Showing posts with label Prosecco. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Prosecco. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

A couple of summertime beauties, Prosecco and Rosé, from O'Briens Wine

A couple of summertime beauties, Prosecco and Rosé, from O'Briens Wine

Proverbio Prosecco (DOC) Organic Extra Dry,  11%, €16.95, was 20.45  O’Brien’s Nationwide.

Very light straw colour on this organic and vegan friendly Prosecco and there is a fine head of bubbles with more rushing up to join in. White peach, apple and pear feature in the aromatics, a hint of yeast too, pretty typical of the Glera grape.  

It is fruity and sparkling, soft and fresh with an in-your-face acidity. Recommended as an aperitif (and I can confirm that) and also as a wonderful pairing with oriental cuisine (I’ll have to get another bottle to confirm that one!). Very Highly Recommended.

The producers, The Wine People, had a bit of fun with the name. While Proverbio is Italian for Proverb, it also incorporates three elements that describe the wine well: PRO for Prosecco DOC, VER for Vero (Truly) and BIO for Biologico (Organic).

Wine Folly advises that an extra dry style “is a great place to start with Prosecco”. “You’ll find the best wines come from the hilly areas..around Treviso and Colli Asolani, where the vines produce more concentrated grapes.”

Glera is the grape for Prosecco and indeed it was generally known as Prosecco.  But, a few years back, the growers association changed the name and were thereby enabled, according to Grapes & Wine, to legally “protect the Prosecco name from being used elsewhere in the world”. tell us: “Italian wine produced from Glera is almost always either frizzante (fizzy) or spumante (fully sparkling). A few still wines are also made from Glera…”

You probably know that Prosecco is made by the Charmat method. This uses a second fermentation in a large stainless steel tank to trap carbonation in wine. In the Méthode Champenoise, the second fermentation happens inside the individual bottles in which the wines are sold. More on these methods here

The bottle weight is bit more than usual, as it the case with most sparkling wines (because of the contents being under pressure). The squat shape is also not usual; this particular one is more like a port bottle and not very different from some of the aged Redbreast bottles.

Château Gairoird Organic Rosé Côtes de Provence (AP) 2020, 13%, €14.96 (was 19.95)

This organic rosé from Provence, a blend that includes Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah, has a very pale salmon colour. Quite aromatic with, for me, strawberry leading the charge, also notes of grapefruit and white peach. Strawberry also on the full flavoured palate, raspberry too. By the way, the flavours are quite vigorous, far from the delicate that you sometimes find in rosé. It has good balance too. Plus a refreshing finish from this dry and elegant wine.  Highly Recommended

Perhaps this is more suited to table rather than aperitif duty.  A veal blanquette, cheeses, crab fritters, tuna tartare, grilled salmon, linguine with tomato and olive sauce, are among the dishes suggested.

Here is an extra use for it, one that came about more or less by accident. There was a little of this wine left over towards the end, close to a glass. There was also a little drop of the marvellous Viking Blackcurrant Liqueur in the fridge so I introduced them to each other and this improvised Kir turned out to be quite a treat.You know of course that the traditional Kir is made with white wine and creme de cassis (blackcurrant).

O’Brien’s, the distributors, tell us the Pierrefeu family has owned this estate since 1824 and have farmed it organically for the last ten years. The estate has a maritime climate and benefits from a sea breeze every day which keeps the grapes healthy and disease free without the need for spraying, this is a deliciously elegant textbook Provence. The terroir is classic Provence with free-draining, chalky-clay soil dotted with galets and, with wonderful echoes of Jean de Florette, the Château has its own ‘source’.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Sparkling Online Event With Sandro Bottega

Sparkling Online Tasting With Sandro Bottega

Lovely to get an invitation from Bibendum Ireland to take part in an online tasting with Sandro Bottega. Not just virtual. We had real bottles of Prosecco, along with a selection of Italian delicacies.

The Bottega family is no lightweight in the world of wine. Indeed, it is ranked at number two in terms of sales volume, headed only by Moet et Chandon. And the energetic Sandro is no lightweight either - he was The Riedel® Winemaker of the Year Award in 2018 for “having enchanted wine and gastronomic art lovers since 1977, in over 120 countries worldwide, with his artistic skills, the entrepreneurial ability and energy, and the quality and genuineness of the products“. 

