The wine buff: Top 12 bottles to drink with guests this bank holiday weekend
Oh how I love bank holiday weekends, and this one seems like a double treat, coming so soon after Easter. If you're heading out in Dublin, Sophie's at The Dean has launched a new Italian Rooftop Terrace experience, Terrazza Peroni, which runs until June 17. Aperitivo Hour runs every evening between 5pm and 7.30pm, with complimentary Italian nibbles with every Peroni draught or bottle, Peroni Gluten Free or Peroni Libera. And each Wednesday, there will be Aperitivo masterclasses, contact email@example.com.
As ever, it's fingers crossed when it comes to the weather, but regardless, if you haven't started already, it really is the season for having people over.
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If you're thinking of cracking open a bottle of rosé, I've a few interesting options in today's line-up, in particular, a new one called, Rós, which as you probably know, is the Irish for rose. And yes, there is an Irish connection. The people behind this are Lynne Coyle, who is a Master of Wine and the wine director of O'Briens Wine, and winemaker Alicia Eyaralar from Tandem Winery in Navarra, Spain, who Lynne approached with the idea of making a wine together.
What has resulted, from what I'm sure was a very enjoyable and fascinating process, is a vegan-friendly wine that is made in a low intervention way, using wild yeast in a gravity-fed winery which minimises the level of handling required, and allows the wine to settle naturally. It's fresh and fruity, a perfect way to toast the summer. What's more, it's included in the O'Briens rosé summer promotion of buy one bottle and get the second half price.
If you want to try a whole range of rosés, and a lot more besides, O'Briens is holding its summer wine festival in Limerick on May 9 and in Dublin on May 10-11. There will be over 280 wines open for guests to try, with producers from New Zealand, Argentina, USA, France, Spain, and Italy attending, so you get to have a chat with the winemakers too. Tickets are €25 and include all wine samples, a handy book with all the wines and tasting notes, and a Tipperary crystal glass to take home. This year the event will be raising funds for Snowflake Autism Support. Tickets on sale in any O'Briens store or obrienswine.ie.
Rosé & Sparkling
Rós Rosé 2018
€16.95 (reduced to €12.71 when you buy 2), 13.5pc, O'Briens
Often, delicately coloured rosés can be a bit short on flavour, but Lynne Coyle's is silky, packed with ripe strawberry and red berry flavours, balanced with a fresh crispness.
Bastide Neuve Rosé Magnum
€21, 12.5pc, Dunnes Stores
There's nothing like the drama of cracking open a magnum, the equivalent of two bottles of wine, when you have friends over to visit, and this fresh rosé has soft flavours of redcurrants and watermelon.
Castellore Organico Organic Sparkling Rosé
€13.49, 11.5pc, Aldi
With a whisper of pink rose on the nose, this organic, vegan-friendly sparkling rosé is soft and ripe with raspberry, strawberry, redcurrant, touched with a hint of spice.
Le Cave Des Hautes-Cotes Crémant de Bourgogne
€15, 13pc, Marks & Spencer
Made in the traditional Champagne method from a blend of grapes that includes Pinot Noir, Aligoté, Gamay and Chardonnay, this is light and fruity with flavours of ripe lemon and a touch of pear. Lovely to drink as an aperitif or with a light starter.
Wine Foundry Avesso 2018
€8.49, 12.5pc, Aldi
With a cool label, which tells you about the grape and style of wine, this vinho verde from Portugal has a slight summery spritz, and crisp flavours of ripe apple, lemon and a touch of peach. Perfect for quaffing and a great way to kick off a meal.
XIC Xarel-lo Agustí Torelló Mata
€16-16.50, 11pc, 64 Wine, Green Man Wines, Sheridan's, Lettercollum Kitchen Project, Ashes of Annascaul, siyps.ie
Xarel-lo, used in Cava, is hugely on trend and this has fresh flavours of apple and peach with a crisp note of grapefruit and a brush of chalk.
Sancerre Ruette 2017
€19, 13pc, Marks & Spencer
A French Sauvignon Blanc to sip on its own or serve with fish, this has a fuller flavour than you normally get from the cool Loire region, with ripe lemon, thyme, and a silky texture balanced with a touch of minerality.
Rijckaert Arbois Chardonnay 2016
€25, 13pc, Green Man Wines, Corkscrew, Martin's Off Licence
Beautiful with a roast chicken, this Jura wine has a floral almost fuchsia nose, underpinned by savoury notes of artichoke and lime. The palate is silky with flavours of fleshy pear and lemon, and touches of cloves and spice on the finish.
Wild Flower Pinot Noir
€9, (from €13.95), 12.5pc, O'Briens
With vibrant juicy raspberries, redcurrants and cherries on the nose, this summery Pinot Noir from Romania is light on the palate and would work well as a lunch time wine, or serve chilled with starters of charcuterie or a caprese salad.
The Fire Tree Sicilian Riserva €9.99, 14pc from Aldi If you're firing up the barbecue, this robust Sicilian red which is packed with ripe red fruit, rich meaty flavours and a touch of liquorice is just the thing to have with steak or burgers.
Xisto Ilimitado Tinto 2016
€23, 12pc, Baggot Street Wines, Ely 64 Wines, Blackrock Cellar, Drinkstore, Green Man Wines, Lilac Wines, Lilliput Stores, Martin's off Licence, On The Grapevine, The Parting Glass
A wild ferment red wine made by Louis Seabra, one of Portugal's top wine makers, this blend of indigenous grapes has bright flavours of red berries, red cherry and pomegranate and a touch of stony minerality.
Fedellos do Couto, Lomba dos Ares 2016
€30, 12.5pc, Green Man Wines, 64 Wine, Loose Canon
'Fedellos' means 'brats' in Galician, which perfectly reflects the spirit of the three winemakers behind this low intervention wine from Ribeira Sacra. Made from a field blend of grapes it is textured with an intense concentration of red fruit over a dark core.