My Highlights From the SuperValu and Lidl Autumn Wine Sales
which first appeared in the Irish Mail on Sunday
La Petite Perrière Sauvignon Blanc 2015
Sauvignon Blanc is all the rage, the white house wine of the chattering classes and, frankly, I find a lot of it dull. Not so with this one which is refreshingly French (i.e. not pungently Kiwiesque), fresh and light. Just the ticket if we have an Indian summer. Don’t expect the minerality of Sancerre but it’s very decent grog and a lovely partner for fresh goat’s cheese with some green salad.
Chateau Camp de la Hire 2010
Deliciously Merloty claret from the Cotes de Castillon and surprisingly well stuffed with ripe fruit both for Bordeaux and especially for the price. This is not a wine to keep as, at six years old, it’s on the brink of fading away. However, for the next few months it’s a silky, plump, quite concentrated wine with a bit of character. The tannins are there behind the fruit, giving a certain grip.
Chateau La Baronnerie 2010
Another representative of the exceptional 2010 vintage with all the ripeness and roundness that this suggests plus the kind of structure that you would expect from a decent and much more expensive Saint-Emillion. Mainly Merlot, delightfully fragrant (a kind of alcoholic fruit cake) and subtly oaked with firm but round tannins behind the swathes of fruit. It will be fine for another two to three years. Great with rare roast beef.
So far south in the Rhone that we’re almost in Provence but the style is something like one of the softer, more approachable Chateauneuf du Papes which is remarkable considering this sale price. It’s from a producer better known, in fact, for their Chateauneuf du Pape and is made from the usual suspects: Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. Youthful, fruity with a cherry/damson character and a touch of pepper. Perfect with pink lamb.
Bastide Miraflors 2014
€60/6 bottles, SuperValu
The idea of doing a case deal like this in a wine sale is rather attractive but you need to know what you’re getting. It’s from Domaine Lafage in the Cotes du Roussillon, made from 70% Grenache, 30% Syrah, given a 6 week maceration and a year ageing in tanks. Deep purple, almost inky, it has a nose of ripe bramble fruit with a touch of spice, very easy to drink but with good concentration and a decent finish.
Alsace Sylvaner Vieilles Vignes 2015
Sylvaner is not the grape that immediately springs to mind when we think of Alsace, that land of Riesling and Gewurztraminer. Sylvaner is the Alsatian workhorse grape and it can be very dull. However, this example is delicious in a simple, straightforward way: beautifully fresh and exceptionally dry (there’s 4g of residual sugar per litre, so here’s a wine that will work on your low carb diet!) Lovely aperitif.
Domaine Saint Prix Saint-Bris Sauvignon 2015
I often wonder if, when I next turn on the kitchen tap, Sauvignon Blanc will cascade from it. It’s everywhere, these days, just like Chardonnay in the 1990s. But this one has a twist in that it’s from the land of Chardonnay, Burgundy. Very much a cool climate wine it’s crisp and tart with a lovely, pungent nose of crushed nettles and a mineral tang on the finish. Better than many a Sancerre.
Domaine Mignot Fleurie 2015
Gloriously seductive red wine! The colour is deep, vibrant purple, the nose is perfumed, the bouncy, voluptuous fruit is all about raspberries, there’s racy acidity and very little in the way of tannin. So it’s Gamay being Gamay in the proper Fleurie style, i.e. not getting the structured notions of, say, a Moulin a Vent. It’s fragrant and fun and eminently quaffable, the kind of thing that could be drunk from tumblers with saucisson.
Les Chanussots Bourgogne Hautes-Cotes-de-Nuits 2014
To find anything from Burgundy at a bargain price is always exciting but the experience is generally fraught with disappointment. Here’s a very pleasant exception but don’t expect fleshy fruit and seduction. This is Pinot Noir. This is Burgundy, and it’s at the lower end. However, it has a fragrant nose when it opens up, lovely pure fruit and a tart, acidic backbone and a decent finish.
Chateau de la Dauphine Fronsac 2011
Fronsac may not be on a par with Pauillac or Margaux over in the the Haut-Medoc but this wine is crafted with the kind of low-yield fruit and hands-on care that you get in the top properties of Bordeaux. Mainly Merlot, it’s ripe, round, silky and very dark, profound, complex and long. It’s also perfectly ready to drink at only five years old but will keep and evolve, especially on the nose, for up to five again.
And two from the Irish Daily Mail...
Chateau Lalande Mausse 2013
The Lidl French wine sale is back and with it comes this chunky and rather classic claret for a tenner. It’s from Fronsac so the dominant grape is Merlot and the style is savoury and food-friendly. A bargain.
Riesling Grand Cru Altenberg de Bergbeiten
A serious white wine from one Alsace’s most impressive co-ops this has the honeyed fruit we expect from the grands crus vineyards but the finish is as a dry as a bone. Lovely length.