Fellow Wine Lovers,
For us it’s all about Ireland this week – Cheltenham, St Patrick’s Day, and the Ireland v England rugby on Saturday.
But our Irish week actually started last Saturday, when one of our customers popped in with a ‘strange request’. We get a lot of strange requests, I think it’s something to do with being open in the evening once the hairdressers are shut, but most requests are nowhere near as strange as the quester believes, so eyelids, usually, remain unbatted.
This was different. Jennifer, whose name I may or may not have changed to protect her anonymity, informed me that she was going to be celebrating St Patrick’s day with some pals this week and thus, what Irish Wines did I have? Irish Wine? Not so sure Ireland’s the place I’d go looking for wine. In fact, we’ve just recently had it confirmed by our Irish representatives in the Northern reaches of London that, after a tasting at the Irish Embassy, we’re not missing much or indeed anything at all.
So I said to Jennifer, because that’s definitely not her name, that I had a fabulous bottle of Jack Ryan Beggars Bush 12 Year Old Single Malt Whiskey for £51.99 but if she wanted wine, I couldn’t help. I think she had suspected this might be the case so she said that she was happy to take something else vinous, providing it had a loose connection to the Emerald Isle – and that she would pop back in a few days to see if I had had any thoughts.
I like a challenge, particularly one involving slightly tenuous wordplay, so I set about my task with gusto.
I can report that there are not enough wines out there (or at least in here) that fit within any of these criteria:
- Made by someone called Patrick
- With Celtic crosses on their labels
- Or Harps or Shamrocks
- With Emerald mentioned in their title
- Or Serpents
- Or March 17th
- Or a Leprechaun, God be thanked
- Associated to U2, Boyzone or B*Witched, again, God be thanked
So what can I suggest for those of you wanting something vinous that is nebulously Hibernian?
Any wine from Galicia – there is plenty of evidence or myth, depending on your viewpoint, that there is a shared genealogy between Ireland and Galicia – I won’t get into a debate here but suffice to say there are Celtic crosses galore in Northwest Spain.
If you cross the border into Portugal, you’ll encounter the zesty, clean wines of Minho – Vinho Verde to be exact, which I suspect we can all Google translate as ‘green wine’.
There’ll be others I’m sure but a here’s a selection of what I have on the shelf:
Leira Seca 2016 – £11.49 – Vinh O’Verde, Minho
Val do Xuliana Albariño 2015 – £12.49 – Rías Baixas, Galicia
Bioca Godello 2016 – £13.49 – Valdeorras, Galicia
Sameirás Blanco 2015 – £16.49 – Ribeiro, Galicia
Alodio 2015 – £12.99 – Ribeira Sacra, Galicia
Casal de Paula 2015 – £14.79 – Ribeira, Galicia
And here is the even more tenuous selection, which arguably we had more fun with:
Pouilly Fume ‘La Charnoie’ 2014 – £18.99 – made by a gent named Patrick
Puligny-Montrachet 2014 – £35.99 – made by a gent named Patrick but a different one
Powers Merlot 2012 – £13.29 – from Washington State in the USA but surely there’s a certain Irish Whiskey by this name…
Emili O’Moro 2014 – £17.99 – from Ribera del Duero, really called Emilio Moro but it’s the first wine I have sold this week with an ‘Irish’ connection
Riecine 2011 – £48 – because it’s made by Sean O’Callaghan. And it’s delicious. Even if he is actually an Englishman…
Hopefully that helps a little or a lot, depending on your requirements. For those of you ambivalent towards these events, perhaps I can entice you to pop in for a taste anyway?
We’re going to open two wines from Galicia, mentioned above:
Bioca Godello – £13.49 – Godello is the grape here, grown at high altitude which helps give it real purity of flavour. Lifted orange character on the nose and a vibrant, crisp, citrus focused palate with some background smatterings of minerals. A very decent length finish and unerringly more-ish – if you want more though, you’ll have to buy a bottle!
Casal de Paula – £14.79 – A pimentón spiciness on the nose with some savoury red and black fruits in there too leading onto a delicious palate of sour cherries and tart red fruits. Fine tannins with great freshness, typical of the region, and a real delicious drop.
So I think that’s about it from us – last day of Cheltenham today with Ireland leading 14 – 7, having had six winners yesterday but I think we’ll let them have the bragging rights providing we do the reversal on them in Dublin at the Aviva tomorrow!
As someone notably said back in 1996: Good things come to those who wait! (anyone remember who?)