“So here I am in the Veneto,” he said as he greeted us to his well-laden table. “Forty-five kms north of Venice with the Dolomites to my north. It’s a good place to live: the sea, the vineyards, the mountains.” While they are mainly associated with the Veneto they also have vineyards in Montalcino where they produce some superb Tuscan wines. They also have a distillery where Grappa, Gin and Vodka is produced.

It is a major operation, yet so much is done by hand, even down to “manual control of each bottle”. Their preferred option is organic. Their vineyards and wineries are examples of diversity and sustainability. Just a few figures: their CO2 emissions are 88% less than the industry average; they support the Slow Food Foundation for Diversity; Geothermal air-conditioning saves 756 tons of C02 each year; their organic farming techniques avoids using 1000 tons of synthetic chemicals each year. Impressive.

There are of course setbacks. The hail doesn’t know organic from non-organic and Bottega lost 10% of the potential harvest the week before the online tasting. Sandro also pointed out that Prosecco, a symbol of Italian gastronomy and culture, is not a cheap drink to produce. To cultivate one hectare of Prosecco DOCG costs €12,000 while Champagne comes in at €7,500.

So what is the best Prosecco? “The first glass of the day,” according to a smiling Sandro. “That first glass is the best of the day.” Of course, Sandro has no less than 12 Prosecco to choose from! He had another piece of advice: “Drink always with a little bite. A glass of wine is nothing without a good bite”. 

I’ve often heard myself that wine with bubbles goes to the head faster, so if you are serving guests a sparkling wine, be sure and provide a few nibbles as well! What kind of glass? “Aperitif is fine in flute but to get the perfect sensation (including recognising the aromas) with food, use a large wine glass.” Also avoid shaking the glass - that way you lose your bubbles!

Now we began the tasting with POETI PROSECCO DOC BRUT

I have to admit, I began earlier at lunch, pairing it with the suggested San Daniele ham, the White Scamorza cheese and Stiratini (breadsticks).  Sandro: “Clean, fresh and fruity. Green apple… golden apple..little bit of pear..even more exotic like peach. It is soft and dry, the aftertaste is also soft with apple and peach. Good with soft cheeses, eg Mozzarella and Scamorza, also prosciutto. Good too with the white asparagus. I like olives myself with it very evening. Great too for cocktails, including Bellini.”

Then we were on to the Bottega Gold Prosecco DOC Spumante Brut

This, like the first wine,  is made from 100% Glera grapes. “This is fresher, more complete, more personality, more intensity. Also brut of course but more floral notes and more fruity.” Suggested pairings included: Milano Salami, Parmesan  Cheese 40 months, and those Stiratini (breadsticks). 

Next up was Il Vino Dei Poeti Prosecco Rosé Venezia DOC Spumante Brut, “a sparkling wine in our tradition”.. “ripe berry bouquet…including cherry..stronger acidity…great with Pecorino or Parmesan cheeses..good value for money..respects our tradition..”. It is made from grapes (Glera 60% and Raboso) grown in the provinces of Trevisio and Venice and is made like Prosecco with the same yeast.

Bottega Pink Gold Prosecco DOC Rosé Spumante Brut
is a blend of Glera and Pinot Noir (10-15%). Thanks to the Pinot, this has a light pink colour, the better to see the fountains of very refined bubbles rising. Floral notes and raspberry feature in the gentle aromas and it is quite creamy in the mouth followed by a nutty aftertaste.

Website pairing suggestions Excellent as an aperitif accompanied by mixed Neapolitan fried food, it is a wine for the whole meal that goes well with cold dishes of raw fish (tartare and carpaccio), with radicchio and sausage risottos, second courses of meat and fish not too elaborate, also a pork fillet with vegetables or baked redfish with potatoes.

The final wine was Bottega Rose Gold Pinot Nero Spumante Brut Rosé. “This is a little bit darker. It is 100% Pinot Noir.  Raspberry….vanilla…summer flowers…more acidity. Some examples of matching are with chicken, bruschetta with foie (pepperoni)…shrimp., lobster….green asparagus.” Sounds great!

Attention to detail pays off here. The grapes are hand-picked and destemmed. The must is left in contact with the skins for 24 hours at 5 °C. The cold maceration favours the extraction of colour substances and the primary aromas of the grapes.
• The must is separated from the skins using soft pressing. The fermentation takes place at a controlled temperature of 18 °C. 

  • The base wine undergoes a second fermentation according to the Martinotti method (also known as the Italian Method), in cuve close at 14 °C with the addition of selected yeasts. The wine is left in contact with the lees and finally is filtered and bottled.

Superb sparkling wines, some lovely food and an energetic, efficient and informative host with a great sense of humour. Well done and thanks Sandro!

