Showing posts with label Spain. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spain. Show all posts

Thursday, July 27, 2023

For A Few Euro More. Stunning White From The Spanish Badlands. .

Stunning White From The Spanish Badlands

For A Few Euro More You Get Three. 

Azul y Garanza Naturaleza Salvaje Blanca 2019, 11.5%

R.R.P. €22-23. Stockists: Manning's, Ballylickey/ Little Green Grocer, Kilkenny / Mary Pawle online.

The fruit for this Azul Y Garanza white comes from an amazing area, the Bardenas Reales, a semi-desert or badlands in Navarra. The impoverished and arid clay-calcareous soil, the dry weather and the big contrast of temperature between the day and the night provide grapes with high concentration and a perfect balance and also offer distinctive character and great expression.

It has a yellow-orange colour (10 days of fermentation with skin contact for 5 days) and a hint of haziness (it is unfiltered). There’s an acidic streak in the aromas, reminiscent of cider apples, with herbal and floral hints also. And those orchard notes come through too on the mild palate which is bright, fresh (strikingly so) and pleasant, a harmonious matching of fruit and acidity, and then an excellent dry finish. Off the beaten track, just like the place it comes from. 

Very Highly Recommended.


An excellent match for fish, shellfish, vegetable dishes and cured meats, tapas also and fine too as an aperitif. Serve chilled, but not too cold – 8 to 10 degrees is optimum. So take it out of the fridge 20 minutes before you crack it open. At 11.5 %, this is dangerously drinkable.

Interestingly, this particular wine is made from a single vineyard, very old bush vines in a very wild parcel. And there’s a low yield from older Garnacha Blanca vines. 


Check my growing list of top wines for 2023



Check out my Good Value Wine List here


The label info sums it up well: Single Vineyard. Made in Amphora. Low Intervention. Unfiltered. Limited Edition.

Here’s a little tip. If you are on the lookout for this, you could easily make an error as they have three wines with very similar labels. Don’t worry though if you the mistake; it will be a happy one, as all three - the Clarete (Garnacha & Garnacha Blanca), the red (Garnacha) and the white (Garnacha Blanca) - are excellent.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Beautiful Garciano Red Wine From The Badlands. “like two souls merged in a single body”.

Beautiful Garciano Red Wine From The Badlands.
 “like two souls merged in a single body”.

Azul y Garanza “Garciano” 2020 Navarra DO, 14%, 

RRP €17. Stockists:The Vintry , Dublin. Connemara Hamper, Clifden. 

Little Green Grocer, Kilkenny. Ardkeen Grocery Store, Waterford. Mannings , Ballylickey. Quay Co-Op, Cork. Wunderkaffee, Farran, Co. Cork. Real Olive Co. Macroom Dairy & Dublin. Taste, Castletownbere. Harrington's, Ardgroom, Beara. 
Sonas, Newcastlewest, Co. Limerick. Mary Pawle Wines.

The label is rather spiritual here: In Garciano, delicate Garnacha and indomitable Graciano find perfect harmony, like two souls merged in a single body. That explains the two-headed animal, sheep and predator, on the label. The other line is more down  down to earth then: Fermented in concrete tank.

But, never fear, it is an excellent wine, in keeping with the Azul y Garanza reputation. Importer Mary Pawle: “A great favourite with our customers, this delicious, well balanced wine is a blend of the fruity and spicy Garnacha and the subtle acidity of Graciano grapes. Medium bodied and guaranteed to please.”

It comes from the edge of a desert to the south with the foothills of the Pyrenees to the north. The desert, in Navarra, is the Bardenas Reales. The wine is a blend of 60% Garnacha & 40% Graciano, a blend that has spent six months in French oak.

Aromas of this mid-ruby wine are quite complex with fresh raspberry and blackberry prominent on the nose. The fruity and spicy Garnacha with the “subtle acidity” of the Graciano make a great match as you can sense on the palate where it is quite intense, berry and  plum, spicy but smooth and balanced. The wine is Very Highly Recommended.

It comes from an amazing area, the Bardenas Reales, a semi-desert or badlands. The very poor and arid clay-calcareous soil, the dry weather and the big contrast of temperature between the day and the night provide grapes with high concentration and a perfect balance and also offers distinctive character and great expression.

