If you've been catching up with friends and family on Zoom, chances are you've had a glass of wine in your hand. So why not take things one step further and do a virtual wine tasting? Tune into Wines Direct on Facebook on Fridays at 6pm, and you'll catch Gareth and Gavin Keogh talking through some of their wines and answering questions. They'll be announcing the wines to be featured on Tuesdays, so you can order the bottles in advance from winesdirect.ie.
I've mentioned before about Michelle Lawlor, who runs virtual wine tastings on Wednesdays and Fridays at 8.30pm on Nude Wine TV on Instagram. You can order the drink in a box of three wines for around €50, depending on what's featured, at thenudewineco.ie. Also doing wine tastings on Instagram Live is Sevgi Tüzel-Conghaile, the Turkish oenologist behind 'A Wine Idea' in Galway.
Taking a slightly different approach is Lynda Coogan of Wine Tasting Ireland, who has developed an online wine education programme. It's a series of stand-alone courses with easy-to-follow tutorials, delivered through a combination of e-books and videos. Each course is €29. She is also doing tutored wine tastings on two Saturdays, May 9 and 16, at 8pm, and the six-bottle case of featured wines is on offer for €145 (reduced from €180) by emailing email@example.com quoting 'Independent'.
Master of Wine Harriet Tindal is hosting a 30-minute 'Lockdown Wine Time' on @searsonswine on Instagram Live each Thursday at 7pm. If you want to drink along while you learn, you can order the wines that will be featured from searsons.com. There's a six-bottle selection for €92, reduced from €108. Each week, Harriet will open two of the wines during each show, and special guests will be brought into the discussion weekly. These guests will remain a surprise until the week before.
Harriet has also made a number of videos for Instagram, featuring different wines, including Tignanello, much loved by Meghan Markle, which we have featured today. If you want to learn more about Meghan's favourite 'Tig', check out Emirates on YouTube which now has the onboard wine channel, with tutorials on this and other iconic wines which they serve in First Class. You may need your oxygen mask to drop down when you see the price, but it's certainly a cheaper way to get a taste of the high life from the comfort of your home.
For virtual tastings of whiskey, Seáneen Sullivan of L Mulligan Grocer will be hosting a 'Spey At Home' Speyside Whisky tasting and a Mistresses of Malt tasting on Instagram. And if you want to dive into the wonderful world of cider, @theciderologist has a world tasting on Instagram Live today at 8pm. For the best selection of Irish cider online, check out theapplefarm.com.
That should keep you busy while you sip and learn for the next few weeks, and for today's line-up I'm featuring some more unusual wines, so that you can try something different this bank holiday weekend.
Wine of the week
Greywacke Wild Ferment Sauvignon Blanc 2017
€34.99, 14pc, from The Corkscrew, Clontarf Wines, Blackrock Cellar, Whelehan's, Mitchell's, 64 Wine, Dublin; Ely Wine Store, Maynooth; wineonline.ie; and O'Briens
Yesterday was international Sauvignon Blanc day, and while you may think you know New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc inside out, with its bright flavours of lifted passionfruit, citrus and gooseberry, this one is worth trying for something different. With a distinctly flinty note, this wild yeast, barrel-fermented Sauvignon Blanc is beautifully precise and textural with flavours of apple, lime, chamomile and a touch of fennel. Made by Kevin Judd, the winemaker behind New Zealand's most famous wine, Cloudy Bay, this alternative style is intricate, with the use of old French barriques adding complexity without any oak flavours.
José Pariente Verdejo
€17.40, 13pc, from winesdirect.ie
If you like crisp white wines, it’s well worth exploring the whites of Rueda made from the Verdejo grape. Lively and mineral, this has flavours of green herbs with fresh citrus, grapefruit pith and a touch of pepper on the finish.
Meinklang ‘Prosa’ Pinot Noir Rosé Frizzante 2019
€20, 10.5pc, from greenmanwines.ie, Nelly’s, Blackrock Cellar, The Wine Pair, Sheridan’s Dublin, Meath, and Galway
From Austria, this lightly sparkling, biodynamic rosé has a crown cap, and is a blend of Pinot Noir, Zweigelt and Blaufränkisch. Delicious flavours of strawberry and fresh red fruit make it the perfect summer aperiti
Goats do Roam 2018
€12.95, reduced from €15.95, from O’Briens and obrienswine.ie
From the Fairview Estate in South Africa, this is similar to the blends you’ll find in southern France with Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Petite Sirah, Cinsault, and Carignan. With bright flavours of blueberry, plums, black pepper and a touch of chocolate, it goes great with barbecued meat.
€115, 14pc from Searson’s, Terroir, Gibney’s, Corkscrew, and Higgins
An iconic wine from Chianti for a really special occasion, and Meghan Markle’s favourite, Tignanello is a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet and Cabernet Franc, bringing an intensity of red and black fruit with aromas of plums, cherries and crushed rocks.
Online offers include greenmanwines.ie's 'Six of the Best' case with tasting notes for €110. The Corkscrew Bank 'Holiday Lockdown' case is €135. They are also stocking the 'Wine Mason's Critics Case' which is also available from Blackrock Cellar. Wines Direct have a 'Not the Usual Suspects' case of six bottles for €130. Stationtostationwine.ie has a food-matching case of six for €115; and thenudewineco.ie has a 'Taste of Italy' six-bottle case for €128.