O’Briens Wine Beer & Spirits
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wine sale

  • Celebrate Malbec World Day

    To celebrate Malbec World Day, this Tuesday, April 17th, we are taking 20% off a selected range of Malbecs.

    Why not join in the celebrations at home by choosing a Malbec and take part in in the global conversation by using the hashtag #MalbecWorldDay

    I know that, I for one will be savouring one of the wonderful wines below this evening, now if I could only decide which one!

    The pioneering wine-making team at Ocho y Medio were the first to realise that the high-altitude vineyards of Spain's central plateau were perfectly suited to Malbec.

    My first choice comes from a somewhat surprising location. For Ocho y Medio Malbec (€10.36 down from €12.95), the grapes are grown in high-altitude vineyards in central Spain, this thoroughly-modern Malbec remains un-oaked, allowing the ripe black-berried & dark plum fruit to shine.

    Gèrard Bertrand's Stunning Hospitalet estate.

    Staying in Europe for now, ‘H’ de l'Hospitalet Malbec (€10.95 down from €13.95), is a stunning wine made in the south of France by multi-award-winning winemaker, Gérard Bertrand. Violet and blackberry aromas on the nose lead into a palate with flavours of ripe bramble fruit, vanilla, cocoa and dark plum. The finish is long with a silk-smooth mouthfeel.

    Norton's vineyards cover some of the best land in the Mendoza region.

    My next three selections all come from Malbec’s spiritual homeland of Argentina. The first of these, Norton Barrel Select (€11.96 down from €14.95), displays beautifully balanced mix of fruit and oak, with intense perfumed black pastille aromas mingling with vanilla overlaying a smooth full-bodied palate.

    Next up is a relatively new addition to our range, Vaglio Chacra (€15.16 down from €18.95), has an incredible concentration of dark plum and blackberry fruit on the nose, which follows through on to the subtly spicy and super smooth palate.

    Bodegas Caro's Malbec vineyards are planted at high-altitude in the foothills of the Andes

    My last pick, Aruma (€14.95 down from €18.45), is from top estate, Bodegas Caro, as hedonistic and full of chocolatey richness as they come. This is a joint venture between Domaines Barons de Rothschild Lafite and Nicolas Catena. The winemaking is overseen by DBR's technical team. Rich, full flavoured; gorgeous ripe, blackberry and plum fruit. Silky smooth this is a superb Malbec.

    All of these wineries will be present at our upcoming Spring Wine Festival (Limerick on May 10th and Dublin May 11th and 12th) where you will have a chance to taste more than 250 wines from over 60 of the world’s best winemakers!

    *Please note, these prices are available in-store or online on April 17th only, please check our website or stores for the most up to date pricing. 

  • Wine tips for Easter Sunday Lunch

    In its deliciously tender spring-Lamb, the traditional Easter Sunday lunch brings to the table one of my favourite food & wine matching opportunities, and in my opinion, this calls for a structured, flavoursome red wine.

    You should aim for a red wine with a decent tannin structure, good depth of fruit and a finish that can endure as long as the lamb itself. The goal is to have a wine with enough fruit and acidity to handle the robust flavours of the lamb, but not overpower it in the process.

    Taking all of this into account it should come as no surprise that the classic roast leg of lamb, bristling with garlic and rosemary has a natural affinity with red wines from some of the most renowned wine regions of Europe.

    The first of these regions I want to highlight today is Bordeaux, and for this occasion, I personally would look to the softer, plumper wines of Bordeaux’s right bank

    From Blaye, on the right bank of the Gironde, just across the river from Pauillac, Château la Raz-Caman (€15.95 down from €19.95) is an ambitious and charming wine made with 30% new oak barrels from four varieties that has plenty of black fruits, vanilla, spice and supple tannins. All in all, this is a wonderfully approachable Bordeaux, perfectly suited for early drinking

    La Raz Caman's vineyards are planted on 'clayey limestone, stony' soils perfectly suited for producing Merlot-dominant reds.

    The second classic lamb-friendly wine is Rioja. The perceived sweetness of most Riojas brought about by extended ageing in American oak is a lovely foil to roast lamb, especially when this includes rosemary and garlic. Monte Real Rioja Reserva (€13.95 down from €20.95) easily fits the bill, it has the lovely “vanilla meets berried fruit” character of traditional styles but there is extra richness and indeed more of a dark berry finish than any of its contemporaries.

