Showing posts with label Sauvignon Blanc. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sauvignon Blanc. Show all posts

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Double Up with Tinpot Hut this Christmas

Double Up with Tinpot Hut this Christmas

The Tinpot Hut winery is named after the huts, famed in New Zealand sheep country, huts used by musterers as they round up the sheep who have spent Spring to Autumn in the hills. Fiona Turner, a regular visitor to Ireland, is the winemaker.

Tinpot Hut Pinot Noir Marlborough (New Zealand) 2015, 13%, RRP € 24.99 Bradley’s, Cork; Cashel Wine Cellar; JJ O’Driscoll, Cork; Wine Online; World Wide Wines.

Colour is Pale ruby. There are plum and cherry aromas, touch of blackberry too. Same fruit on the smooth palate, spice well in the mix too, soft and silky tannins and well balanced through to a long finish. Hard to top this one. Very Highly Recommended.

Tinpot Hut Marlborough Sauvignon blanc 2016, 13.5%, €19.99 Stockists: Bradley’s, Cork; Cashel Wine Cellar; JJ O’Driscoll, Cork; McKeoghs, Killaloe; Myles Creek; Wine Online; World Wide Wines.

Another beauty from Fiona Turner and Tinpot Hut. Colour is light straw with green tints. Vibrant aromas of melon, pineapple, lemongrass, a drift of herb. On the palate, exotic fruit flavours, citrus also in there, make it quite a flavourful experience, but with a lively acidity, and this elegant wine continues in balance as it heads to a long finalé.

Fiona is proud of her well earned Sustainable Winegrowing logo and proud too of this Sauvignon that has been declared “exceptional” by Decanter who also awarded it 98 points. Very Highly Recommended.

Tinpot Hut wines are imported here by Liberty Wines and they also include Pinot Gris, Syrah, Riesling and Grüner Veltliner in their portfolio.



Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Christmas Aperitifs. And Two for The Meal!

Christmas Aperitifs
And Two for The Meal!

Quite a bit of variety in this quartet of whites, all possible aperitifs, which should stand you  in good stead over the holidays. All will be fine as aperitifs and two have the advantage of being rather low in alcohol. One is a rosé (usually associated with summer but I'm sure the house will be hot!) and another is a slightly sweet bottle of organic bubbles. The Vinho Verde is easy-drinking (indeed, they all are) and has a very slight fizz while the Sauvignon Blanc can also do duty during a meal. And speaking of The Meal, we have two (each well-priced) at the end that will certainly do the business there for you. Enjoy.

Messias Vinho Verde (DOC) 8.5%, €12.35 Karwig’s


This Vinho Verde is light and crisp, with a subtle and sparse fizz. It is made, in the Atlantic north of Portugal, from traditional regional varieties (Loureiro and Pedernâ in this case).

It has a light lemon colour, a touch of green and plenty of fizzy bubbles. Aromas are of light fresh fruits. The light white fruits continue to the palate, also a touch of sweetness (residual sugar is 13 gram/litre), a gentle fizz is part of the lively acidity. Recommended, especially as an aperitif.


La Stoppa Malvasia Dolce Frizzante, Emilia (IGT) 2016, 7%, €18.95 Bradley’s, Le Caveau.


The Malvasia di Candia is a rather unusual moderately sweet bubbly wine. Single fermentation is via the Charmat method (also used in Prosecco). Note that the ABV is just 7%.

Note too the beautiful golden colour. Not that many bubbles. It is frizzante, not spumante! Easy drinking (not a hint of cloying), moderately sweet, honey and fruity and a good finish. This lightly sparkling beauty is Recommended.

Le Bijou de Sophie Valrose Cabrieres Languedoc (AOP), 13%, €14.95 Bradley’s Cork.

This rosé is one of the new wines added to the Findlater range. It is produced from Cinsault (50%), Grenache (40) and Syrah (10). “Summer in a glass” they claim, full of red fruit and a refreshing zestiness. Sophie Valrose wines are regular award winners (the rosé indeed picked up another gong at the recent National Off Licence Awards). 

