With the Irish wine press enamored by the wide and varied selection of excellent wines here at O'Briens, I am delighted to share their excellent festive recommendations. In my first blog HERE I brought you some of the best White and Fizz recommendations we have received recently. Below I have included the festive red and sweet/fortified selection.
Best Festive Red Wines
"Pale and interesting Pinot Noir and an example of how well Romania can cultivate reliable Pinot Noir. True to character, fresh redcurrant fruit flavours with refreshing acidity and gentle tannins, allowing it to be served cool. Served at the British Embassy’s summer garden party reception in Dublin welcoming royal visitors Harry and Megan to Ireland in July.
Food friend: a versatile red that goes equally well with roast turkey and ham or a grilled tuna steak." -Liam Campbell, www.thetaste.ie December 2018
"A real steal for the festive season- and Romania would seem to have got its mojo back with this very quaffable Pinot.
A smattering of ripe cherry and raspberry fruit dominates on a quite smooth palate which is surprisingly stylish with lean and soft tannins. I'd say this is my definite bargain of the month." -Matthew Nugent, The Irish Sun 01/12/2018
"Light with sweetish plum and red-cherry fruits and a tannin-free finish. You won't mistake it for fine Burgundy, but this would make a great party wine." -John Wilson, www.irishtimes.com 16/11/2018
"This is a polished, deeply ripe and richly spicy Languedoc creation from the Château Lafite-Rothschild branch of the Rothschild family. The vineyard and estate here occupies the site of a 2,000-year-old Roman vineyard, which was subsequently maintained by Cistercian monks. This is the second wine of the estate made from younger vines and with an eye to earlier drinking, though I would maintain it benefits from half an hour's decanting. The blend is typical of Corbières, with syrah, grenache and mourvèdre joined by a dab of carignan." -Tomas Clancy, Sunday Business Post 16/09/2018
"Super blend of Syrah and the two Cabernets- Franc and Sauvignon- from my all-time favourite Languedoc region: Minervois La Liviniere.
Here we have a great balance of soft summer dark fruits and spice, with tannins playing their part but in the background. Great length and finish." -Matthew Nugent, The Irish Sun 01/11/2018
"As with all great wines there is a hand-in-glove fit here between grape and ground, the grape being Mencia and the ground being the Ribeira Sacra region of northwest Spain. If ever a wine could be described as ‘alive’ on the palate, this is it. There is a lean, racy quality to the fruit, interleaved with an intriguing mineral bite. In short, a treat for taste buds jaded by concentration at the expense of finesse." -Raymond Blake, www.foodandwine.ie 26/10/2018
"Mencia grapes grown on dizzying slopes above the Sil river show pure cherry and plum fruit, a dash of liquorice and stony acidity. 92/100." -Martin Moran, The Sunday Times 30/09/2018
"Organic Languedoc producer Château de Caraguilhes features its first sulphur-free wine. A bright and vibrant made from Cinsault grapes matured in concrete vats.
Fresh and generous in flavours of red cherries, pomegranate and cranberries with a hint of violets, this smooth red offers tannins and a mellow character, very elegant and lean." -Gaby Guedez, www.thetaste.ie November 2018
"Complex aromas of mulberry fruits, polished oak and a mineral streak. Forward black fruits spiced by pepper and clove with a little vanilla on the finish highlighting its aging in French 250 litre hogshead barrels.
Food friend: Perfect with rare venison and a Marsala and morel mushroom sauce." -Liam Campbell, www.thetaste.ie Octover 2018
Best Sweet/Fortified Festive Wines
"This is very good, warming tawny port, with ripe raspberries, raisins and toasted nuts, plus a sprinkle of spice. Christmas in a glass, if it's not too early. Great value for money too." -John Wilson, www.irishtimes.com 16/11/2018
"With a beautifully perfumed nose, the grapes for this Australian dessert wine have been allowed to hang a little longer on the vine so that the flavours become more intense. Light, yet concentrated, this has fresh citrus flavours with rich dried peach and a kiss of wild honey." -Corinna Hardgrave, Irish Independent 03/11/2018
"Vin Santo is a less sweet alternative to classic French Sauternes. This Italian from Tuscany’s famous Chianti zone is made from very ripe white grapes (usually, Trebbiano and Malvasia) that are partially dried to increase the concentration of sugar and the wine spends at least three years in small 200 litre casks to age and mellow. Traditionally, chestnut casks were used because of its very porous structure, allowing the wine to breathe and oxidise in a controlled way. This imparted an added nutty character.
In this Vin Santo, the deep amber colour highlights the long aging in wooden casks of this naturally sweet nectar. An almost salty nuttiness from the cask mutes the honey and caramel sweetness, making it seductive to convert to the sweeter side. Full-bodied, rich and impressive.
Food friend: end a meal on a Tuscan note and go native – dipping almond studded biscotti into the wine." -Liam Campbell, www.thetaste.ie December 2018
"A dessert wine that I reckon is one the Most Complete Wines on Sale Anywhere! Its the Disznoko Tokaji Aszu 6 Puttonyos 2005. The best tends to cost (a bit) and this is an impressive €60.00 for the traditional 500ml bottle. The extreme depths of sensational flavours that this wine has sends your taste buds swimming into overdrive." -Kevin Ecock, www.wineireland.com 11/12/2018
There are plenty more great offers in-store, where our knowledgeable and helpful staff will gladly help you choose that perfect festive bottle of red, sweet or fortified: whatever the occasion. If you are looking for some fizz or white wine inspiration check out my blog HERE.
Please note that the date has passed for guaranteed delivery before Christmas from our online store.
*Please note: All prices correct at time of publication. For the most up to date prices please contact your local store or online www.obrienswine.ie.