Great expectations

Posted on: 7th March, 2017

Category: The Wine Buff

Contributor: Tony Eklof

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.

‘It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.’ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

This month I have four wines to recommend for you. Three are real bargains, the fourth is for a special treat!

Chateau Moulin Lafite 2014 is a favourite of mine. It is a Gold Medal winner from the Lyon Wine Fair. Eighty per cent Merlot the rest Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. It is in some ways an old-fashioned Bordeaux in that it harks back to the days when elegant wines from this most famous region were lighter in structure than most current stronger versions. 12.5 per cent, currently great value at €14 or even better, two for €20, SuperValu.

Poggio Civitelle Orvieto Classico 2015, 12.5 per cent, is a nice example of the dry white wine grown around the famous Etruscan city in Umbria, which boasts one of Italy’s most beautiful Romanesque Duomos. Orvieto makes a  dramatic sight from the vineyards below, as it is perched on a 300m plateau. Wines in Umbria are great value, as they are similar to those of nearby Tuscany but not as expensive. In fact Umbria makes a wonderful holiday destination with its atmospheric hilltop towns, Spoleto, Assisi, Todi etc. €8.99, Lidl.

Podere Macinatico, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, 2015, 13 per cent. The San Gimignano skyline is one of the most dramatic in all of Italy, dominated by 13 ‘high-rise’ medieval towers that can be seen from miles around. If you wish to visit some time, I would recommend staying overnight as the town becomes magical once the coachloads of tourists departs. This is a good example of the dry straw-coloured white from the region, meant to be drunk while young and fresh. Lidl, €9.99,

Think Austrian wine and you probably summon up Riesling or the local white Gruner Veltliner, but Wohlmuth Aristos 2009, 13.5 per cent, is actually a dry red of great quality. The blend is a local grape, Blaufrankische with Cabernet Sauvignon, and comes from Burgenland near the border with Hungary. €24 Matson’s Wine Store, Bandon. A wine for a special occasion.

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