    For my final red recommendation, I could of course recommend a Châteauneuf-du-Pape, however the inclusion of a personal favourite of mine, Château Belles Eaux les Coteaux (€12.95 down from €22.95) will more than make up for this omission. Made with a similar blend of grapes to Châteauneuf and from vineyards just a little further south, moving from the Rhône to the Languedoc, this super smooth red is bursting with deliciously ripe bramble fruit, chocolate undertones and rich spices, yet retaining a degree of elegance to the finish not often seen from this region.

    But of course, it’s not all about the reds, one of the great pleasures of this time of year is the return of fresher flavours and lighter fish-based dishes to the table and with them comes the opportunity to pair crisp, zesty and aromatic whites.

    With simply grilled white fish & shellfish, for me the only wine is an Albariño such as Contrapunto (€12.95 down from €18.45) which has attractive pear, peach and lemon fruit but more as there's a chalky mineral streak and a zesty almost saline tangy finish.

    However, if the dish calls for something a little more aromatic, why not try one of our all-time favourite Sauvignon Blancs, Astrolabe (€14.95 down from €19.95) is a wonderfully aromatic Marlborough Sauvignon, bursting with Lemon grass, gooseberry and citrus flavours, which lead into a deliciously-dry mineral finish.

    Sticking with Sauvignon, but returning to the classics, my final selection is from Sancerre, Domaine des Grandes Perrières (€14.95 down from €19.95) is a classic Sancerre with a great depth of gooseberry and lemon fruit, and tongue-tingling minerality evident on the long crisp finish.

    Best of all, with our loyalty promotion starting on Wednesday, March 28th and  running right through the weekend you will receive 15% back onto to your loyalty card for any purchase of six bottles of these wines or indeed of any of the more than 90 wines on promotion (6 for €50 wine promotion excluded from this offer). So why not drop in to your local O’Briens store this weekend and avail of this amazing offer.

    OBriens-Easter-Loyalty-New-Slider-Blog

    *Please note, prices are correct at time of publishing, please check our website or stores for the most up to date pricing. 

  • Bordeaux offers this Spring

    With Easter looming large on the Horizon, many of us will be thinking of serving the traditional roast leg of spring Lamb, and the classic partner of red Bordeaux to serve alongside it.

    So, it is very apt, that we have our spring Bordeaux parcels promotion running, of course buying Bordeaux can seem daunting for some, so to help de-mystify the region, I have laid out a few simple tips below.

    The first point of note is that all Bordeaux wines from entry-level right up to some most of the world’s most expensive wines are made from a blend of two or more varieties, primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Cabernet Franc.

    Also, the region is bisected by the Gironde River, and indeed you may have heard Bordeaux wines referred to as right or left bank.

    On the left bank, Cabernet Sauvignon is king, these wines have more structure and tannin, with dark blackcurrant and blackberry fruit and can possess tremendous ageing potential.

    On the right bank, the Merlot-dominant blends are generally softer and more approachable in their youth with layers of chocolate, spice, plum and red berry fruit.

    As you can see from the map below, with the ten wines chosen, we have covered a wide geographic spread with our Bordeaux line-up, so we also have a wide range of wine styles represented.

    This map highlights the broad geographic spread covered in the promotion

    To give you a sense of the promotion, I have picked out a few of my favourites below.

    If you really learn more about Bordeaux though, in my opinion tasting is far more enjoyable than reading, so why not start out by trying one of the wines below, all of which have 20% off this March & April, and for this weekend, all O’Briens stores will have Bordeaux on their tasting tables.

    From the Left Bank:

    The incredibly picturesque Château Lynch Moussas

    My first choice is from Pauillac-based Château Lynch-Moussas, the excellent 2nd wine Les Hauts de Lynch Moussas (€28.95 down to €23.15) has benefited from the meteoric upwards rise of the whole estate. It shows all the hallmarks of Pauillac with intense cassis and a graphite like spice and a touch of oak.

    The vat-room, where the wine-making magic happens at Château Poujeaux

    Moving to the south of the Medoc and the Moulis commune, Château Poujeaux (€48.00 down to €38.40) is a wine with intense sweet black fruits with aromas of violets and tobacco while the palate with enough youthful tannin to suggest it will age.

    From the Right Bank:

    I have chosen two wines to highlight the shift towards organic and biodynamic

    Wonderfully ripe Cabernet grapes in Château Haut Brisson's organic vineyard just before harvest.

