Special Tasting: Zippy drinking for summer

Helen Coburn highlights refreshing summer options that deliver value for money



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15 May 2015

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In gathering the wines for this tasting, we noticed that it’s increasingly difficult to find really good bottles under €10. In terms of value, it really pays for customers to trade up to better wines, because now, more than ever, the proportion of the cost that goes in tax gets less as the price point of the bottle goes up. It’s time, perhaps, to drink less but better.

So, in putting together this list of lively summer wines, we’ve gone strongly for wines that deliver value rather than those that are simply cheap. Each is a good wine in its category, and all are weighty enough to drink well with food. We’ve looked for a bit of zestiness in the styles, so that they are refreshing on summer evenings, and also work as aperitifs.

Most of these wines are best drunk young, so look for the latest vintages. Aged riesling is fine, of course, but sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio and viognier can start to fade after a couple of years. Gruner veltliner is the classic Austrian white grape but there are now quite a few New Zealand examples; like other crisp whites, it’s generally best when young, but premium wines can take a couple of years to age.

Prices are retail.

McGuigans Black Label Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (Barry Fitzwilliam €11). Good value, easy going sauvignon with tasty apple fruits.

Castillo de Molina Sauvignon Blanc Chile 2014 (Dunnes Stores, €12). Fine varietal correctness, with grassiness held in check, delicious green fruit and good alcohol balance. Great value.

Santa Helena Vernus Sauvignon Blanc Chile 2014 (Spar, Mace €14). Refreshing lime cordial style with decent length.

hunters sauvignon no dateHunters JH Logo 2009 HRHunters Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough  NZ  2014 (Gleeson €19). If you really want to impress the sauvignon blanc lover in your life, treat them to this. Very classic, in the manner of France’s Touraine, with fresh green fruit and good intensity and length. Delivers on its price.

Goulaine Sauvignon Blanc Touraine France 2013 (Cassidy, independents, some multiples €17). Decent, ripe gooseberry and apple fruit. Also from Loire Valley but from a slightly warmer region than Sancerre.

Tim Adams Clare Riesling Australia 2013 (Tesco €15). Diesel notes are restrained in an elegant wine, with crisp green fruit and tasty, intense finish.

Villa Maria Private Bin Marlborough Riesling NZ (Barry Fitzwilliam, independents, multiples €14). Decent dry style, with firm green and citrus fruit; good value.

Schloss Schonborn Riesling Trocken Germany 2013 (O’Briens €16.50). Dry style with well defined green apple and citrus fruit.

Yealands Gruner Veltliner Marlborough NZ 2014 (Greenlea Wines, independents, some multiples €19). A tiny proportion of this is barrel fermented but this doesn’t undermine the character of this well balanced Riesling. Great with cold suppers and white meats.

Sepp Moser Gruner Veltliner Austria 2013 (Febvre, independents, €16). Decent power and weight combines with tasty green fruit to create a fine food wine and not just an aperitif. Lovely with pork.

Yalumba Viognier Australia 2013 (Cassidys, independents, some multiples €11.50). Citrus fruits rounded out with notes of peach and apricot. Great with roast turkey and chicken.

Rizzardi Pinot Grigio Italy 2013 (O’Briens €10.49). This was on special offer when tasted and offered very good value at this price. Decent weight and character for the money.

La Giustiniana Gavi Italy 2013 (Liberty, independents €20). I can never quite understand why so many are willing to pay so much for this fashionable, but often bland, wine style, based on the cortese grape. La Giustiniana is the best, though, so one can make an exception here, as it offers considerable elegance and decent weight for the money.



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