Monday 11 December 2017

Wine... A bouquet of floral dry whites

Dry whites bring the garden into the home, no matter what the weather
Dry whites bring the garden into the home, no matter what the weather
Curatolo Arini Zibibb
Chakana Torrontes
Vina Laguna Muskat Zu
Amaru Torrontes
Grand Veneur
Cazes 1 Le Canon
Marks & Spencer Valpollicella

Liam Campbell

Aromatic and dry white wines are well suited to the Irish weather where the monotony of sunny days never becomes a boring certainty. The fragrance of luscious ripe nectarines and freshly peeled grapes shared by varieties Viognier, Torrontés and Muscat helps bring the garden into the home whatever the weather.

Muscat is one of the oldest grape varieties. From North Africa's ancient Egypt, it spread throughout Europe by the empire-building Romans. Muscat has a huge number of name variations (including Zibibbo in Italy) and derivatives (eg. Argentina's Torrontés) with skins coloured green, yellow, red and black producing white, rosé and red perfumed wines. Here are the dry whites which came out top of our taste test.

1) Zibibbo 2013, Curatolo Arini, Terre Siciliane, Italy 12.5pc

This feminine Sicilian delivers pure pleasure with the fragrance and flavours of orange zest and rose water. Serve with Persian saffron chicken topped with orange zest, pistachios and pomegranate.

€24.99 in Dublin at Jus De Vine, Portmarnock; Green Man Wines, Terenure and The Corkscrew, Chatham Street

2) Torrontés 2013, Chakana, Argentina 14.5pc

Classic grapey and musky aromas followed on the dry and full-bodied palate by luscious grape flavours. Enjoy with stir-fried pork with broccoli and cashews. €12.99-€13.99 from J&C Kenny at Shannon Knights, Shannon; No. 21 off-licences Group: Waterford, Carrick-on-Suir, Midleton, Charleville, Blarney, Ballincollig and Coburg Street Cork and Walsh's Spar, Dungarvan. In Dublin, Gibney's, Malahide and Hole in the Wall, Blackhorse Avenue

3) Muskat Zuti 2013, Vina Laguna, Istre Region, Hrvatska (Croatia) 11.5pc

Delicate aromas of fresh grapes. Medium-dry with fruity grape flavours, light bodied in alcohol and a long honeyed finish. Finish a meal with hard cheese and dried fruits.

€15.95-€16.95 in Dublin at Donnybrook Fair and at Gibney's, Malahide; Clontarf Wines and Hole in the Wall, Blackhorse Avenue

4) Torrontés 2013, Amaru, Valles Calchaquies, Argentina 13.5pc

Muted in aroma but with a depth of fresh grape flavours and well balanced by moderate acidity and alcohol. Serve with a salad topped with discs of black pudding and goat's cheese.

€15.99 at Ardkeen Foodstore, Waterford; No. 21 off-licence, Charleville and Stack's, Listowel

5) Grand Veneur Réserve 2014, Alain Jaume & Fils, Cotes du Rhone, France 13pc

The subdued aromas do not prepare for the assertive and delicious honeyed rich and ripe apricot and peach palate. Experiment with skewers of chicken and mango glazed with red curry and peanut sauce.

€15.99 at Mitchell & Son, CHQ Building, IFSC and Glasthule

6) Muscat Viognier 2013, Le Canon du Marechal, Domaine Cazes, Cotes Catalanes, France 13pc

Floral, musky scents of white lilies with honey. Dry and intense palate with ripe apricots and a jasmine floral note. Moderate acidity and long perfumed finish. Savour with melon and prosciutto.

€17.99 at

Tasting notes

Join Wines of Chile for a consumer tasting evening on Tuesday 15 September at the RHA Gallery, Ely Place, D2. The event runs from 6.30pm-8.30pm. Tickets are €15 and available from Jean Smullen on 086 816 8468 or

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