    Château Haut Brisson was certified organic in 2010. They are now farming more of their estate using biodynamic farming techniques. Their 2nd wine, La Grave (€26.95 down to €21.95) is a classic Saint-Émilion Grand Cru; plummy, rounded in texture with plenty of ripe black and red berried fruit all topped off with well-integrated oak.

    The Meslin family at home in the grounds of Châeau Laroze

    Another Saint-Émilion Grand Cru and my final selection Château Laroze has been in the hands of the Meslin family since 1882. Today it is home to a thoroughly modern winery and although not certified, organic farming is practised at the estate. The Château’s 1st wine (€50.00 down to €40.00)   has wonderfully ripe plum and blueberry fruit which is accented by notes of dark chocolate and cedar on the smooth yet well-structured palate.

    *Please note, prices are correct at time of publishing, please check our website or stores for the most up to date pricing.  

  • Top picks from our Italian Wine Sale

    With our Italian wine sale kicking off this Friday the 9th , I thought now would be the perfect time to take a whistle-stop tour through Italy’s wine regions and look at some of the wines produced therein.

    We start our journey in the Northwest, in the region of Piedmont which is home not just to Italy’s finest reds; Barolo and Barbaresco, but also to one of the country’s best whites in Gavi, which can be just about the most refreshing of Italian white wines with clear lemon, ripe apple and pear fruit, and an underlying stony-mineral character. An extremely elegant white, la Battistina (€11.95 down from €14.95) is easily one of the best examples of Gavi in Ireland. Enjoy it with Lemon and Herb Roasted Chicken.

    La Battistina Gavi would be perfect with a delicious lemon and herb roasted chicken.

    Moving across to the Northeast, we come to the Veneto region, this vinous powerhouse produces more wine at D.O.C. level (Quality equivalent to AC in France) than any other region in Italy. This of course includes lots of white and sparkling wine, but the region is most famous for its red wines made using dried grapes. Porta Nova (€14.95 down from €20.45) is a big, bold, chunky Ripasso with loads of sweet, ripe, dark fruit, clever use of oak and that distinct 'sour cherry' Amarone tang. The velvet smooth texture means that this wine can quite easily be enjoyed on its own, but to see it at its best, I would serve it alongside a meaty Italian dish such as Tagliatelle al Ragù or even better with Veal Osso Bucco.

    Veal Osso Bucco would be perfect with Porta Nova Ripasso.

    Staying east but moving down the Adriatic coast to the Marche region of central Italy we have, Marotti Campi's  Albiano Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi (€10.95 down from €14.95) which has refreshing citrus fruits, zesty acidity and complex minerality as its hallmarks, when well-made like this example, Verdicchio is one of the very best whites Italy produces. Serve alongside Linguini with Clams for a match made in Heaven.

    Lorenzo Marotti Campi amidst his Verdicchio vines.

    Crossing west again we come to the Tuscany region, home to what is perhaps Italy’s most renowned wine in Chianti. Made by the award-winning winemaker, Stefano Chioccioli, Volpetto Chianti Riserva (€11.95 down from €19.95), is modern Chianti at its best, packed full of juicy, ripe red-berried fruit, nice touch of oak and above all silky smooth. It's a superbly made wine that will appeal to everyone, not just fans of Italian reds. This is a wine that is crying out to be paired with slow-roast shoulder of lamb.

    Volpetto Chianti Riserva is crafted by the award-winning winemaker, Stefano Chioccioli.

    We finish our journey deep in the South in the heel of Italy. From the Puglia region, Luna Argenta (€12.95 down from €18.95) is made using the Apassimento method (borrowed from the Veneto), whereby the grapes are partially dried prior to vinification. This yields a wine with intense aromas of crushed black berry and black cherry with notes of vanilla and cinnamon spice, these aromas follow through on to the palate along with hints of mocha/chocolate, with this wine’s wonderfully rich style braised lamb shanks would make for a delicious pairing.

    The sun-drenched vines of the Puglia region yield super-ripe fruit.

    Our Italian wine sale continues right through Saint Patrick’s weekend and finishes at 10.00pm on Monday the 19th.

    *Please note, prices quoted are valid from March 9th – 19th 2018, please check our website or stores for the most up to date pricing.

  • Our Sale Wines in the Press.

