Last week I recommended some of the new white wines that hit our shelves in the past year which may have slipped under your radar. This week I am taking a look at three new red wines that are worth investigating, and all are on special promotion for October.
With the Autumnal season painting our countryside beautiful shades of russet and gold, the wines we reach for tend to get fuller-bodied and richer.
I start with a wine that is proving an immediate hit with our customers this month. Only introduced to our shelves in the past few months, the Federico Paternina is a benchmark classic style Rioja Gran Reserva.
What does Rioja Gran Reserva mean?
To be classed as a Rioja grapes for the wine must be grown in the Rioja DOC region of Spain and completely vinified in a bodega in that region. Further classification (Crianza, Reserva, Gran Reserva) is based on how long the wine is aged in oak and bottle before being released.
To be classified as a Gran Reserva, a Rioja must be aged for at least five years: at least two of which must be in oak barrels. This extended oak ageing adds texture, tannic structure and body to the wine. Stored in good conditions, these wines can age incredibly well, developing lovely savoury dry tobacco and earthy nuances.
The purchase of oak barrels & subsequent warehousing costs is an expensive process. To ensure the bodega makes a return on this investment, the winemaker will only use the best quality grapes and make Gran Reserva wines in the very best vintages. This tends to make a Gran Reserva the top wine of a bodega, and its most expensive.
So we are delighted to be able to offer a classic bodega's top wine with €10 Off in October. The Federico Paternina Gran Reserva comes from a traditional Rioja house and is a blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha grapes. After fermentation the wine is aged for 24 months in oak barrels before being bottled and laid down in the winery's 16th century cellars for a further 3 years.
This patient maturation process gives the wine a fine floral and toasty bouquet and a complex palate full of bramble fruits, plum and a nice touch of spice and vanilla from the American oak. All the complexity and ageability you would expect from a Rioja Gran Reserva at an excellent price.
Food Pairings for Rioja Gran Reserva
Food pairings include a good cut of aged steak, venison, wood pigeon, rich Rabo de Toro stew.
Malbec is very much on-trend at the moment and has become synonymous with winemaking in Argentina, where it accounts for a full quarter of the county's vineyards. But the grape originated in the southwest of France: it is one of the six permitted red grape varieties of Bordeaux and is the dominant grape in Cahors (where it is also known as Côt or Auxerrois).
Difference Between Argentinian & French Malbec
Malbec tends to make full-bodied, robust red wines, but can be quite different in style depending on which side of the Atlantic they hail.
- The popular Argentinian style tends towards a plummier fruit style with velvet smooth tannins.
- The French style of Malbec will tend towards a more tannic, savoury character with crisp bramble fruit notes.
Food Pairings for Malbec
Malbec has a naturally firm and tannic structure that will pair perfectly with grilled meats- lamb, beef, pork belly.
Below are two Malbecs on promotion for October that are a good stepping stone from one style to the other- a nice juicy French Malbec and a slightly more restrained Argentinian version.
Coming from the creative imagination of a few wine-loving friends, Lionel Osmin is a quality-focused winery with the modest desire to produce the very best wines in the southwest of France. This introduction to their range shows they are certainly heading in the right direction.
The Lionel Osmin Le Conservatoire is a modern style of French Malbec coming from the Basque region of France. It retains the tight tannin expected of a southern French Malbec, but is bursting with fresh crunchy Languedoc fruits that would appeal to the Argentinian Malbec drinker. A very nice find, offering excellent value for money.
Produced by top Italian consultant winemaker, Alberto Antonini, this is the most exciting Argentinian Malbec to hit our shelves in the past couple of years. When our Wine Director, Lynne Coyle MW, tried it at Prowein last year she was captivated by its alluring, restrained style.
Antonini wanted to make a more European-leaning Malbec by stepping away from the concentrated jammy fruit flavours typically associated with Argentinian Malbec. Instead he strove for a fresher, fruit-focused, terroir-driven wine.
The grapes come from a high altitude vineyard in the Uco Valley region of Mendoza in Argentina. Using a minimum-intervention approach in the vineyard, and almost no oak in the winery, ensures the purity of the Malbec fruit shines through, resulting in an elegant and balanced wine.
Still full of the crunchy bramble fruits expected from an Argentine Malbec, El Salvaje is perfumed and vibrant with a floral and mineral character, refreshing acidity and a long fresh finish. This is a very appealing, quality-focused wine.
There are over 70 more exciting wines with up to 40% Off in your local O'Briens store & online through October.
*All prices correct at time of publication. For current prices and offers please visit our online shop www.obrienswine.ie*