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Have a Sparkling and Colourful Valentine's. Thanks to Bottega. Gold and Rose Gold!

Have a Sparkling and Colourful Valentine's.

Thanks to Bottega. Gold and Rose Gold!

Bottega “Gold” Prosecco (DOC) Spumante Brut 2019, 11%

This Prosecco in its gold painted bottle has, appropriately enough, a bright gold colour, streams of micro-bubbles constantly rising. Aromas are delicately fruity with floral notes too. A lively acidity comes with the fresh bubbles yet the palate is balanced, the whole experience elegant and refined. One of the better Proseccos that I’ve come across and one that can be Very Highly Recommended.

It is excellent as an aperitif and in cocktails (you may try with the Negroni below).  It also goes particularly well with starters, light first courses (seafood and non- aromatic herb pasta and risotto), steamed or raw fish dishes, grilled white meats, stewed or fresh vegetable dishes. Serve at 5 or 6 degrees.

They say: Bottega Gold is a Prosecco DOC, obtained by the vinification of Glera grapes. The elegance, freshness and liveliness of its bubbles stem from the beauty and tradition of its territory, where unmistakable panoramas are shaped by vineyards.

The bottle may look on the bling side but they do not use chemical-based products for their metallized bottles; this means the solvent for the varnish is water-based, instead of being oil or alcohol-based like more traditional varnishes.The company is particularly centred on saving water, reducing CO2 emissions and chemicals, and recycling waste materials.

Bottega wines are imported by Bibendum Ireland 


Not too sure the Prosecco shines through in the mix especially with Campari and the amazing Vermouth from Robles. But I certainly enjoyed the cocktail and one of the benefits of using the Bottega is the 11% abv instead of the much higher input from the usual gin. Cheers!

30 ml Bottega Gold Prosecco DOC
30 ml Bottega Vermouth Rosso (Bodegas Robles Vermouth VRMT used)
30 ml Accademia Bitter (Campari used)
1 large ice cube
Lemon peel
Alexander Grappa Spray (not available).

Pour Vermouth and Bitter into a mixing glass and stir well. Strain into a chilled old-fashioned glass filled with the ice cube. Add Bottega Gold Prosecco DOC. Garnish with a lemon peel and Alexander Grappa Spray.

Bottega Rose Gold Pinot Nero Spumante Brut Rosé NV, 11.5%.

Bottega Rose Gold is a Brut rosé sparkling wine obtained through vinification of Pinot Nero grapes. As you’d expect, the colour is pink, bubbles are many and fine. The bouquet is quite intense, floral and fruity, strawberries in there for sure. And that fresh and delicate combination is also on the palate, soft and fruity and very pleasant, right through the persistent finish. Another colour and another gem from Bottega. Very Highly Recommended.

They say: Excellent as an aperitif, it accompanies any meal. It goes particularly well with vegetarian and fish dishes (sushi, shellfish, crudités), white meats and cheeses. It is a pleasant after-dinner. Serving temperature 4-5 degrees.

Go all out! Hamper from Dublin's Little Italy.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Time to try the Chambord Royale!

Time to try the Chambord Royale!

Chambord, Black Raspberry Liqueur Royale de France, 16.5% abv, Bradley's of Cork.

Aldi Exquisite Collection Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore (DOCG) NV, 11%, €12.99.

From the heart of the Prosecco area, from the steep hillsides of Valdobbiadene, comes this DOCG Prosecco. It is exquisitely light and refreshing with pleasing bubbles, attractive autumn fruit flavours and  floral touches. Have to say quite an amazing Prosecco for an amazing price.

I had popped into the local Aldi in search of a Crémant de Jura but that was out of stock. I happened to spot this, including the DOCG, and took a gamble. 

I had most of a bottle of Chambord left since earlier in the summer and was keen to try it out as a part of The Chambord Royale. I’m sure they’d have preferred a Champagne or Cremant, although, in fairness, the recipe also mentions Cava or Prosecco. 

The recipe is simple: six parts of Prosecco to one of Chambord. Must say, I’ve was very happy with my Chambord Royale, excellent fruit from the French liqueur and a fine dry finish from the Prosecco. A step up on the usual Kir Royale, methinks!

Chambord is a huge 16th century royal palace, ordered by a young Francois 1 and completed by the Sun King Louis XIV, and one of many in the Loire Valley. This drink, a black raspberry liqueur, is made quite close to the chateau. 