    When putting together the line-up for our Annual Wine Sale, we were certain that we were going with the strongest selection yet, nevertheless, it is great to have that confidence re-affirmed with a huge number of reviews in the Press, some of which I have picked out below.

    Gérard Bertrand H de L’Hospitalet Sauvignon Blanc , €8.95 down from €14.95

    “Good news for Sauvignon Blanc lovers, with €6 off, this is worth stocking up on. A fresh, clean, French-style Sauvignon Blanc, this is beautifully aromatic with a fruity character and refreshing acidity.”

    Corinna Hardgrave, Irish Independent, Sept. 3rd

    Château Cilorn , €14.95 down from €19.95

    “Elegant cherry fruits underpinned by a fine acidity and light tannins on the finish.”

    John Wilson, The Irish Times, Sept. 9th

    Xovial Albariño, €9.95 down from €16.95

    “An absolute steal. The crisp structure of Albariño pairs beautifully with oysters and white fish, and the classic flavours of apple mean this is also a perfect match with mussels.”

    Corinna Hardgrave, Irish Independent, Sept. 9th

    Follow Corinna's advice and pair Xovial Albariño with oysters for a real treat!

    Gérard Bertrand Pic St Loup €12.95 down from €15.95

    “Medium blend of Carignan, Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah. Great purity and elegance on the palate with waves of bramble fruit and silky-smooth tannins. Unbelievable value.”

    Matthew Nugent, The Irish Sun, Sept. 9th

     

    Gérard Bertrand Domaine de Villemajou €15.95 down from €20.95

     

    "A multi-layered red from with some bottle ageing which has added character to this handpicked Carignan, Grenache and Syrah blend.Very smooth, soft tannins and gamey notes on the palate. A rich, full-bodied red."

    Matthew Nugent, The Irish Sun, Sept. 9th

    Gérard Bertrand Hospitalet Red €16.95 down from €19.45

    “Again, another very approachable red blend – this time Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah in equal measures. A fruit forward wine with delicious soft black summer fruit flavours.”

    Matthew Nugent, The Irish Sun, Sept. 9th

    Gérard Bertrand's stunning Château l’Hospitalet.

    Château Mauvesin Barton, €22.95 down from €27.95

    “You can feel the power in the plush Merlot which dominates this blend. Happily, the Cabernet heart also shines through with leather tones and flickers of deep dark plum over a lengthy, evolving finish.”

    Tomás Clancy, the Sunday Business Post, Sept. 10th.

    Irish Wine Geese Family, the Bartons have been at the heart of Bordeaux for 10 generations, Château Mauvesin-Barton is their latest acquisition.

    Château Bentejac, €8.95 down from €17.95

    “Probably the best value basic claret around just now, the value for money being underlined by the fact that the price is down from the original €17.95…… Great with grilled steak and also with soft cheeses.”

    Tom Doorley, Irish Mail on Sunday, Sept. 10th

    Our Annual Sale continues until Sunday, September 24th  but as some of these wines may sell out, be sure not to leave it too late to visit your local O'Briens store.

  • The Best from Down Under

    Our Australia & New Zealand Wine Sale Starts today Wednesday, July 12th and runs until 10 pm on Wednesday, July 12th.

    We have 20% - 35% off over 130 exciting wines included in the sale line-up, far too many to detail here but I have chosen a few of my favourites below, these wines are from some of the finest vineyards in the Southern hemisphere and should illustrate just how wonderful the wines from Australia and New Zealand can be. As you might expect given the time of year and the regions covered, I have included some BBQ food matches for the wines, but needless to say, all four are equally delicious on their own.

    To start, we are looking at New Zealand, and in particular, the region & grape variety that put the country on the wine map; Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

    Made by former Cloudy Bay chief winemaker, Eveline Fraser from a single vineyard in Marlborough, Insight Sauvignon Blanc (€12.32 down from €18.95) wine has amazing levels of intense fruit and a depth of minerality not often seen outside Sancerre, this is not only different to most rival Marlborough Sauvignons but miles better! The pungency of this wine calls for a full-favoured dish such as Thai spiced seafood kebabs.

    When an Iconic Sancerre producer such as Henri Bourgeois, decides to make Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand you can expect good things. The French influence can be seen in the restraint and elegance of Petit Clos Sauvignon (€14.95 down from €19.95) but it also carries hallmark pungent Marlborough bell pepper and grassiness. Simply grilled prawns with a squeeze of lemon juice would perfectly complement the elegance of this wine.

