Christmas Wines at SuperValu
When you find yourself in a wine shop or the wine section of a supermarket, do you get somewhat confused with the huge choice available? I know I do. Here's a tip if you intend taking advantage of the current SuperValu Christmas Wine offer. Pick up a copy of their Uncorked, a free magazine available in store.
It has some terrific articles and information on the available wines. Not just wine. Kristin Jensen has a few pages explaining all about craft beer. Port is of course a type of wine and the Examiner's Leslie Williams guides you through this one. Lots of other informative articles too, all written in plain English and easy for wine beginners to understand.
And if someone in your life is more than a beginner or if you want to treat yourself, go to Page 11 where Ross Golden-Bannon highlights a superb gift, at less than half-price. This is a vertical vintage offer of Bordeaux's Chateau La Croizille St Emilion Grand Cru. The pack features the top six vintages of the past decade: 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012. Price is €150, down from €354. Yes please!
Now that you have your information, maybe even a shortlist, let us head off to the shelves.
Chateau Camp De La Hire 2010 (Castillon, Cotes de Bordeaux), 13%, €12.00 (15.99).
Intense colour here; the fruity aromas are also quite intense. Medium to full bodied, with soft tannins, it is fresh and elegant, well balanced and pleasingly complex with long finalé. Highly Recommended.
The Castillon wines are produced by mainly small family farms (230 of them); this is not the Bordeaux of the big chateaux. But the same grapes are used, mainly Merlot in this case. Castillon, one of four Cotes de Bordeaux areas, is squeezed between the Dordogne River to the south, St Emilion (no less) to the immediate west and the Dordogne department to the east.
No weedkiller is used in the production of this particular wine and indeed the cultivation is traditional. They recommended pairing it with spicy noodles, dumplings and red meat stews. Maybe they have an Asian audience in mind but my match came from much nearer home.
I found it on the recipe section of the Bord Bia site: Pan Fried Duck Breasts with Red Wine and Orange Sauce. It is delicious and the sauce itself (with some of the wine included) was a star and indeed may lend itself to other dishes.
Union Wine’s Kings Ridge Pinot Gris 2013 (Oregon), 13%, €15.00 (19.99)
Pink skinned Pinot Gris, a mutation of Pinot Noir and a cousin of Chardonnay, is associated with Alsace and, as Pinot Grigio, with Italy. It is a “specialty in Oregon” according to the World Atlas of Wine and SuperValu have this excellent example from the Willamette Valley, known as Oregon’s home for cool climate vines.
This has a lovely gold colour, a ring of bubbles around the top (they don't last!). There are gorgeous white fruit aromas. The palate is almost creamy, with pleasing white fruit flavours (pear, citrus), excellent acidity and the finish is more or less perfect as well. A really well made wine and Highly Recommended.
By the way, Oregon's reputation for Pinot Noir and Riesling is high as well and SuperValu have these on offer also.
Terres Blanches Alchimie Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (Coteaux du Giennois AOC), 12.5%, €10.00 (14.99).
This little known little appellation (202 hectares) on the eastern edge of the Loire Valley northeast of Sancerre (4181 ha) produces almost equal amounts of light-bodied red and white wines. With extensions of Sancerre limestone geological formations into the area, you can expect good Sauvignon Blanc and this doesn't disappoint.
Light gold is the colour and the minerality on the nose is coupled with floral elements. The attack is bright with those citrus elements to the fore, minerality too of course, a crisp acidity, even a wee tingle. A very pleasant surprise indeed, Sancerre in style but not in price! Highly Recommended.
Also in the Christmas sale:
Maison Andre Goichot Meursault (AOC) 2014, 13%, €35.00 (44.99).
Colour is a greenish gold, limpid and brilliant, and here the fruit and acidity match up in an exceptional balance. Fresh and smooth, it has an excellent refined mouthfeel with a streak of minerality and a long finish that keeps giving. Highly Recommended.
Maison Andre Goichot Mercurey (AOC) 2013, 12.5%, €18.00 (22.99).
Colour is a light, and bright, red while the aromas give you a nice mix of raspberry, cherry, strawberry. Red fruit flavours, cherry prominent, on the palate, light as you'd expect, the lightness of a classic youthful Pinot Noir; acidity and tannins combine well as you go into the dry finish. Very Highly Recommended.
Goichot Pouilly-Fuissé “Les Feuilles d’Or” 2014, 13%, €18.00 (down from 22.99)
Colour is a medium gold and there are aromas of citrus and white fruits among quite a medley. In the mouth, it is smooth, close to creamy, richly fruited and soft with good acidity too plus a lingering finish. An elegant wine indeed and Very Highly Recommended.
Il Capolavoro Appassimento Rosso 2014, 14%, €10.00 (14.99)
This palate pleasing beauty is produced from grapes that have been partially dried (appassimento) and the result is a rich red colour and, more importantly, a greater concentration of fruit flavours. And that concentration means a very pleasant easy drinking wine with a little spice both on nose and palate. Add in a silky mouthfeel and you've got a winner. Very Highly Recommended.
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.
Price in brackets indicates the normal price per bottle.