and you'd hardly notice. No shortage of small bubbles here, the typical breaded nose and again fresh and zesty. Just the job at about half the price.
Prosecco has made a huge impact, not always good, on the sparkling wine scene and this friendly Frizzante is but one of many on the market. It is made in a different way with the secondary fermentation taking place in a bulk tank rather than in the individual bottle, hence the twine on the cork, rather than the more usual more robust arrangement! It is less expensive to produce than Spumante which undergoes secondary fermentation in the bottle. Don't delay too long with your glass of Frizzante as the bubbles don't hang around.
Carl Jung Sparkling White (de-alcoholised), €5.99 widely available
Superquinn; Dunnes Stores; Joyce's of Galway; Molloy's Off-Licences, Dublin; O'Brien's; Next Door Off-Licences; Supervalu nationwide; and good independent off-licences nationwide
With a few drivers among those calling to the house at Christmas, I thought this Carl Jung might come in handy. It sure did and drew a few compliments as well, showing that sparkling celebrations may be enjoyed without the alcohol. Actually, there is quite an intense rush of bubbles and no shortage of fruit in the palate.
Oh, by the way, if someone says he’d prefer to drink tea, you can keep the sparkle going by offering him a glass of Mariko. Cheers!
Bouvet Saphir Saumur Brut 2011
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Campo Viejo. Still and Sparkling
Campo Viejo Rioja Reserva 2008, 13.5%, €14.31 Widely available.
Campo Viejo is the "dependable" Rioja. Even in Spain, according to our guide on a recent Tapas Trail. And not just in Spain. It is in the No. 1 Rioja position worldwide. And one can see why, or at least taste why, in this bottle. The wine has been aged for 18 months in French and American oak and a further 18 months aging in the bottle.
Colour is a clean and bright ruby and it has inviting red fruit aromas. You’ll find rounded fruit flavours and spice notes on the palate. Really well balanced with little or no sign of tannins and it has a lovely long finish. Made mainly from Tempranillo (85%), it is added to our Very Highly Recommended list.
Campo Viejo Cava Brut Reserva, 11.5%, €15.38, O’Brien’s nationwide http://www.obrienswine.ie .
Cava is usually associated with the Catalunya region of Spain and indeed the vast majority of this traditionally made sparkling wine is made there. But it is also produced in quite a few other regions such as Aragon, Navarra, and La Rioja. The usual grapes in the blend, and in this wine, are Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel-lo.
Take a look at this in the glass and you see a clean greenish yellow colour, bright and with no shortage of rising bubbles. There are white fruit aromas which I've seen described as complex but I didn't find anything very intense. White fruits too on the palate and a terrific balancing acidity. Fresh for sure and with an excellent dry finish. A good value Cava, made by the Metodo Tradicional, and Highly Recommended.
They also produce a Rosé Brut, made with 100% Trepat.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
CHRISTMAS WINE REVIEW
Glad to say most of the wines flagged in a last month’s A Festive Wine Mix came up trumps over the holiday period. The Hamilton Ewell Fortified Red Wine, available from Bubble Brothers for about €18.00, was an after dinner highlight and this port taste-alike went down well with the Green Saffron Christmas Pudding.
|Not all alcohol|
Much before all that, the Innocent Bystander, Victoria, 2010 Moscato, 5.5% (Bradley’s Off Licence), drew quite a lot of favourable comment as did the Mont Marcal Extremarium Cava from Curious Wines.
There was a split decision when the Jip Jip Rocks Sparkling Shiraz from Karwig Wines was introduced and I must admit I didn’t get too many converts. But another red from the Carrigaline outlet went down a treat and that was the Monte Veho 2010 Vinho Regional Alentejano (€13.85). Made from a selection of regional grapes, this was well balanced, nicely rounded, soft and easy drinking.
And another Portuguese red, the Fontanario de Pegoes Palmela DO Reserva 2007 (Portugal), 14%, (€16.99), also got a big welcome. This is imported by Wine Alliance and widely available as is one of their brilliant whites: Little Beauty Sauvignon Blanc Limited Edition 2009, New Zealand, 13.5%, €15.99, another Christmas star.
Back to Karwig’s for another white that found wide acceptance: Rebenfeld Gruner Veltliner 2006 from South Austria (€11.00). This crisp fruity dry wine, from Austria’s flagship white grape, has good balance and a good finish and is very good value indeed. Perhaps the top Karwig white that found its way onto the holiday table was the Martin Codax Albarino 2010 (€13.85). A lovely wine: aromatic, crisp and dry.
I also had the pleasure of a couple of doubles from the Southern Rhone, a pair of Chateauneuf du Pape, and also a pair of good ones from La Citadelle, one of the top producers in the Luberon. I’ll fill you in on these later.
It wasn’t all alcohol of course. The Innocent Bystander drew favourable comment partly because of its low alcohol and I also had my favourite non alcoholic beverage available, the Tipperary Sparkling Apple Juice by Con Traas.
Con also does a gorgeous still apple juice from his Carmine apples and, at Midleton Farmers Market on Christmas Eve morning, I found a worthy rival in the still juice by the Little Irish Apple Company from Kilkenny. It is made from Bramley and Seasonal Dessert varieties and is refreshing and natural and lovely when chilled, a different taste that also found favour around here this holiday.