Azul y Garanza are organic but go further, planting fruit trees and native aromatic plants around the vineyards. “Working this way, we break the monoculture and we create a wider eco-system. Also, we kept the forested areas close to the vines which are important, among other reasons, as a refuge for animals. All of this allows us to configure the mosaic of the landscape, bringing heterogeneity and developing its biodiversity.”

Navarra is neighboured by Rioja to the West and by Aragon to the East with France beyond the Pyrenees to the North and its major red grapes are Tempranillo and Garnacha. Garnacha is also a leading grape in Aragon and, under its French name Grenache, is a key player in the GSM blends ff the Rhone Valley. And it has yet another name in Sardinia where it is widely planted and known as Cannonau.

Sunday, November 6, 2022

A Duo Of Excellent Whites From North-West Spain. Monterrei and Rias Baixas

 A Duo Of Excellent Whites From North-West Spain

Via Arxéntea Godello Y Treixadura Monterrei (DO) 2021, 13% ABV, €17.80 MacCurtain Wine Cellar

This is a Spanish white wine with a marked varietal character. Made with Godello and Treixadura, both native Galician varieties, to transmit those aromas and flavours that our land, climate and fruits are capable of producing. 

That’s part of the info on the label of this blend produced by Via Arxéntea in Monterrei in North West Spain.

It has a bright yellow colour and it is certainly aromatic, apple, peach (especially) and mango to the fore; notes of citrus also. The intensity is also evident on the palate where flavours are bold but balanced by an excellent acidity. There is a long and fruity aftertaste, with a faint sweet sensation never too far away. 

Serve at 8-11º degrees and pair with cooked fish, grill, seafood rice, squid a la plancha and vegetable dishes. Very Highly Recommended. 

The DO Monterrei is in the province of Ourense, close to the Portuguese border. Most of its wine is white and most of that is based on Godello (which is also called Verdello); other varieties of white grapes here are the autochthonous Doña Blanca  and Treixadura.

Godello is quite possibly the most scented of the newly fashionable white varieties in Spain’s far north-west, according to Grapes and Wines. “Almost extinct in the 1970s, it is now flourishing in Valdeorras.” Valdeorras is also in Ourense.

Early ripening Treixadura is one of the grapes that blends well with Godello. In Portugal, where it is called Tradajura, it adds crisp, citrus characters to Vinho Verde.

The MacCurtain Wine Cellar, owned by Trudy Ahern and Sean Gargano, is essentially a wine shop where you may select your purchases from a huge wall of wine. Don't worry though, you'll have lots of excellent advice, given with knowledge and a rare enthusiasm, not to mention charm. 

If you wish to drink on the premises, that is no problem in the evenings. And while wine is their priority, they also provide some very tasty small plates and sharing boards as well. Such a poremises is known as a Cave à Manger in France.

There is a the fantastic range, all organic, biodynamic or natural. I picked the Godello and Treixadura blend from Monterrei while Sean suggested the Celler del Roure Cullerot Blanco (toi feature in a later post!). He was very enthusiastic about this winemaker and about the future of wines from the Valencia area.


Almirante “Vanidade” Albariño Rias Baixas (DO) 2020, 

13% ABV,  €15.95 Bradleys.

Did you know that we Irish are the fourth largest importers of Albariño in the world? It comes from our Celtic cousins in Galicia, in Spain’s Rias Baixas region. It has all happened quickly and relatively recently.  

“It is a young industry,” said Lynne Coyle MW, one of our hosts at a Rias Baixas Tasting in L’Atitude during the summer. “In 1975 there were just 200 hectares of Albariño here, now there are over 4,000, lots of small holdings.

Val de Salnés is the main region. And it is from here and its granite soil that this wine by Vina Almirante comes. That ocean influence is evident in this dry crisp and elegant wine.

The Vanidade has a beautiful and inviting gold colour. Citrus and peach notes in the aromas. Those fruits also feature on the intensely flavoured palate, fresh and zesty, no shortage of acidity,  with a slightly salty tang, plus the starting fruit all the way through to a clean and refreshing finish.  

You don’t get many poor  examples of Albariño but this is outstanding and you are thinking straightaway of matching it with seafood and white fish. See for yourself why Albariño became so popular so quickly. Very Highly Recommended.