It may be used in quite a number of “cocktails” including the likes of The Black Raspberry Margarita, The Chambord Vodka Lemonade, The Chambord Spritz, The Chambord Royale and the Chambord French Martini (another excellent one that I did try). All the recipes are on the little label attached to the bottle.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Focus on Winter Reds plus some Valentine's tips, all part of O’Briens Wine February Promotion

Focus on Winter Reds just a small part of O’Briens Wine February Promotion.
And then there's Valentines!

Taking a look here at two of the winter reds, a small part of the O’Briens Wine February promotion. February is also the Valentine’s month and with that in mind, the sparkling wines are also in the frame and we have a few tips for you.

Tandem “Bolído” Valle de Yerri Navarra (DO) 2016, 13.5%, €12.71 (16.95) O’Briens Wine Promotion (3rd Feb to 8th Mar).

Dark ruby robe. Rich mix of aromas, red and black fruits. And so it continues through the rich and silky palate, fruit and spice in harmonious tandem. A lively acidity also and that should help it on the table. Excellent finish as well. Easy-drinking and Highly Recommended.

Tandem are based in northern Spain's Navarra region and produce some of O’Brien's most popular reds. This is an unoaked blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache. The wine is aged on its lees in concrete vats for 24 months to give a richness to the body weight. The cool climate of the Yerri Valley helps maintain freshness and acidity in the wine.

The vineyard itself is at the foot of the Camino de Santiago in the Yerri Valley. Cool microclimate, sustainable farming and minimal intervention philosophy are all harnessed to good effect. The winery is built north-facing and partially underground to enable the use of a gravity system.

Ortas Côte Du Rhone (AOC) Réserve 2018, 14%, €11.21 (14.95) O’Briens Wine Promotion (3rd Feb to 8th Mar).

Bought some good stuff here in Rasteau, in this particular local coop, a few years back and, since then, have had a soft spot for wines from the Rhone village. This Côte du Rhone, a blend of Grenache (70%), Cinsault (20) and Carignan (10), is mid to dark ruby. Spicy red fruit and blackcurrant, a touch of pepper and smoke. Juicy and spicy also on the palate, some wild fruit in there too. Tannins close to smooth and a lovely warm finish. Highly Recommended. Try this young wine with roast chicken, lamb dishes and goats cheese and more.

Rasteau, about 40 minutes east of the Rhone, sits on a hill in the Vaucluse, one of the five departments of Provence and the climate is typically Mediterranean (meaning a high level of grape maturity). It is to the north of better known villages such as Gigondas, Vacqueyras and Beaumes de Venise. The village also has the distinction of making fortified wines (vin doux naturel) including a deep coloured red.

Love Bubbles
If you want to produce a bottle of bubbles on Valentine's night, you'll have a huge choice at O'Brien's. Some 16 wines have their prices cut, everything from Mito Frizzante (now at 8.95) to Bollinger Rosé (now at 68.00, that's with 15 euro off).

Rizzardi are one of the big names in Italian wine and their Frizzante Prosecco is available at 12.50 (two for 25). Step up to their Spumante (more bubbles) for 17.95. Lots of you though will probably plump for the romantically named Romeo & Juliet Spumante Rosé at a very reasonable 14.95.

One of my favourites is the Granzamy Brut NV Champagne.The only grape used in this stunning champagne is the black Pinot Meunier, leaving both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (the other regular champagne grapes) out of this particular equation.

It has an inviting eye-catching light gold colour - the bubbles look even better! Aromas are light and fruity (strawberry). Light fruit on the palate also, refreshing and well-rounded, well balanced with a lip-smacking long finish with typical brioche aftertaste. Reduced by a fiver to 29.95.

And another sure to please is the Petaluma Croser Rosé NV, Adelaide HillsThis lovely bottle of bubbles is from Australia. 
Produced from Pinot Noir grapes, it comes in a gorgeous pastel salmon hue in which fountains of micro-bubbles constantly rise. There are delicate scents of strawberry and pomegranate. The palate is more intense than the nose, strawberry again and now cherry as well, and a pleasing refined finish. Now at 24.95 instead of 27.95. Enjoy the bubbles and the love!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Bubbles for your Valentine! SuperValu cut the price of courting.

Bubbles for your Valentine
With the saving on this Pierre Darcys champagne, you'll be able to buy the flowers as well. Double those brownie points!

If music be the food of love, play on, a famous bard wrote. Add a few bubbles though….

