Tony Eklof, originally from New England, has settled in Clonakilty after a career as a librarian at University College Dublin. His knowledge and passion for wine has been inspired by frequent visits to the wine growing regions of the continent, particularly Italy and France.
Simon and Garfunkel were experts at conjuring up winter scenarios in their lyrics.
‘I turned my collar to the cold and damp’ from Sound of Silence. ‘A winter’s day in a deep and dark December…the freshly fallen silent shroud of snow’ from I Am a Rock. And most memorably, ‘Look around, leaves are brown, and the sky is a hazy shade of winter’
Well the sky is exactly that, as I look out my window this January afternoon. Christmas is a memory, and we are well into the New Year. I have a good friend who says ‘no wine for her in January’ and while I understand this is a popular time to take a break, I also feel a good glass of red in front of the wood fire is one of the consolations of the hazy shade of winter.
My selections this month all reflect our January budgets, which tend to be a bit tighter after the holiday season and are on the lighter alcohol side.
Carignan, cotes Catalanes, 2014, 13 pc. ‘Black fruit, spice and violets’ SuperValu, €9.
Castillo de Albai Crianza Rioja. 13.5 pc, SuperValu €9.
I discovered three new French wines in LIDL this morning, all three priced at €10 and perfect for January sipping:
L’Ayrolle, Fitou, 2015. 13.5 pc. Fitou is a great value small growing area in the Languedoc.
En Silence, Saint-Chinian, 2013. 13 pc. This is another underrated area near the town of Beziers.
Seguret Cotes du Rhone Villages 2016. 14 pc, Gold Medal winner.
Finally, I highly recommend Oz Clarke’s new World of Wine, which I received for Christmas. Colourful, irreverent, and ever so informative.