Vanidade translates as vanity. I’m very happy with this one and so too are the producers: “Very tasty, very good, wonderful. This is Vanidade, a wine of which we are particularly proud. Both because its organoleptic properties and tasting ratings, and because it’s a champion of cultural change in our time.”

Vain? Proud? Not you? Take a look at the producers site where they have a vanity test ready and waiting. Up for a bit of fun? Click here.”

Importers Findlaters tell us that Vina Almirante is one of the most important wineries in North West Spain. “Its properties are in the borough of Portas in the Caldas de Reis region situated in the northern part of Salnes Valley. These legendary vineyards, which extend over the 35 hectares, are treated with tender loving care and in keeping with state-of-the-art wine growing techniques. The wines.., are distinguished by the faithful reflection of a late autumn harvest, giving rise to a macerated wine endowed with brilliant notes of freshness, elegance and an intense flavour that’s sure to please even the most demanding of palates.”

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Found Two Beauties For You. An Italian Verduzzo and A Spanish Garnatxa.

GIOL Verduzzo Marca Trevigiana (IGT), 12%, 

RRP c. €14.00 Taste, Castletownbere// Little Green Grocer , Kilkenny// Mary Pawle

This organic and vegan wine, part of the vineyard’s 1950 series, is made from a local grape Verduzzo. This off-dry white (15 g/L) has a cork closure, quite a pop when extracted. And quite a lot of bubbles on the surface for a short while. 

Colour is a weak straw yellow with definite green tinges. Aromas are on the shy side, hints of peach just about making it to the fore. Fresh on the palate with peach sweetness and citrus tartness and a bubbly tingle on the tongue. Pleasant indeed and Highly Recommended. Not the longest of finishes but an agreeable one with a nice bit of citrus in attendance.

I can agree with the producer’s suggestions to pair it “with spring herbal dishes, with pizza, it is pleasant between meals, delicious with desserts and sweets. Serve at 10-12 degrees.”

They say: For nearly 600 years, our winery has placed an emphasis on nature, quality and beauty. Our family’s long experience is apparent in our esteemed wines. Since 1987, we have been producing wine from grapes grown in our historic vineyards using organic farming methods, respecting both the environment and the raw ingredients.Vegan wines are intact and pure products of the highest quality. They are preferable for their high digestibility and more natural taste. 

Verduzzo enjoyed considerable fame here in the past, later obscured by the arrival of international vines, it is now almost completely abandoned: very few producers continue the cultivation of this variety. “we vinify it in purity, giving life to a very pleasant product that deserves much more consideration than it has been granted up to now.” 

The late harvest of the grapes is done manually (towards the end of September). The production includes the following phases: crushing and destemming, soft pressing, static decanting of the musts, racking and inoculation with selected yeasts. Then the controlled cold fermentation takes place at 14 °. At the end of fermentation, the wine is decanted and maintained on its noble lees with periodic batonage, to then move on to bottling.

Marca Trevigiana IGT is just one of several IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) titles used in the Veneto region of northeastern Italy. A Marca Trevigiana IGT wine may be made in any one of various styles: red, white or rosé, blend or varietal and still, frizzante or sweet. 

DIT Cellar “Cabirol” Monsant (DO) 2018, 14.5%

RRP €16 Stockists: Lettercollum Kitchen in Clonakilty// The Olive Branch in Clonakilty// Mannings Emporium, Ballylickey// Connemara Hamper, Clifden// Mortons of Galway// Mary Pawle 

From the first certified organic winery in Montsant, comes Cabirol, a tasty and intensely fruity wine. It is a deep colour, more or less purple. Aromas are also intense, a melange of small black and red fruits fruits and a whiff of peppery spice. Spice and vibrant fruit (cherry and blackberry) appear too on an immediately engaging palate and there is a racy acidity; everything is in balance, smooth and elegant with a similar finish. Cabirol, complex and with good length,  is Very Highly Recommended.

It isn’t uncommon to see a Cabirol (a European deer) when you are ascending (or descending) through the vines in the Llaberia mountains where this wine is born. The vineyard, 20 to 75 years old, is located in the natural park, surrounded by forest. Every summer afternoon, a wind coming from the Mediterranean called “Marinada” cools down the temperature and helps give to the wines a special freshness.