    Grilled prawns; perfect with the Petit Clos Sauvignon

    Australia’s most famous region; the Barossa Valley is home to Torbreck Vintners, who pride themselves on their ancient gnarly vines, their Old Vines GMS (€16.95 down from €22.95) has a terrific depth of ripe dark fruit supported good oak. Finishing on sweet, ripe fruit this the perfect wine to match up with Moroccan Spiced Lamb chops hot from the Barbeque.

    Old Vine Mourvédre soaking up the South Australian sunshine in one of Torbreck's Barossa vineyards

    From the cooler Adelaide Hills region, the family-owned Longview Vineyard’s flagship Yakka Shiraz (€14.95 down from €19.95) is a model of cool restrained fruit, balance, and complexity, yet still, displays lush ripe fruit. This truly is a stunning Shiraz, but you don’t just have to take my word for it, the 2015 vintage has just picked up a Silver Medal at the International Wine Challenge 2017. To see this wine at its best, serve it alongside a chargrilled Rib-eye Steak.

    A juicy rib-eye is the Yakka Shiraz' best friend

    Among others, the Insight Sauvignon and Yakka Shiraz will be available to taste in your local O’Briens store this weekend.

  • Wonderful Whites For Summer!

    The June bank holiday this weekend kicks off the Summer season for most of us (even though the weather may not play along!), and what this means in terms of wine selection is a marked shift from red to white as we look for wines which will work well with the salads, seafood and lighter dishes gracing our tables.

    It isn’t always as simple as that though, some whites are better suited to these dishes than others, in general terms I would look an un-oaked white wine which is lighter in body with crisp acidity and moderate alcohol.

    Taking all of this into account, we have put together a stunning set of summer whites, all of which will be available as part of our Buy 1 Get the 1 ½ price all summer long (Mix & Match).

    I have highlighted below just a few of my favourites, but to see the full selection you can go to wine.ie, or even better, why not drop into one of our 33 stores nationwide.

    Starting out in central Spain, the de Alberto Winery is located an historic old farmhouse founded by the Dominicans in the 17th century. Their vineyards are at the heart of the Rueda DO, and working with the local Verdejo variety, the de Alberto team produce incredibly crisp, refreshing, and elegant white wines.

    Their delicious Monasterio de Palazeulos (€13.95 buy 1 get 1 half-price),  is an intensely fruity wine with aromas of melon, fresh-cut grass, fennel and apple, Great on its own it makes for a wonderful pairing with simply grilled fish due to its clean crisp profile.

    For my next choice, we have to cross the border into Portugal and head south for Alentejo. When João Portugal Ramos began his career as a winemaker, the Alentejo region was still widely unknown. Nobody has done as much for the region’s promotion and reputation as João Portugal Ramos.

    A mix of local grape varieties with a splash of Sauvignon, Pouca Roupa Branco (€14.95 buy 1 get 1 half-price) strikes the perfect balance between the ripe, almost-tropical fruit and the zesty fresh finish,

    João Portugal Ramos and his vines soaking up the Southern Portuguese sun in heart of the Alentejo region.

    Finishing up in France, Domaine de la Chauvinière is located on some of the best soils in the region at the top of the sloping bank of the Maine river which gives its name to the appellation Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, this unique site produces perfectly ripe grapes with a beautiful sugar/acid balance.

    This premium fruit provides 4th generation winemaker, Jérémie Huchet with the perfect base from which to craft his single-estate Muscadet (€14.95 buy 1 get 1 half-price), which is a really refreshing wine with tangy green apple and lemon peel fruit, while 'sur lie' or ageing on lees adds weight and texture and light bready note. If there is shellfish on the table, you would be hard put to find a better white wine to serve than this beauty.

    4th generation Muscadet winemaker, Jérémie Huchet

    Of course, I know white wine isn’t for everyone, so for all the red wine drinkers out there I have included one great red as a treat, it’s an old favourite at a very special price for this bank holiday weekend only!

    Monte Real's Reserva spends at least 3 years ageing in oak in their splendid barrel hall.

    Based in Cenicero Rioja, Monte Real farm 300 hectares of Tempranillo vineyards with the objective of making modern fruit driven Rioja. They can trace their heritage back over 100 years and this coupled with a modern winery allows them to straddle tradition and innovation.

