All- purpose reds
A further look at ‘ wet Wednesday’ treats – reliable winter wines
This week another look at what I call wet Wednesday wines; red wines, this being winter, that you don’t have to think about too much, but will cheer you up and make a mid- week dinner taste that little bit better. Last Saturday I covered the multiples; today, our independent wine shops and off- licences.
The problem with independents is they are so, well, independent. Each has their own individual way of working and their own favourite wines that obviously work for their customers too. It makes for a fascinating range of wines, usually hand- picked bottles with real character, but sadly too often not available anywhere else in the country.
Our independent wine shops have changed; while some off- licences remain resolutely traditional, many of the wine retailers now stock a more quirky, eclectic range of wines. Quite a few of them morph into wine bars at certain times of the day or night as well.
For this week’s wines, I contacted 10 wine shops and off- licences around the country and then added in a few of my own current favourites. Most of the responses included a handful of Italian reds, a Nero d’Avola from Sicily, a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo or a Valpolicella. All of these tick boxes. If you ever find yourself in a restaurant not knowing what wine to pick, these are fairly reliable all- purpose reds that will cover just about everything on the menu. Every region of Italy has a local quaffing wine. In days past, they were drunk instead of water, often at every meal. With modern winemaking, most taste a lot better than 20 years ago.
If I ever opened a bistro or restaurant, all of these wines would be in the running for my house wines. They are fruity, crowd- pleasing wines that go perfectly with most dishes. Gabriel Cooney of Grapevine in Dalkey put it nicely when talking about his Poggerissi below; it is a wine to drink when you can’t decide what you want – simple, approachable, great value and hits the spot every time.
The wines below are all ¤ 12- 13, possibly more than you normally pay for your midweek wine. However, you should notice a big jump in quality compared to a bottle costing ¤ 8- 10. The winemaker is probably getting 50 per cent or more for a wine at this price.
SIYPS, which stands for sommeliers in your pockets, is a newly created online site where you can buy wines selected by a team of experienced sommeliers. Check out siyps. com. While on the subject of innovative wine retailers, a big shout out for Dave Gallagher and his team in Green Man Wines in Terenure for their Best Wine Award from Georgina Campbell.
Madregale 2016, Rosso Terre di Chieti, 12.5%, ¤ 11.95 Light fresh juicy cherry fruits and no tannins. There isn’t really much more to say. Very good simple everyday drinking and great value for money. Stockists: Avoca; Blackrock Cellars; Fallon & Byrne; Le Caveau; Listons; MacGuinness Wines; Green Man Wines; World Wide Wines.
Poggerissi Rosso 2016, Rosso di Toscana, 13%, ¤ 11.95 A glassful of smooth supple juicy ripe cherry fruits. A steal.
Stockists: Grapevine; Liston’s; Poppy Seed and Morton’s, Galway; Cabot & Co., Westport.
Ciello Rosso Nero d’Avola 2016, IGT Terre Siciliane, 12.5%, ¤ 12.95 Light and fresh with dark plum fruits and a tannin- free finish. Stockists: Le Caveau; Baggot Street Wines; The Garden Shop ( Ballymaloe); Blackrock Cellars; Bradleys; The Corkscrew; Fallon & Byrne; Listons; Green Man Wines; 64 Wines; World Wide Wines.
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2015 Le Salare, Fratelli Barba, 12%, ¤ 12.95- 13.50 Light refreshing toothsome damsons, with subtle spice and a soft finish. Stockists: Sheridans Cheesemongers ( all shops): Lettercollum Kitchen Project: Clontarf Wines.