DiT Cabirol is made by Danni of the Azul y Garanza trio and is his personal project. It is Garnatxa but with some Syrah, % depending on the year. 

Monday, November 29, 2021

Valleys of wine. Check out this excellent duo from the Loire and the Ebro

From the valleys of wine. Check out this excellent duo from the Loire and the Ebro

Azay le Rideau

Marie Thibault Le Grolleau Vin de France 2019, 13.5%

€26.95  64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

Grolleau, often regarded as the workhorse vine of the Loire, is seldom used on its own. 

However, according to, if yields are kept low, “Grolleau can produce a

light yet vibrant red wine, with herbaceous, 

sour-cherry flavors. Many of these are vinified as natural wines, although this is more to do with modern winemaking trends in the Loire than it is to do with the qualities of the variety itself.”

Le Grolleau comes from Azay le Rideau and this is where Marie Thibault does her stuff. Colour is mid to dark ruby. The rather intense aromas feature cherry and berries. It is light bodied and there’s a clean refreshing acidity on the palate along with much the same fruit flavours and that refreshing theme, along with a little spice, goes right through to the longer than expected finish. 

A delicious vin de soif, which essentially means unpretentious wines that are measured not by their complexity, length or ageeability but by the joy and refreshment they provide. Very Highly Recommended.

Marie Thibault grew up in the Loire Valley and began in 2002 working with François Chidaine in Montlouis, falling in love with Chenin Blanc there and making wine under her own name in 2004. She purchased her own estate in 2010 and converted to organics immediately. She has been certified with Ecocert since 2014. She works with Côt (Malbec), Gamay, Grolleau, Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon blanc. Most of her vines are at least 50 years old.    

Marie also buys some grapes from organic estates close by, which she herself harvests and vinifies in her cellar. Her husband is Frantz Saumon, another fantastic natural grower in the area, his wines also available from Le Caveau and their stockists. Marie’s wines see no additives other than a tiny addition of S02 before bottling, if any is added at all.

Viña Albergada Rioja Alavesa (DOC) 2016, 13%

€11.95 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

Made by the same producers of the Albizu Tempranillo that we had a few weeks ago, this Tempranillo has a dark cherry colour, though maybe not quite as vibrant as it was back in 2018 when I enjoyed this same vintage last.

The red fruit aromas are a little less intense than previously. The palate though may be better.  It is attractively juicy and fruity, with a touch of spice, very good acidity, quite refreshing. And the finish is good and long. 

Highly Recommended.  This easy-drinking style of Rioja offers great value-for-money. Great too, they hint, as an aperitif with tapas. Other suggestions include queen scallops and chorizo or pan-fried garlic chicken with sun-dried tomatoes. And, just like the Albizu, it is one of those versatile reds that may be tried chilled.

Tip: Look out for a more up to date vintage than the 2016.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

A White and a Rosé to savour this season

A White and a Rosé to savour this season

Terras Gauda, Abadia de San Campio Albarino, Rías Baixas (DO) 2019, 12.5% abv

€20.95 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

My first introduction to this particular wine came with the 2011 vintage which arrived on the doorstep just as I was heading off to Hendaye on the French/Spanish border. I brought a few bottles with me - talk about bringing coals to Newcastle. I was very impressed and rated it Very Highly Recommended. Lots of Albarino since then, including one in Nerua (in Bilbao) during that holiday!

And, glad to say, this 2019 is up there with the best of them, Very Highly Recommended again! Aromas are intense, tropical fruit (mostly mango and pineapple). And there’s amazing power and balance on the palate, “the intensity of taste of a harvest of well-ripened grapes”, as they say themselves, is balanced by a vibrant acidity. And the finish is persistent and pleasant all the way.


Le Caveau are obviously enthusiastic about it: Abadia de San Campio Albarino is such a lovely white..No sign of oak, the wine is therefore as pure and bright as a whistle.. Served with tuna steaks, it works brilliantly. Ideal with seafood, shellfish (Percebes!), fish... or almost anything coming out of the Atlantic.


Vintage 2019 all came right in the end as there was an “excellent ripening of the grapes, offering us a broad, concentrated and very lively Albarino”.