And it’s easy to do it these days as SuperValu cut the price of courting with a  selection of sparkling wines all reduced (you’ll have a few bob left over for the flowers) for the day of love. So go pick your Cava, your Champagne, your Prosecco. There’s even an alcohol free one.

Barciño Cava Brut NV, 11.5%, €13.99 (was 25.99) until February 13th.

This vibrant wine is named after Barcelona “the city we love”, say the producers. It is bottle fermented, using the Methode Traditionnelle, same as is used for Champagne.

It is a very light gold colour - see those non-stop fountains of bubbles rise. Modest aromas are light and fresh. The palate, with those fine bubbles, is bright and zesty and then that classic fresh bread finish. This lovely Cava will help start the celebrations as an aperitif. Why not try a few tapas with this well crafted wine?

Graham Norton Prosecco Frizzante 11%, €10.00 (was 12.00) until February 13th.
Light gold is also the colour here and again there are lots of bubbles but this time they don’t hang around. This is a Frizzante (gently sparkling) not a Spumante (fully sparkling). You’ll also note a different closure on it - use your normal corkscrew to get started.

While it is nowhere near as bubbly as the Cava, this calmer bottle is very very pleasant indeed. Graham’s light and fresh Frizzante could well turn a midweek party up a notch or two. Anyone for pizza and prosecco?

Two wandering Kiwis and the Irish comic are behind the GN wines, "honest....without the BS" they say. All of the previous GN wines are from down under and this Prosecco's an exception, made with 100% Glera grapes from the home of Prosecco in NE Italy.

The McGuigan Frizzante is also on offer, down to €10.00 from 14.99, again until the 13th. I remember Neil McGuigan introducing it at a dinner in the Trident not too long ago - he just loved getting the most out of the pronunciation!  

“It comes in a resealable bottle,” he said. “It is produced from Semillon grapes, it is easy drinking, for everyday”. Nothing wrong with easy drinking on Valentine’s either! It is fresh, soft, scented and grapey, with delicious lightness and good length. Best served chilled.

Pierre Darcys Champagne Brut NV 20 euro (was 49.99) until Feb 13th

IWSC Silver Medal 2015 (pictured top);  Judges' verdict: “Pale lemon-yellow, steady streams of small bubbles ; fresh, delicate aromas showing green apple and hints of red fruit behind, fresh bread; well-balanced with bracing acidity, richness across the mid-palate and lingering crisp finish. Harmonious wine.

Also on offer are the AG Blanc de Blancs and the AG Brut Rosé (each at €10.00, down from €17.99) and the non-alcoholic Freixenet Legero Sparkling at €7.00.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Masterclass on the Veneto Renaissance. Good Clean Wines

Masterclass on the Veneto Renaissance
Good Clean Wines.
Left to right at Ely: Francesco, Pascal and Dario

Dario Poddana (Les Caves de Pyrene), Francesco Maule (La Biancara, Gambellara) and Pascal Rossignol (Le Caveau) combined to give us a fascinating insight into organic and natural wines, in particular the wines of the Veneto, at Ely Wine Bar last Tuesday. Francesco is a winemaker at the family vineyard in Gambellara and the other vineyard whose wines came under the spotlight was Azienda Filippo Filippi (Soave).

Some in the audience (trade and press) wanted to know how this type of wine was going down with the customers. Dario, Italian wine buyer with Les Caves, stressed there were no added sulphites and the focus is “on wines of intensity rather than of richness”. On their being cloudy, he said it was no problem to the customers. 

Pascal added that this type of wine seems to have found a natural ally in the chefs that forage and said these restaurants “react well to it”.

It emerged too that, while mistakes may have been made in the past, maybe concentrating on the vineyard rather than the winery, the objective now is on making good wines that are “clean”.

Dario praised the Maule family and said they were at the forefront of the natural wine movement and not just in Italy. “It is interesting to see how classic ways are being rediscovered, a mix of extreme tradition and extreme modernism." 

Prosecco may be very known as being from the Veneto but Dario emphasised that “it is just one type of expression of the area”. The one we started with, the Casa Belfi, Prosecco Colfondo DOC, has a tiny refreshing fizz, a rich texture from the yeasts and a hint of salt (the vineyard is juts 30km from the sea), all combining to say a very pleasant Ciao.

Francesco was quite proud of his very young La Biancara di Angiolino Maule, ‘Garg’n’Go, Veneto Frizzante IGT, “the only one with biodynamic certification”, and rightly so! 

