Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Two of my favourite grapes, Verdejo and Pinot Noir, making beautiful wines

 Two of my favourite grapes. Verdejo and Pinot Noir making beautiful wines

De Alberto Verdejo Rueda (DO) 2021, 13.5% ABV,  €11.95 (was 15.45)

What could I expect from this organic Verdejo? The label hints included: aromatic, fruity, fatty, oily.

Straw is the colour, and there is a tinge of green. Aromas are intense and inviting, white fruit with notes of fennel.  Four months on lees has given it excellent body.  On the palate, it is balanced, is fresh from the start and, with good acidity and a streak of lime, intense all through to the lingering finish.

You’ll enjoy this one on its own or with poultry, fish and seafood. Wine Folly says it is a great food wine and palate cleanser and suggests fish tacos, lime chicken, carnitas, and seitan steaks (plant based meat substitute). Serve at around 12 degrees. Very Highly Recommended. Good value too by the way, more so when on offer.

Importers O’Briens tell us the Guttierez family have been producing wines in Rueda for five generations, in a stunning 350-yr-old winery, complete with a kilometre of subterranean ageing cellars. The Verdejo grape is king here and is one of Spain's top white wine varieties..

The producers say the 100% Verdejo wine is Certified Agriculture Organic and is made exclusively with grapes from Pago Monte San Martín, “located at the first settlement that today is our village, Serrada” and that the fruit has received “the most meticulous care and an expert winemaking”.

Virtually all the Verdejo in the world is grown in Spain and the vast majority of it in Rueda. It is the characteristic grape of the region but, according to World Atlas of Wine, up to the 1970s, the grape was used to make sherry-like wines; then Marqués de Riscal came in and used it to make fresh dry table wines and Verdejo hasn’t looked back since.

Surprised by the all-white synthetic cork, one that is reusable, recyclable and is made from LDPE (low density polyethylene). Easy to withdraw though with my normal corkscrew.


Top Wines 2022. With Reviews & Irish Stockists. 


Domaine Begude Le Cerisier Pinot Noir Aude (IGT) 2021, 13% ABV, €16.95, O’Briens Wines

This cuvée, named after the majestic cherry tree at the entrance to Begude, has a cherry red colour. Indeed, this organic wine is packed with cherry flavours, some wild strawberry and raspberry also getting in the mix. It is light and pleasant, juicy too, with very soft tannins emerging towards the finale. Approachable, easy-drinking and Highly Recommended.

Serve at 11-14 degrees and enjoy as an aperitif. The producers say it is the perfect BBQ tipple, “a delight with steak and other red meats”, while importers O’Brien Wines add that, when slightly chilled, it is perfect with fish dishes. A versatile wine then, vegetarian friendly too, and excellent value also. Even more in my case, as I bought it for €13.45 in their August sale.

Surprising enough that you can get a fine Pinot Noir in the deep south. The organic vineyard is in the hills of Limoux, South of France. The growing conditions are similar to those in Burgundy and indeed, 80% of the vineyard’s production is Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The long cool growing season here allows for well balanced, fruit driven wines that are underpinned with a natural freshness. 

This is one of a number of Pinot Noirs produced by Begude and the grapes are grown high in the foothills of the French Pyrenees. Fertilised using only natural manures and cultivated with the utmost respect for the environment.


Best Value Wines 2022 Under €18.00. With Reviews & Irish Stockists. 


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