Colour is a light to mid salmon, more flush than the blush on the label. Strawberries and blossoms in the aromas, round and elegant on the palate, excellent acidity and a decent finish to boot. Summer has been successfully bottled here. Recommended, even in winter!


Passage du Sud Sauvignon Blanc, Côtes de Gascogne (IGP) 2016, 11.5%, €12.95 Bradley’s (Cork)

Usually in Gascony, the white wines I've come across are the kind that go well during the holiday. Often they are produced from Ugni Blanc  and Columbard (used in Armagnac) fruit, great with the local oysters and other seafood but rarely worth bringing home. This Sauvignon Blanc has a bit more going for it and is Recommended. 

The Gascony area, in the south west of France, often hosts migrating birds, hence the name on this bottle. The designation Côtes de Gascogne is in the Gers department. Here too you will find Armagnac and Floc de Gascogne (the local aperitif). This is the area where you are strongly advised not to ask for Cognac or Pineau des Charentes (also a good aperitif, as is the Floc, if you can get your hands on them).


This wine, also new to the Findlater list, has a light straw colour. White fruit aromas are matched on the crisp and fruity palate, citrus elements prominent, and a lively acidity. Quite a pleasant surprise this from a generally unconsidered area. Recommended. Good value too.


And Two for The Meal!
Le Petite Source Le Clos Rouge Pays d’Oc (IGP), 12.5%, €11.95 Bradley's, Le Caveau
This is one of the selection of excellent “simple” wines that Le Caveau have on their house wine listings. Under a convenient screw cap, the organic blend is of Grenache, Cinsault and Merlot. It is deliciously light and fruity and a good example of price/quality ration from the Languedoc.

It has a lovely medium ruby colour. It is fresh and fruity (blackberry, raspberry and strawberry), juicy and simple, silky tannins with just a little bite. Well balanced but with a good deal of heft about it and Highly Recommended.

Le Petite Source Le Clos Blanc Pays d’Oc (IGP) 2014, 12.5%, €11.95 Bradley's, Le Caveau


This 2014 edition (2015 is now available) has a light straw colour. There are rather exotic fruits on the nose. And they follow through to the palate. It is deliciously fresh and fruity, no shortage of acidity. Very refreshing with a longish finish. This well made blend of Vermentino and Chardonnay is Highly Recommended.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Exciting White Trio. Albarino, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling

Terras Gauda Abadío de San Campio Albarino, Rías Baixas (DO) 2014, 12%, €20.35 Le Caveau

Thought to be related to Riesling and presumably brought by Cluny monks to 12th century Iberia, via France, the recently fashionable Albarino grape is now mainly associated with Rías Baixas in north western Spain. It is also grown in neighbouring areas in Portugal where it is known as Alvarinho.

I was expecting good things in this bottle and I got them, even better than anticipated. Colour is mid-gold, bright and clean and there is no shortage of white fruits in the aromas. On the palate, it is bright and fruity, citrus in the tingle, minerality to the fore, a superb combination overall and that includes the long finish. Ticks all the boxes for a classy Albarino and is Very Highly Recommended.

The producers say it is ideal with seafood, shellfish and fish and especially with Tuna steaks.

Elgin Ridge 282 Sauvignon Blanc, South Africa 2014, 14%, €19.95 Le Caveau
At 282 metres above sea-level, we are at the ideal height to create cool climate Sauvignon Blanc in the Elgin Valley. The organic farming methods give the wine its elegance and unique flavour.

So says Marion Smith, ex Ballyjamesduff, who now runs the winery with her husband Brian. By the way, Dexter cattle, a native Irish breed, figure in the organic farming, grazing between the rows of vines and indeed Marion has the biggest herd of Dexter in the Western Cape.

Dexters aren’t the only “helpers” for Marion and Brian, who planted their first vines here in 2007. They also use Dorper sheep, chickens and Peking ducks to control the weeds and pests. Looks like the combination is working very well indeed.

Colour is a medium-gold with green tints. The aromas are fresh and cool. That freshness extends to the palate, tingly with concentrated white fruit, including gooseberry, citrus also prominent, pepper and spice too and then an excellent finish. Highly Recommended.

