Food, wine, travel, music
World Malbec Day last week may have been a marketer’s creation but it generated interest in Irish wine writers who gathered in the Hilton hotel, Dublin, for a tasting. Organized by Jean Smullen, importers and producers joined in showing an impressive collection of wines. While Malbec was the main theme (and there was plenty of it on show), the white wines were the surprise of the day.
Torrontés was a new white grape type to me. Found in the north of the country, it thrives in the colder weather of the area. However, it taste quite warm as if grown in the sun with peachy overtones and a general fruitiness that is easy on the palate. The stars were La Linda which was complex and interesting with a fresh finish, ideal with rich seafood. Their Viognier and a well balanced Chardonnay were very good too. Imported by Searsons in Dublin.
Seeking representation in Ireland La Riojana (lariojanawines.com) had a deliciously fruity Torrontés which had a slight hint of sweetness which I fancied as an aperitif.
Bodegas Lurton, always worth watching out for, had an interestingly dry version with just enough fruit. Available from Febvre, fair value at about €15. Their rosé (rosado) had shades of Provence about it, perfect for seafood. This one is made from Malbec, Syrah and Bonarda (known as Charbono in Calfornia. Still don’t recognise it? Me neither). What it brings to the party is hard to know, but the blend works.
I loved the Torrontés from Domaine Bosquet and could picture it on a fine day in the sun before supper. Price between €12 and €15. Their rosé was worth a sip too. Imported by Tindal wines, this range is organic and all of the wines had a freshness often found in good organic and bio-dynamics. Their Malbec was my favourite of the tasting. These wines are also available from Mary Pawle Wines in Kenmare, a good source of organic wines.
Another good Torrontés came from Bodegas y Vinedos O.Fournier, Urban Uco Valle de Cafayete – Salta. Cafayete is a northern region including some desert, scarce rainfall and 230 frost free days a year. Salta refers to a wine region in the Colchaquies valley. Well made with a lovely fresh finish, a good buy for €13.95.
Another star of the tasting was an unoaked Chardonnay from Alpamanta Natal. A mineral depth gave it interest. In the €12-15 range, fair value for an interesting wine. Imported by Tindal.
A lightly oaked Chardonnay from Santa Julia is a Reserva was nicely balanced. Imported by Barry & Fitzwilliam €12-15.
The Sauvignon Blanc of the tasting came from Finca Sophenia. Fresh and light, the extra depth of flavour came from extra skin contact and I got that light minerality found often in Rieslings. I will try it with a fish pie soon. Imported by James Nicholson.
Another delicious Sauvignon tasting of fresh pineapple and maybe kiwi came from Vina Dona Paula. Ideal after a hard day’s work. Imported by Gleeson/Gilbey Wines €12-15.