MOVIES & BOOZE: Some wines for your Easter break

Jean Smullen reviews 2015 Lawson’s Dry Hills Sauvignon Blanc and 2015 De Martino Gallardia Cinsault

Today we’re going to look at some wines for Easter. Traditionally most families will enjoy roast lamb at Easter weekend, though nowadays turkey is also served. Whatever you are planning this Easter we hope that this Friday’s wine choice will match your menu!

2015 Lawson’s Dry Hills Sauvignon Blanc €15.99
Stockists: Greenman Wines, Terenure, Dublin. 6; Higgins in Clonskeagh, Dublin 14; Blackrock Cellar, Co Dublin; Kelly’s Wine Vault, Clontarf, Dublin 3; Fresh Supermarkets IFSC, Dublin 1; Grand Canal Square, Dublin 4; Smithfield, Dublin 7 and Camden Street, Dublin 2. Also available in Cashel Wine Cellar, Co Tipperary: The Winehouse, Trim, Co Meath and Morton’s of Galway City.

I first met Barbara Lawson and her late husband Ross about 16 years ago when they came to Ireland to give a talk about screwcaps. They were pioneers in terms of leading what was then considered to be a pioneering movement regarding wine closure options.

Ross sadly died almost a decade ago, but Barbara continued to fly the flag until relatively recently, when she became semi-retired.

Lawson’s Dry Hills is a family estate in the Marlborough region. Their winery is close to the town of Blenheim. This is premium quality Marlborough wine. They have a range of varietals on offer but their Sauvignon Blanc is stand out.

The 2015 was an IWC Silver Medal winner and this wine epitomises what is so appealing about New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. With fresh tomato leaf aromas on the nose the wine has a lovely fresh acidity and a lovely grassy edge with lovely citrus fruit with tropical notes showing through.

What a great wine to serve with any sort of shellfish starter or fish main course.

2015 De Martino Gallardia Cinsault €19.95 on offer this Easter at €16.95
Stockists: Greenman Wines, Terenure, Dublin. 6; Higgins in Clonskeagh, Dublin 14; Blackrock Cellar, Co Dublin; Kelly’s Wine Vault, Clontarf, Dublin 3; Fresh Supermarkets IFSC, Dublin 1; Grand Canal Square, Dublin 4; Smithfield, Dublin 7 and Camden Street, Dublin 2. Also available in Cashel Wine Cellar, Co Tipperary: The Winehouse, Trim, Co Meath and Morton’s of Galway City.

The Irish love Chilean wines, almost one in every four wines sold in Ireland comes from Chile.

A company known for showcasing Chile’s diversity is the family owned De Martino winery. De Martino is an innovative company. Terroir- hunters, they have scoured Chile in pursuit of site specific vineyards best suited to specific grape varieties. Their winemaker Marcelo Retamal was named the 13th most influential winemaker in the world and the best in Latin America by Decanter Magazine in June 2015.

De Martino’s vision of “Reinventing Chile” has transformed the company. De Martino was the leader in the development of Carmenère which has since become Chile’s flagship variety. De Martino’s commitment to Chile’s wine history, has led Retamal to rediscover vines and lost ‘terroirs’ in a veritable crusade known as ‘Discovering Chile’ first which was first initiated in 1996.

One such winery of note is Gallardia del Itata where vineyards are densely planted in the Itata Valley more than 500km south of Santiago where the bush vines are ungrafted and where fermentation takes place naturally in century old Amphora.

The harmonisation of good food and wine is a central philosophy and this has led De Martino to harvest earlier in order to manage the alcohol level of their wines.

This Cinsaut is a marvellous example of the developments and innovation currently taking place in Chile. This is cutting edge stuff and is what is making Chile so exciting at the moment.

Cinsault is a thin skinned grape; it gives wine that is quite perfumed and floral. A native of the South of France it is usually blended with Grenache and either Carignan or Mourvèdre there.

This is a single varietal old vine Cinsault. In Chile these grapes were planted many years ago and were used to make the base wine that is distilled into Pisco, Chile’s native spirit drink.

Today, many wineries are recognising the sheer class of still wine produced from these very old vines. These old vines from small estates to the South of the Chilean winelands are now very much sought after.

As globally the younger wine enthusiast is keen to seek out new wine styles and grape with a point of difference this wine style is now very much sought after.

Perfect to serve with any sort of meat dish this Easter but especially with roast rack of lamb and rosemary.

For wine events, check out the new look wine diary website launching this weekend. www.jeansmullen.com

LOTS of great consumer wine events now on offer for April, May and June. Details are in the diary.