Carl Ehrhard Rüdesheim Riesling trocken, Rheingau 2015, 12%, €17.80 Karwig Wines

Grapes are hand-picked and indeed the vinification is focussed on “preserving the natural fruit”. This is facilitated by natural and gentle fining and slow cool fermentation. As usual Carl Ehrhard gets it right.


Colour is pale gold with greenish tints and you'll note micro bubbles clinging to the glass. Aromas are a gentle mix of apple and citrus. It tingles the palate; the intense fruit, now with more than a hint of grapefruit, and a super refreshing acidity combine well all the way to a long finish. This dry wine is Very Highly Recommended. Perfect for aperitif and with seafood and Riesling is regularly recommended for Asian.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Wines Direct Hit Double Top With French Pair

Wines Direct Hit Double Top With French Pair

Domaine des Corbillieres Sauvignon Blanc Touraine (AOC) 2015, 13%, €14.35 Wines Direct

Sometimes it pays to go back to the source. And, in this case, you don't have to pay all that much to get a prime bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, one the world’s favourite grapes and certainly one of its favourite wines.

This is a little known classic from the Loire. Well maybe not that little known. M. Robert Palmer has credited the winery with producing “some of the consistently finest, not to mention best value, Sauvignon Blanc on the planet.”


High praise indeed and well deserved for the organic winemakers. This Sauvignon Blanc has the classic aromas of gooseberry and pear, herbaceous and citrus elements on the palate and a strong minerality in the dry finish.  Light bodied and high quality. It may not have much colour but it has everything else. What a pleasant surprise. Very Highly Recommended.


Chateau de Cardaillan Graves (AOC) 2012, 14%, €23.15 Wines Direct



Cardaillan is a vineyard on the eastern edge of Graves, part of the better known Chateau de Malle (famous for its Sauternes). The blend here is fifty fifty between Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and it is matured in oak for 12-18 months (depending on the vintage).

It is quite a deep red with a pronounced bouquet of ripe red fruit. The complex fruit flavours and almost velvety tannins endow this medium bodied blend with finesse and an easy drinking elegance. There is a good long finish and acidity enough for food. Wines Direct recommend T-bones but why stop at beef? Try it with lamb and venison too. Very Highly Recommended

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The All Whites. Including a Mendoza Double.

Valle Aldino Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Central Valley (Chile), 13%, €12.70 Karwig Wine


Have you been reading The 24 Hour Wine Expert by Jancis Robinson? At €6.80 (Waterstones), it is well worth getting. 

In a section called Be Adventurous, she lists 15 pairs, one wine The Obvious Choice, the other tagged The Clever Alternative.  In Sauvignon Blanc, the obvious is Marlborough while the alternative is Chile.

The alternative, she says, can “be sometimes cheaper, often more interesting”. This Valle Aldino is certainly cheaper and, while not more interesting than the better Marlboroughs, is a good alternative at a decent price.

Colour is a light straw with tints of green. Fresh and grassy aromas, white fruits there too. Gooseberries and citrus flavours, with strong melon-y notes too, on the zesty palate, plus a decent finish. Recommended.


Mendoza’s Domaine Bousquet
A Blend Double

In 1990, the Bousquet family from Carcassonne in Southern France began to explore wine-making possibilities in Argentina. In 1997, they settled in Tupungato (Mendoza) in one of the highest vineyards in the world.

It is no less than 1,200 meters above sea level. There is a large difference between day and night temperatures. This variation (the thermal amplitude) helps create fully ripened grapes with good acidity. The heat of the day promotes the ripening, the chill of the night preserves acidity. Grapes are hand-picked and the vineyard is certified organic.

Domaine Bousquet Chardonnay - Pinot Gris Reserva 2010 (Tupungato, Mendoza, ARG), 14%, €18.80 Mary Pawle Wines
Colour is a light gold, clean and bright and a ring of bubbles stay around the rim for a while. It is strongly aromatic, some exotic white fruit and floral notes too. Concentrated white fruit flavours announce its arrival on the palate and the acidity ensures a happy balance. It is an elegant style with a dry and pleasing finish. Highly Recommended.

