Peppoli 2002, Chianti Classico e16.49
OB, SQ, Cana (Mullingar), RED, Harvest (Galway) Rating 15.5/20
A mid-ranger from the prolific and aristocratic house of Antinori, Peppoli’s sheer restraint may come as a surprise to those more used to swaggering new world reds and maybe all the better for it. The vanillins aren’t overdone thanks to the big Slovenian oak botti wherein the wine is matured and tannins in the 2002 were resolving nicely. 10% finds its way into American oak barrels to lend character to the finish. Nice kit, sort of ‘posh easy-drinking’ (that’s a compliment).
McPherson Basilisk Shiraz Mourvedre
O’Brien’s. e.12.99 Rating 14/20
We found this wine on a 2 for 20 promotion which might now be over (That’s the trouble with a monthly mag!) It’s a fairly big hitter, with a whack of sweet plummy fruit from the ‘Raybans and factor 40’ Shiraz, my take is it really needs the dark notes of the Mourvedre to keep things together. It also needs food. Hard going on its own, it combined beautifully with a rib of beef.
No vintage on the label, I’d guess 2002. David?
Nugan Manuka Grove Durif 2003 e15.99 SuperValu Rating 15.5/20
Durif is a black grape, originally a selection of the little known Peloursin, propagated by a Doctor Durif in SE France back in the 1880s. It has all but died out in its native land but instead found a home in California (as Petite Syrah) and in Victoria and New South Wales where it makes dense, porty full-flavoured wines with ‘earthy’ appeal that make a refreshing change from Cabernet and Syrah. We owe this fine single vineyard version to Darren Owers, Australia’s Young Wine Maker of the Year 2004. It stood up particularly well to a leg of Gary Crocker’s organic lamb swathed in rosemary, smoked garlic and sea salt. A saved dash to deglaze the roasting tin did the gravy no harm.
Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi DOC 2004 Marchetti e10.65 Wines Direct, Mullingar Rating 14.5/20
Verdicchio, classic white wine of Italy’s Marche, has been through hard times what with its largest producer coming up with a bottle that positively screams ‘kitsch!’ plus idiosyncratic oenology that put the wine out of tune with the times. On holiday in the region last year I was pleased to note that the modern style, of which this is a decent example, was drier, cleaner and altogether less demanding. Racy, lemony acidity makes the Marchetti version a perfect non-serious cold white for a warm night. Enjoy it, while the weather lasts.
Ata Rangi Pinot Noir 2001 & 2002. OB, Redmonds, & selected independents e38.00 rating 16/20 (2001)18/20 (2002)
Two New Zealand makers have always been considered leaders of the pack when it comes to this sensuous but temperamental variety. One is Felton Road, the other Ata Rangi whose main Pinot Noir clone is said to have been imported illegally from France back in the ‘70s. The 2001 is distinctly Burgundian in tone with both dessert and morello cherries in evidence, backed by aromas of fading violets. While undeniably classy it is showing substantial garnet tints and ought to be drunk within the next twelvemonth. The 2002, altogether a more confident production, is starting to add truffly notes to the gage plums, red cherries, dark chocolate and vanilla I recorded at a tasting earlier this year. It should hold up a lot longer than its sibling but is lovely as of now. Double decant, serve at around 16° and you and your friends are on a winner.
Bauget-Jouette Grande Reserve NV around e45 BWR, BN9, CAR Rating 15/20
Champagne falls into 3 categories, well, two if you discount cheap’n’nasty. There’s the suave, subtle, elegant style favoured by wine critics, successful stockbrokers and lady fashionistas who believe it won’t muck up their diet; and the uber weighty, fruit-centric ‘glass-that-cheers’, beloved of those who’ve gained promotion, been left a small legacy or won a palimony suit. Bauget-Jouette Grande Reserve, big, bouncy, bountiful, is firmly in the latter category. Thanks probably to a big dollop of Pinot Meunier it doesn’t do subtle; what it does do is make you feel the world’s a better place.
Domaine des Martinelles Crozes Hermitage White 2003 e15.99
The Celtic Whisky Shop, Dawson Street, Dublin 2 Rating 16/20 You shrugged off Chardonnay ages ago but now you are getting bored with NZ Sauv B and you’ve tried it but you’re not yet ready for Riesling. Where to go next? Northern Rhône’s the answer, with this engaging Marsanne-Rousanne shandy from a small producer whose reputation grows steadily. Hints of peach and apricot overlaid with nougat flavours and enough acidity to keep things interesting; enjoy in its own right or as a stepping stone to the same producer’s utterly brilliant Hermitage Blanc if you’ve got e42.99 to shell out.
Maison Nicolas Potel Bourgogne Pinot Noir, Vielles Vignes ‘La Maison Dieu’ 2002 . Celtic Whisky Shop, Dawson Street e15.99 Rating 16/20
Time was when a party was a function to which you took your bottle of Algerian rouge, parked it on the kitchen table then set out to find where the host kept his Lynch Bages. Nowadays we like to take something we’d be happy to drink ourselves. This red, from the eclectic collection assembled by the hardworking Ali Alpine is a Pommard tastealike from the brilliant 2002 vintage, black dessert cherries merge with raspberries and redcurrants in massive concentration. Joyous, singing wine, a treat, try and keep it away from the other guests.
Unité Chardonnay 2003 Selected independents e10.99 Rating 14/20
“You’re not gonna believe this, guys. Burgundy with a twist. See, it’s screw capped and, hey, there’s more – the grape variety is listed on the label!” Once the amazement dissipates your friends will be struck by the fact that this is actually quite good gear. Well worth the asking price with more than a splash of ripe, clean, non-cloying fruit. Don’t expect PC Chablis or cut-price Meursault. This is simply honest reliable drinking, light years better than most of the identikit new world tropical fruit buckets, for around the same outlay.
Chateau Saint Florin 2004 Bordeaux Rosé. EnoWine, Monkstown e10.95 Rating 13.5
Crisp, fragrant, delicate rosé. Abundant raspberry fruit makes this wine total pleasure on a warm afternoon; no food needed. Deftly sidesteps the bubblegum flavours that trip up so many budget rosés. Chill to a degree or so lower than you’d normally cool a white wine, open and pour, put your feet up, enjoy.