Back in 2012, as is the case now, ageing was not recommended. Quite a few experts, such as Hugh Johnson, were giving Albarino the DYA designation, meaning drink youngest available! You’ve been warned!

The producers recommend serving between 10 and 12 degrees with shellfish, oysters, clams, crabs and enjoy with spicy Asian cuisine.

Located in the O Rosal valley, in Galicia, Terras Gauda is notable for owning around 85% of its own vineyards; the remainder of the grapes are provided under strict quality control agreements with local growers.

Antica Enotria Contessa Staffa Rosato Puglia (IGP) 2019, 13% 

€18.25 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

The colour, more a red rose (close to pomegranate) than a pink rose, is what catches the eye with this Italian rosé from Puglia. It is a blend, Nero di Troia (85%) with Montepulciano. Aromas are rather intense - strawberry and cherry. It is light and lively on the palate, with a crisp and refreshing acidity, yet full of flavour with a good balance and a reasonably long finish. It is one of the drier rosés around, also that bit different to the French rosés, and Highly Recommended.

Contessa Staffa Rosato is the Mediterranean wine par excellence, with a strong restorative power on hot summer days. Yet it is liked for its versatility in the kitchen. It should be served cool, usually around 10 ° -12 ° C, so that it can express all its aromas and give soft and round sensations in the mouth.

With what to combine it? Almost with everything! It is an excellent aperitif, an obvious combination with cold cuts; with sushi it is a must; but try it with a soup or fried fish; with any first course, it is the king of summer cold dishes. Perfect for chicken and veal tuna salads; the roundness and softness make it the ideal companion for many spices.

Raffaele di Tuccio bought this run-down farmhouse (dating back to the 1700’s) in 1985 and over the past 30 years has worked tirelessly with his wife, Antonia, and son, Luigi, to bring the property back to life. Sadly Raffaele passed away in late 2020. the care of the farm and vineyards are now in the hands of Antonia and Luigi.

Monday, July 12, 2021

O'Briens Introduce Exciting New Wines Including This Very Highly Recommended Viognier

O'Briens Introduce Exciting New Wines

Including This Very Highly Recommended Viognier

Lynne Coyle MW, O’Briens Wine Director: “We are delighted to have recently added these exciting new wines to our range over the past couple of weeks. Six of them are organic, of which three come from our long-time Chilean partners, Emiliana.”

The two wines featured below are among the newcomers and both are on offer until July 18th. Others will come on offer after that date and we’ll get to those as well (including two more from the Emiliana Novas series). 

Watch out also for the O'Briens Spanish Wine Sale between 21st July and 2nd August.

Emiliana “Novas” Viognier Gran Reserva 2020 Valle Casablanca (DO), 14%, €12.95 until July 18th (was 15.07).

Light to mid straw is the colour of this organic Viognier from Chile’s Casablanca Valley, part of a group of wines new to the O’Brien portfolio this year. Peach and nectarine feature in the pleasantly intense aromas and also on the palate. It is quite dense and silky in the mouth, certainly ample, and the balancing acidity is key to this excellent experience, right through to the harmonious finish. Very Highly Recommended.

The vineyards, just 100km north-west of Santiago, are only 30km from the Pacific Ocean, so cooling sea breezes and ocean fogs help to moderate the long hot summer days and lengthen the ripening season, allowing the grapes to develop greater complexity of flavour, whilst retaining acidity. After fermentation, the wine is aged in oak barrels for 8 months to add a creamy texture. Those cooling sea breezes are a key factor as Viognier can easily over-ripen.

The label tells us that these “Premium organic wines are made with carefully selected grapes to create unique and high-quality products that faithfully express their terroir”. The Cabernet Sauvignon was listed as the 7th best value red in Chile by Wines of South America (pub. 2014).
We’ll have another couple from Novas (a Riesling and a Syrah-Mourvedre blend) over the next few weeks and, after this, I'm really looking forward to those.

Emiliana are one of the largest producers of estate-grown organic wines in the world. Their spectacular biodynamic vineyard and winery at Los Robles is a model that attracts visiting viticulturalists and winemakers from all over the world. General Manager José Guilisasti and winemaking consultant Alvaro Espinoza were key to establishing this project to convert a large commercial winery into a commercially viable organic one. These innovative wines are made with great care and attention and the results are inspiring.

