Fashion by its very nature is a fickle thing. Just as hemlines go up and down and ties and lapels widen and narrow so wines come in and out of fashion. All my recommendations this week are wines (or wine styles) that were easily found in Ireland in the 1990s and are now fashionable once more (or at least they are in my house!). It is true that Rioja never really went out of style but there was a period in the late 1990s and early 2000s when they began to price themselves out of the market. The fame of the region simply went to the producers’ heads and they began building wineries that look more like art galleries blended with cathedrals. Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid and Santiago Calitrava were employed (at respectively Marqués de Riscal, López de Heredia Viña Tondonia and Bodegas Ysios) and their creations are stunning (if not always practical – Calitrava’s roof leaked). The Rioja mentioned was never showy and is now with Liberty Wines so you will begin to see it more frequently. My other throwbacks this week are two Cõtes de Gascogne, a Dão from Portugal and a Muscadet and a Vouvray from the Loire. There were hardly any New World wines in Ireland in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s so these wines offered value and punched a little above their price points. I visited Gascony on holidays in the early ‘90s specifically so that I could buy fresh crisp white wines from places like the Plaimont Co-Op (Molloy’s still stock their Colombelle Gascogne IGP). Muscadet and its Italian equivalents Soave, Frascati and Orvieto were soon replaced by fleshy Chardonnays from Australia and Sauvignon Blancs from Chile and New Zealand. Soave and Muscadet are making a deserved comeback now because the wines are much improved and they offer elegance and value and a welcome lightness of touch. Portugal has been on a roll in recent years as it competes so well at the cheaper price points but Dão remains a bit of a secret. The sleek modern styles of the Douro and the fruit-driven fleshy wines of Lisboa and Alentejo are what usually appear here but Dão (and Bairrada) have their place too, even if they sometimes seem a tiny bit rustic in comparison. So I hope you enjoy these throwback wines, not all are completely fashionable again but I’m determined that they will be soon!