The mix is 85% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Gris. And the Reserve apparently means that the grapes have been picked from the best plots.

Domaine Bousquet Cameleon  Selection Torrontes - Chardonnay 2014 (Tupungato, Mendoza, ARG), 14%, O’Donovan’s Off Licence.

The Cameleon, one of their brands, symbolises the family story of Jean Bousquet, the leaving of France and adapting to the new life in Argentina. Adapted quite well going by this bottle, also Highly Recommended.

The blend here is fifty fifty. Aging is in stainless steel plus four months in bottle. Ideal, they say for seafood, fish dishes and cheeses. I say fine on its own and worth a try too with white meat and Asian dishes.

Colour is a light gold, clean and bright, much like the first bottle above. Aromas are of white fruits, floral notes too. On the palate there are fresh white fruit flavors, some sweet spice, an oily mouthfeel, more body here, that expected acidity and a long, dry and very pleasing finish.

This is what the family wanted from the blend and from their soil. “With its subtle attunement, this Chameleon is a conspicuous presence in a landscape of indistinguishable wine.” Don't know what the neighbours made of that statement!


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Northern Whites. Double Delight.

Northern Whites
Double Delight


On the Loire

We’ve got two excellent whites for you to consider this week. One is a Riesling from Germany’s Rheingau and the other is a Sauvignon Blanc from the little-known Menetou-Salon appellation in the Loire valley.

Germany’s greatest variety, Riesling, is first documented in the Rheingau in 1435. Don't think Carl Ehrhard has been there that long but he has built up a great reputation and our selection is a lovely example.

Menetou-Salon is a village at the eastern end of the Loire Valley wine region. Wine-searcher.com says it is “forecast by many to be a potential rival for the famous Sancerre appellation (its immediate north-eastern neighbor), Menetou-Salon is rapidly establishing its reputation at an international level”. The reputation is being built on two varieties: Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.

Carl Ehrhard Rüdesheim Riesling Kabinett Feinherb 2015, Rheingau (Germany), 11.5%, €18.60 Karwig Wines

A few words:
Kabinett: a wine made from fully ripened grapes of the main harvest, one level lower than Spätlese.
Feinherb: off dry.

This light gold 100% Riesling has lots of mini-bubbles clinging to the glass. There are white fruit aromas and the intense fresh fruit flavours (apple, citrus) make the tongue tingle at the start before rolling deliciously on. That tingle is the acidity keeping all that lively lovely fruit (with its hints of sweetness) in balance, right through to the excellent finish. Carl Ehrhard never leaves one down and this is Very Highly Recommended.

Just to let those of you worried about the whiffs of diesel from some Rieslings know, there is not a trace of fumes here!


Jean-Max Roger, Morogues, Le Petit Clos 2014, Menetou-Salon (AOC), 12.5%, €21.55 Karwig Wines

This is a classic Loire Sauvignon blanc, on a par with neighbouring Sancerre where Jean-Max also farms. It is elegant and restrained and the perfect partner for “the bounty of the seas,..... Also a good match for white meats and goat’s cheese”. The fruit comes from 5 hectares of vines in Le Petit Clos vineyard. In this steep south-facing slope, grape quality is the season long target.

This light gold wine has pleasant herbaceous aromas, citrus hints too, and these follow through on a fresh and lively palate, superb balance and long finish. Dry and crisp, with lots of character, this excellent Sauvignon Blanc is Highly Recommended.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

International Sauvignon Blanc Day. Three To Try Next Friday

International Sauvignon Blanc Day
Three To Try Next Friday
The beautiful Chenonceau chateau in the Loire area
(but on the Cher River, a tributary of the Loire)

Sauvignon Blanc, possibly now the world’s best known white grape variety, has its annual day in the spotlight this coming Friday when International Sauvignon Blanc Day will be celebrated. We have three examples, all highly recommended, for you to try.

The “secret” of Sauvignon Blanc, known to connoisseurs for decades as the grape used in Sancerre in the Loire, was blown apart by the winemakers of New Zealand, of Marlborough in particular, whose fresh and lively style caught the attention of the world and, unlike the French, the Kiwis used the grape variety on the front label. Suddenly, we all knew a grape variety!