    Their Reserva (€12.95 down from €20.95 until 10pm B/H Monday) is often referred to as one of the best traditional style Riojas, consistently delivering a little more weight and depth than its peers.

  • Brilliant BBQ Wines

    With a  fairly good weather outlook ahead, I thought now would the perfect time to have a look at some simple guidelines on how best to pair wines with BBQ dishes successfully.

    Above all, you should choose fresh, fruity, wines; zesty, citrusy whites, and bright, fruity reds and take care to avoid overly oaky wines either red or white and also avoid any red with heavy tannins.

    My top tip though would be to try a Rosé, pink wines are fantastic barbeque wines as they are incredibly versatile and very food friendly.

    To put you in the mood to fire up that grill, I have picked out some of my BBQ favourites below, all of which either included in our ongoing French Wine Sale which runs until Wednesday the 24th, or our Rosé promotion which runs all summer long.

    From Southwest France, Le Labyrinthe Côte de Gascogne (€9.95 down from €13.95 save 29%) is wonderfully fresh & fruity with grapefruit aromas and underlying exotic fruit. The zesty & refreshing palate finishes long on those exotic notes. For a real treat serve it with some sizzling chilli and garlic prawns.

    Provencal rosé and summer is a match made in heaven

     

    An incredibly sophisticated Provencal Rosé, Mirabeau (€16.95 buy 1 get 1 half-price) offers a combination of ripe red fruits and zesty apple fruit on the palate with a refreshing zip of acidity. This is a wine that tends towards elegance, rather than power, yet it has a very impressive finish. As I said above Rosé wines are very versatile and work well with most Barbeque dishes, but to see this wine at its best, try it alongside some mildly spiced Chicken Kebabs.

    Neasa & Laurent Miquel at their Languedoc estate

     

    From a leading Languedoc estate, owned and run by winemaker, Laurent Miquel and his Irish wife Neasa, Les Beauchamps Syrah (€10.95 down from €14.95 save 27%) is youthful and vividly fruity with juicy cherry and blueberry fruit and could even be served lightly chilled. This is just the wine to go for with homemade beef burgers.

    Gérard Bertrand surveys his organic vineyards

    For my last selection, I have a chosen another red, Solensis (€14.36 down from €17.95 save 20%) which is made with organically grown Syrah and Grenache from the sun-drenched vineyards of the Languedoc. From these perfectly ripe grapes, Legendary winemaker Gérard Bertrand has crafted a delicious red, jam-packed with ripe bramble fruit. This wine is just crying out for a charcoal grilled rib-eye steak.

     

  • French Favourites

    Our French wine sale begins this Wednesday, May 10th and is running for two full weeks right through until Wednesday the 24th, so there can be no better time to pick up a few bottles of your favourite French wine or even to try something new.

    With over 300 wines covering a wide variety of wine styles, there's something here to suit everyone.

    To get you thinking, I have highlighted just a few of my French favourites below, but to see the full range, click here or even better why not drop into your local O'Briens Store.

    This beautiful Domaine Begude winery is the passionate labour of love for English owners Catherine and James Kinglake. The organically farmed 29-hectare estate located 300 metres above sea level makes delicious aromatic white wines and stunning Pinot Noirs but their real speciality is Chardonnay. With the name referencing postcode of the cool climate region of Limoux, their deliciously refreshing and delicate “Terroir 11300” (€14.36 down from €17.95 save 20%) has zesty citrus freshness coupled with apple and pear notes; fine structure & pleasing minerality.

    Organic Chardonnay vines take pride of place at the stunning Domaine Begude in Limoux.

    Based in Faugères, the charming Domaine la Sarabande is owned by an Irish wine goose Isla Gordon and her Australian wine-making husband Paul. After meeting and working together in New Zealand, they headed back to Europe to create their own wines. Their Misterioso (€13.56 down from €16.95 save 20%) has aromas of dark cherries and some lifted glazed fruit characters. The palate is again dominated by dark fruits but there are some attractive strawberry characters combined with fine tannins. The wine finishes dry but very well-balanced acidity helps to lengthen the palate.

    One of the Loire valley’s very best producers, Langlois-Chateau is owned and run by Champagne House Bollinger, whose quality charter is applied rigorously to all the wines of this great estate. Their Château Fontaine-Audon (€17.56 down from €21.95 save 20%) is consistently one of the best Sancerres on the market, thanks to its soils rich in "Silex" (Gun-Flint) it ticks all the right boxes; mineral driven, intense fruit and beautifully balanced, and this vintage has an extra level of ripeness to the fruit.