Emiliana’s “Gé” is Chile's first ever certified biodynamic wine and is listed at #9 in the Twenty Wines to Drink Before You Die (Wines of South America pub. 2014) 

Luzon Monastrell Jumilla (DOP) 2020, 14.5%, €10.95 until July 18th (was 13.95)

This unoaked Monastrell from Jumilla in Murcia, a small region on the Mediterranean coast of south-eastern Spain, has a deep cherry colour. Intense yet elegant on the nose, a pleasing melange of red and darker fruits (cherries, plums and strawberries). And, on the intro to the palate, you immediately think juicy and fresh, as the fruit and acidity combine in impressive harmony. Tannins are pretty well integrated and the finish lingers. Highly Recommended.

This excellent newcomer has no added sulphur (as you can see on the label), is certified organic and vegan. The label calls it “honest, fresh, fruity and flavoursome” and indicates it should be served at between 14 and 16 degrees.

O’Briens: Bodegas Luzón was established in 1916 and specialises in growing Jumilla´s Monastrell grape. The estate is now owned by the Fuertes Family, who have invested heavily in the vineyards and winery. Luzón are one of our top Spanish producers, making a range of good value red wines. This Monastrell is a good example. It is a very good price point and already proving popular with our customers.

Note too the climate in this part of Spain is Mediterranean, with dry, sunny growing seasons. This helps the grapes remain healthy, disease free and allows for easier implementation of sustainable farming practices. Not all plain sailing though. says that “frosts, violent storms and torrential rains still pose real threats to vines” here.

Monastrell is known as Mourvedre in France where it is a key component of the Rhone GSM (Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre) blends.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Do you remember Mateus Rosé? Here’s to Rosé, Rós, Rosado, even Pink!

Do you remember Mateus Rosé?

Here’s to Rosé, Rós, Rosado, even Pink! 

Back to the rosé theme again, a very pleasant one, for this post. For the past few weeks, I’ve been telling you about various rosés from the South of France, mostly from Provence and the Languedoc. This post we’ll take a taste of two from outside of that country, one from Italy and one from Spain, both imported and distributed by O'Briens Wine.

Did you remember what started you on this style of wine? I can tell you that I started with Mateus Rosé and its unusual flask bottle shape (made an attractive candle holder!). It was at one point the best-selling imported wine in the U.S. market and was indeed very popular here in Ireland a few decades ago, mainly in the 70s. It is still very much on the market and you can buy a bottle for around €10.99 in supermarkets. The Portuguese wine is produced from Baga and Shiraz grapes.

The fact that we have a Spanish one below reminds me of a 2012 trip to Rioja, to the famous wine town of Haro and to the old premises of R. Lopez de Heredia Viña Tondonia in particular. I was taken with their aged whites, the Viña Gravonia Crianza 2002 and the Viña Tondonia Reserva 1996, and bought some of each.

Sampling in Vina Tondonia

But there was still some disappointment when I left. I had been hoping to get their famous Viña Tondonia Rosado Gran Reserva, another aged wine, but there was none available and, because it is not made every year, I was told “none will be available for another year or two”.  The current vintage that is available from the winery (perhaps not in Ireland) as far as I can see is 2011. If you come across it or a later vintage of this rosé do buy a few and include one for meë

Not surprising that you can find rosés all over the wine world. Indeed, many winemakers produce just enough for themselves. Back in 2013, I visited Chateau du Petit Thouars near Chinon. At that point, they had yet to harvest their first Chenin Blanc and every wine they had was produced from Cabernet Franc and that line-up included a very agreeable rosé.

Not quite in the same league, sales wise, as Whispering Angel and its sister Rock Angel (both available from O’Briens) or the many celebrity rosés such as the Bongiovi’s Hampton Water, or bottles from Sarah Jessica Parker, Sting, Kylie Minogue and Drew Barrymore. Rosé’s popularity continues to grow. According to, referencing Nelson data, sales in the US grew by 40% from 2018 to 2019.


Pasqua “11 minutes” Rosé Trevenezie (IGT) 2020, €14.21 (18.95), O'Briens Wine.