“The Kiwis made it famous” says one of the three well-known personalities discussing the white grape on a short video on YouTube; check it out here. Not one of them has a bad word to say about it:
“Great wine for beginners”;
“World’s most honest wine”;
“Refreshing”;
“Goes extremely well with soft cheeses:;
“Safest white wine to order from a wine list”.

If you want know more about the grape, read Jancis Robinson and the experts at Wine-searcher.com .


We don't have any for you from New Zealand but they are easily found. We do have a Southern Hemisphere offering, with an Irish connection, and two from the Loire area. Neither of the two is from Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé but both are nonetheless very interesting and excellent wines.

Guy Allion Domaine Du Haut Perron Sauvignon 2014 (Touraine AC), 13%, €14.55 Le Caveau

Touraine is the catch-all AC along much of the Loire valley but under it you’ll find many excellent wines, including this one. If it had Sancerre on the label, you could add another tenner to the price. Great value for money here and well worth a try. Their viticultural methods are “resolutely organic and sustainable”.

Its light yellow colour is pure and bright. In the aromas you’ll find white fruit (apple, pear), herbaceous notes, even nettle. No shortage of flavours, including citrus, on the fresh palate, where it is supple and vibrant, a sharp mineral edge, all combining in a good finish. Highly Recommended.

They say it is a wine to drink as an aperitif, with asparagus, seafood, or fish with a slightly creamy sauce or White butter.
I say try it with a simple Goatsbridge Smoked Trout salad or with Pan-fried Chicken Breast from the Chicken Inn cooked with apple and white wine (this one!).

Elgin Ridge 272 Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (South Africa), 14%, €21.95 Bradley’s. (see also Le Caveau)

There is an Irish connection here. Cavan woman Marion Smith (Ballyjamesduff) is co-owner with husband Brian and the vineyard is certified organic. They are also the owners of the largest herd of Dexter cattle (a native Irish breed) in the area. You’ll also see Dorper sheep, Peking duck and chicken all keeping the vineyard in check.

The name comes from the fact that the vineyard is 282 metres above sea-level, “the ideal height to create cool-climate Sauvignon Blanc in the Elgin Valley”.

Colour is light gold, with a great clarity, and white fruits are to the fore in the aromas. On the palate, you get those white fruit flavours, citrus taking the lead now, lively acidity, a mineral edge there too and a good finish. A lovely refreshing wine, great with food, and Highly Recommended.

Frantz Saumon Montlouis-Sur-Loire Sauvignon 2014 (Vin de France), 11.5%, €17.95 Bradley’s (see also le Caveau)

This natural wine is made from manually harvested organic grapes and not your usual Sauvignon Blanc, even that little bit different to others from the Loire in both aroma and palate. You’ll notice it at first sniff: it is not overly aromatic at all, though you may find citrus and pineapple. It is also low in alcohol. Only indigenous yeasts are used and the use of sulphur is very restricted.

Colour is an inviting light gold, really bright, with microbubbles on the glass. It is pleasant and tingly on the palate, with notes of gooseberry and grapefruit, excellent acidity, all followed by a good finish.

Producers recommend trying this delicious wine with “simply prepared fish dishes”. It is well worth a try and Highly Recommended. And don't worry, it is not that far away from your normal Sauvignon Blanc!



Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Sauvignon Blanc. Graham Norton in on the act! Cono Sur's Silencio best in Chile

Noble Grape Sauvignon Blanc
Graham Norton in on the act!
And Cono Sur's Silencio best in Chile.

Sauvignon blanc is one of the best known and best loved grapes on the planet. The Loire Valley is regarded as its heartland but it thrives too in New Zealand, especially in Marlborough, and in Chile and indeed in many other places around the world.

And it is to New Zealand that West Cork born Graham Norton went to try his hand at making a bottle. Personality in a bottle or a personality with a bottle? The answer is somewhere in between.  