    The "Silex" rich soils of Château Fontaine-Audon

    Germain Croisille, is the winemaker at Cahors’ Château les Croisille, which his parents Bernard and Cécile founded in 1979. Working with organically-grown fruit he produces thoroughly modern and food-friendly Malbecs, marked out by their freshness, acidity and minerality. His Silice cuvée (€15.16 down from €18.95 save 20%) has delicious ripe black-berried fruit complemented by sensitive use of oak.

     

     

  • Celebrate Spanish Wine Week With Us

    Just In case you hadn’t heard, we are right in the middle of the second, annual Spanish Wine Week.

    This exciting initiative from the Spanish embassy will see numerous tasting and events taking place right across the country all week, including this Thursday night at Smock Alley Theatre, where O’Briens Wine Director, Lynne Coyle MW will be hosting a very special tasting (unfortunately now sold-out) which will include an exciting mix of some of the best new-wave wines, and established classics such as Rioja Gran Reserva.

    If you have missed out on this tasting, don’t worry as we still have lots in-store offers on Spanish wines and there will be a great selection of Spanish wines on the tasting table in all our stores this weekend.

    To whet your appetite, I have picked out a few of my favourite wines below.

    Regular readers will know I have used this forum many times before to highlight the afore-mentioned new-wave wineries, so for today’s selection I have stuck to the classics; Albariño and Rioja.

    Grown in the Galicia, the cool and wet north-west corner (known to locals as green Spain) Albariño is without a doubt Spain’s best cool climate white wine.

    Owner/winemaker, Jesus Alvarez Otero makes one of our all-time favourite Albariño’s. His crisp refreshing Contrapunto (€12.95 down from €18.45), has attractive pear, peach and lemon fruit but more as there's a chalky mineral streak and a zesty fresh finish. This is just the perfect wine for spring and summer drinking - think sunshine, friends, and seafood Tapas, particularly Pulpo a la Gallega.

    Pergola-trained Albariño vines in Pazo Señorans cool-climate vineyards

    One of the finest estates in the Rías Baixas DO, ideally located at Vilanoviña, in the Pontevedra town of Meis, the vineyards benefit from coastal-influences and mineral-rich soils allowing Pazo Señorans to make seriously good Albariño (€18.95 down from €22.95), delicately floral on the nose with hints of lemon and pear. This opens up on the palate to reveal a complex, mineral-driven white with an incredibly long finish. It should go without saying that this wine is the ideal partner for a Seafood Paella.

    Rioja has long been one of Ireland’s favourite red wines so, you may know that there are four main categories of Rioja, each with its own distinct flavour profile related to its ageing programme in the winery: These are Joven, Crianza, Reserva, and Gran Reserva. I have chosen a Crianza and a Reserva for today’s line-up.

    Consistently rated as one of Spain’s greatest producers the Eguren family have revolutionised modern Spanish wine. From their dynamic Riojas at Sierra Cantabria to their highly-regarded Tempranillo from central Spain the range is beyond impressive. Their Crianza (€15.95 down from €17.95) is a wonderfully dark Rioja which, rightly, suggests the fruit will be intense as it's full of juicy blackberry character, with just a whiff of oak.  This restrained oak-use makes this wine incredibly when it comes to food matching, working well with everything from cured meats to fillet steak.

    The Iconic Murrieta winery at the Ygay estate.

    An iconic Rioja house, Marqués de Murrieta are among the finest examples of Spain's most celebrated wine region, and their winemaker María Vargas is rightly considered to be one of Spain’s greatest winemakers. María’s greatest obsession is to extract the maximum expression of the region’s ‘terroir’, applying different wine-making techniques according to the variety, vine age, orientation, and the soil, choosing the optimum moment of ripeness of the fruit, as María says herself,

    “The hardest thing when making a wine is giving it its own unique personality, and when someone tastes it and can identify it, it makes you very happy.”

    María's personality is very much on display in Murrieta's Reserva (€19.95 down from €23.95), which beautifully merges the traditional and the modern; unmistakably Rioja but with wonderfully rich, ripe fruit. This wine would be the perfect choice to serve with char-grilled lamb cutlets.

    To top it all off, I should also mention that all the wineries above will be showing their ranges at our Dublin Wine Fair on the 5th & 6th of May.

     

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