Following on from last month’s article, I have decided to open my own little wine shop in one of West Cork’s colourful little towns. It will specialise in wines not at the moment readily available in the area. This will be a wine shop like no other. No Jacobs Creek or Yellow Tail from Australia, no Casillero del Diablo from Chile, and definitely no Pinot Grigio from anywhere! Not to worry, if these are among your favourites as they will continue to be available in just about every supermarket.
In our German section there will be no Blue Nun or Black Tower, wines so bad they are probably responsible for the dearth of quality wines from the Rhine, Mosel and Nahe rivers. I was once treated to a meal in a tavern in a small village outside of Heidelberg and can still remember being blown away by the excellence of the white wines served up that night. Our shop will also feature lovely Gruner Veltliner white wine from nearby Austria.
From France you will find fine wines from the south-west, Bergerac, Fronton, Buzet and my personal favourite, Pecharmant. Our rose will come from the Rhone rather than the Loire, from Tavel to be specific. And of course Bordeaux, from the great appellations including Pessac-Leognan which seems to combine all that’s best of the Cabernet based left bank and the Merlot based right bank wines of the River Gironde.
We won’t have massed produced cheap Chianti in our Italian section, but we will have good value Chianti Colli Senisi from Siena and a selection of great wine from the Classico villages with Isole E Olena as our star selection. From the north we will feature Nebbiolo and light, fragrant Dolcetto from the Piedmont and will try to introduce you to unusual reds from the Dolomites and from the Veneto region. From the south will come great value Sardinian and Sicilian wines including some grown right on the side of Mount Etna.
On our California shelves out go the sickly sweet ‘blush wines’ such as Blossom Hill, ‘the UK’s most loved wine’ and in come great Cabernets and Zinfandels from areas such as Sonoma County and the Napa Valley. Nothing from the largest producer Gallo, probably because of my memories of a country wide boycott of the company in the 70s because of its treatment of farm workers. Instead, we will try to source some of the Pinot Noirs made famous by the great film Sideways.
Our shop will have a section with lesser known wines, made with the Touriga National grape in Portugal, or the Aghiorgitiko in Greece. New tastes for the tired palate!
One last thing, we will have a selection of quality half-bottles.
Why are they so hard to find, and why do they not cost half the price of a full bottle?
What is the name of the street for this shop? Fantasy Road!
Dolle Gruner Veltliner – Gorgeous white from Austria. €11 from Super Valu. (limited supply)
Chateau Peyredoulle Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux. From a great value appellation of Bordeaux, €12 in the Dunne’s Stores French Wine Sale.
Chateau Pontet-Caillou Pessac-Leognan. €19. Lidl. A wine suitable for laying down for Christmas.