Cono Sur Reserva Especial Sauvignon blanc 2013, Valle de Casablanca (Chile), 12.5%, €13.99 Bradley’s Offlicence

According to the recent Wines of South America, Cono Sur (the first winery to be recognised as carbon neutral) is “one of the most consistent and reliable wineries in the country”. The country is, of course, Chile, and this is an excellent example and Very Highly Recommended.

The pale gold colour is bright and healthy looking and there are fresh aromas of white fruit and blossoms. Fruit flavours in the crisp and elegant palate, lively acidity and a decent finish too. Ideal as an aperitif or with seafood dishes.




Graham Norton’s Sauvignon blanc 2015, Marlborough (New Zealand), 12.5%, €12.00 at SuperValu from November 6th

Norton is a shareholder in the Invivo Winery and the wines for blending were brought to him in London. Winemaker Rob Cameron came too and together they came up with a wine that quickly won a string of awards.

Critics say:
“Fresh and lively… fabulous juicy finish”.
“Tongue tingling….full of punch and personality”.
“Savvie….full of lime zest.”
Norton says: “It’s lovely! Tropical fruit...a bit of zing...cheers to that!”

Colour is just about present with hints of green. Aromas are fresh, white fruit, some herbal elements too. There is a generous flush of freshness and fruit, matched immediately by balancing acidity (just like a Norton put-down!). Must admit this is an excellent drop indeed (unlike his red chair!) and Highly Recommended.

Emiliana Sauvignon blanc 2014, DO Valle Central (Chile), 12.5%, €12.95 Bradley’s
This is an organic wine by Eco Balance, made for “relaxed everyday enjoyment. Integrity, sustainability and an earth friendly focus inspires all that we do”.

This is light yellow, green also evident, clear and bright. Aromas include herbal elements, white fruits too (including grapefruit). It is fresh and fruity with a zingy acidity, a decent mouthfeel and a moderate finish. Very good value and Recommended.


More good news for Cono Sur and chief wine-maker Adolfo Hurtado. Their Silencio Cabernet Sauvignon, launched in Dublin 12 months ago,  has been named as the best red wine in Chile, gaining an unprecedented 98 points.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Good Wine Mix. Your Thursday Tips.

A Good Wine Mix.
Your Thursday Tips
The grapes are dried by the Ammasso method,
explained on a peel-off back label.

Barone Montalto Ammasso 2013 Rosso Siciliane (IGT), 14.5%, SuperValu €18.99

This may well be Sicily’s answer to Amarone as the islanders have used the traditional Ammasso (known as Appassimento in the north of the mainland). The varieties blended in this gorgeous and complex wine are the locals Nero d’Avola and Nerello Mascalese and the internationals Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. A serious work of wine is the result and it is Very Highly Recommended.

Medium red is the colour and the aromas, of dark fruit, are pretty intense. There is a luscious concentrated fruit, hints of sweetness, spice too; overall, a rather plush wine, tannins just about in play, and the finish is long.


Albet i Noya, Petit Albet 2010, Penedes (DO), 12%, 12.49 O’Donovan’s

This organic wine from Catalunya is a blend of Chardonnay and the local grape Xarel-lo (60%). The Xarel-lo will be familiar to you as one of the grapes used traditionally in Cava. Albet i Noya started their move towards organic in the mid 70s. They also buy in grapes and these too are organic and, besides, the wine is certified vegan friendly.

Aromas are of white fruit, including melon. It is light and fresh and those scented fruits continue strongly on the palate. It boasts a bright acidity and a good dry finish. Enjoy it young, as the name implies. Highly Recommended.


Marques de Riscal Sauvignon 2013, Rueda (DO), 12.5%, €12.99 Bradley’s Off Licence

This bottle had just been opened and was on a table about two feet away. Yet, with the tail-end of a cold, I still got the very inviting aromas. Inviting too was the colour: light gold, fresh and clean.

And the wine continued to surprise on the palate. The feel, the flavour, the finish complete a hat trick of delights. Go try it now and then maybe move up the Riscal scale and see what their other Sauvignons have in store. This though is great value and Very Highly Recommended.

The World Atlas of Wine credits Riscal with a key role in the revival of Rueda’s Verdejo. On this evidence, they are doing well also with the Sauvignon, a more recent arrival.