Quite a mix of local and international grapes in this delicious Pasqua Rosé from Verona. The name refers to the minutes of skin contact (which give the wine its delicate and subtle colour, aromas and overall style). Just under the “11 Minutes” I noted these words Odi et Amo. Not Italian but Latin and meaning “I hate and I love”. I wonder why the three words have such a prominent position!

I brought a magnum to a back-garden party and four of the five present gave it a big thumbs up; the fifth started and stayed with the beer! It was our first little get together since the recent lockdown ended so there was more talk than note-taking. 

The pale, very pale, salmon colour was the first talking point. Also mentioned around the table were the beautiful (if mild) aromas on the nose. The fine fruity (strawberry, raspberry) flavours as well, along with the refreshing acidity and the pleasing dry and crisp finish, also drew the kudos.

Hiding in plain sight..
Think I’ll now let the vineyard have its say: “The Corvina varietal, which dominates in terms of percentage, was chosen for the floral aromas as well as the significant acidity it gives to the wine. Trebbiano brings elegance and a long finish; Syrah gives fine fruit and spice notes to the glass and finally, Carménère creates structure, ensuring stability over time. This a fresh, enveloping rosé with an intense and complex bouquet, created to accompany spring or summer evenings and more.”

This relatively new rosé interpretation by Famiglia Pasqua has been much awarded, including a recent 91 points from Decanter. Served chilled, between 10 and 12°C, it is ideal as an aperitif and as an accompaniment to the most delicate dishes (eg salad, fish and white meat)

You will notice a circular opening on the front label and if you look that bit harder you will see a classical lady seemingly in the body of the wine. The technique is not unique in the industry but can be quite a talking point. No magic here, though. The head and shoulders you are seeing is on the inside of the back label.

Rós Rosado Navarra (DO) 2020, 14.5%, €12.71 (€16.95)
O'Briens Wine

The darkest, and the strongest, of my recent set of six O’Briens rosés is a Spanish-Irish cooperation. All the info is given, very concisely, on the back label. The two words to note most are Alicia and Lynne. 

Alicia and Lynne are the wine-makers, Alicia from Tandem and Lynne from O’Brien Wines. Lynne is the Wine Director at O’Briens and made this rosé with Alicia Eyaralar, founder and wine-maker at Tandem (not to far from Pamplona in Navarra). It is an ongoing partnership. I’m quite happy to admit to having a grá for the wines of Tandem, many of which are available from O’Briens.

The is produced from Garnacha grapes grown in sustainably farmed vineyards in the cooler Yerri Valley close to the Pyrenees and the Atlantic Ocean. After hand-picking and a short skin maceration, the grapes are fermented using wild vineyard yeasts and a minimal intervention regime follows in the winery. 

Colour is a deepish rose, with orange hints. Strawberry and raspberry on the nose and those summer fruits also feature in a most pleasant way on the dry and crisp palate. Indeed, this is one of the most flavoursome rosés on the market. Pretty decent finish too. If you don’t fancy anaemic looking and weak tasting rosés, then try Rós from the other end of the spectrum.

Handy wine to have in the house these days. Excellent as an aperitif and welcome for sure at the summer table in the garden. 

This is the selection or rosés that are reduced by 25% by O’Briens Wine:

Revino PostCard Organic Pinot Grigio 2020 Veneto €11.96

Delheim Pinotage 2020 Stellenbosch €10.46

Petit Bourgeois Pinot Noir 2019/20 €11.96 Loire Valley

Langlois Rosé D’Anjou 2020 €11.96 Loire Valley

Pasqua 11 Minutes 2020 €14.21 Veneto*

Laurent Miquel Les Auzines Alaina €12.71 Languedoc Roussillon*

MiMi en Provence Grande Réserve 2020 €14.96 Côtes de Provence

Gérard Bertrand Côte des Roses 2020 €14.21 Languedoc Roussillon*

Famille Bougrier 2020 €10.46 Loire Valley

Domaine L’Ostal 2020 €11.96 Languedoc Roussillon*

Château de Gairoird 2020 €14.21 Côtes de Provence*

Rós Rosé 2020 €12.71 Navarra*

Passe Colline Rosé Ventoux 2020 €11.21 Rhone

Previous posts covered four of the selection of samples. You’ll find the reviews on the Gairoird and the Bertrand here, those on the Laurent Miquel and JM Cazes here.