We were tasting in flights of two and next up was the Filippi Soave Castelcerino 2014, a wine I am happily familiar with, “an incredible wine from a very difficult vintage” according to Pascal. Dario:”It is their normal Soave from a well respected hill for wine. They like long contact with the fine lees, rarely less than 18 months, this to confer richness and structure. Very simple wine-making in general.” Looks like it works.

Francesco too praised it “as a very good result from 2014", before moving on to tell us about his Maule Masieiri Bianco 2015, a blend of 10% Trebbiano and 90% Garganego. Lees too come into play here, the period of six months adds “a  nice richness”. “No filters, no clarifying.” A lovely wine, displaying a generosity of fruit and character.
Ingredients on the label.
"Maybe others will follow."

Francesco went on to introduce us to two of his whites. Both the Sassaia and the Pico Bianco were excellent. Again both had some skin contact and had a rich colour but Francesco came straight out and said that he doesn't love the term “orange”wine. “There are red and white wines and a little rosé, maybe!” 

And, in general, he stressed the importance of having a “very good quality grape”, otherwise there is the risk of extracting “bad things”. “In the glass I want to feel the grape and the soil.”

One of my favourite wines of the past few months has been the Terra di Pietra, Valpolicella “Piccola Peste” and the 2015, introduced by Dario, was next. “Valpolicella is quite diverse and this comes from the land of rocks, a relatively new estate that produces good vintage after good vintage. They make simple easy-drinking reds, the spirit of Valpolicella. The classic varieties, made simply.”

Someone in the audience noted the outstanding purity and Dario was quick to point out that “you lose that purity if you go down the concentration trail” and added that Terra di Pietra “are moving in a beautiful direction”. 


Francesco’s turn now to show us their “basic red” the Masieiri 2016 (IGT), a blend of Merlot (50%), Grenache (40) and Cabernet sauvignon (10). “It is quite young, the tannins a little aggressive and is not filtered.” I rather enjoyed its fresh fruitiness and hints of spice, the tannins not a problem at all.

Back to Terra di Pietra for the Amarone della Valpolicella “Rosson” 2010, a beautifully coloured wine with excellent acidity. Dario told us it had been made in a quite traditional way, just enough richness and concentration, the final result helped by the addition of some Teroldego (known for its light fresh fruitiness). The fact that it came from a very good vintage also helped! Quite a finalé to an enjoyable and informative afternoon in Ely Place.
The line-ups

Friday, April 24, 2015

A Taste of Tuscany. Warm, soft, and beautiful.

A Taste of Tuscany

Warm, soft, and beautiful.
Tuscany: warm, soft, beautiful.

Tuscan wines feature in the current Italian wine sale at SuperValu (on until April 29th). I copied the warm, soft and beautiful from one of the bottles and it refers to the region but could well apply to the wines below. The Il Capolavoro is another gem and the Prosecco is well worth checking out.

Villa Pani Rosso 2013 (Tuscany IGT), 13%, €9.00
If you want a simple very gluggable wine at under a tenner, take a punt on this fresh and fruity red from the warm and beautiful Italian area of Tuscany. Made from the area’s best known grape Sangiovese (familiar to many of you through Chianti), this medium bodied red, new to SuperValu, is an excellent drop and recommended.
Sammicheli Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2011 (DOCG), 13%, €15.00
This is another Tuscan red, similar in style to Chianti and made mostly from Sangiovese. It is more aromatic than the Pani. On the palate, it is smooth, fruity and dry, more intense than the Pani and with a longer finish. Full bodied with fine tannins, this is highly recommended. Perhaps get the Pani for the party, and a bottle or two of this for yourself!

Il Capolavoro Appassimento Rosso 2014, 14%, €10.00
This palate pleasing beauty is new to SuperValu but could be turning up there for years to come. It 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..

Lunetta Prosecco Brut (DOC), 11%, €15.00

If ever you've been lucky enough to visit Venice and unlucky enough to see the way the gondoliers handle the Prosecco they dish out to tourist groups, then your respect for the famous Italian sparkling wine took a nosedive. At least, that was the case with me. And the respect didn't improve when I tasted some of the feeble stuff served up at some receptions.

But that respect is on the rise again, thanks to this Lunetta. The blurb promises peach and apple on the nose and it is delivered. No shortage of small bubbles either. And it also delivers on the palate and through to a decent finish as well. This is a pretty good example, is well priced and Highly Recommended.

Monday, December 29, 2014

No Shortage of Sparkle at Year’s End

No Shortage of Sparkle at Year’s End
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

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.