Fancy a drink this weekend?

Wine expert Tomás Clancy reviews some Italian and French vintages...

Tomás Clancy joins Sean Moncrieff for this week's Movies & Booze. Today he reviews an Italian gem and a French white from the Loire region...


Azienda Agricola Conte Loredan Gasparini, DOC Montello, Veneto, Italy 2014

Pricing : around €17.25

Available : Karwig Wines, Carrigaline, County Cork; selected independent Off Licences and wine shops and nationwide at karwigwines.ie

Only in Italy can you really come across a hidden gem like this in Europe, where really superb land has been known about, written about and owned by a few elite folk but never spilled out into awareness beyond that happy circle.


The winery here was founded in its modern form in the 1940s but was physically first founded in the 1590s and of course by the Doge of Venice, its supreme leader during its most powerful period. His direct descendant Count Leonardo Loredan was the modern re-founder utilising the estates magnificent Palladian Villa, a model for First Classed Growth Margaux which can be seen on the front label here as its base.


The soils form what is known as the Monetloo Riviera, now its own DOC or Italian AC and siutting just 50 miles north of Venice this is a warm climate Cabernet Sauvignon with a rush of spicy, fragrant heat in its initial aroma then a soft , luscious solidly ripe mid palate, add in glossy toasty sweet vanilla and caramel touches from partial oak ageing and you have a really opulent and easy drinking Cabernet and a very attractive price.


It will not appeal to those seeking savoury restraint but for the summer and with meaty barbecues, char grilled vegetables and cool hard cheese this is a very fine new option.


Jean Max Roger Les Petit Clos, AC Menetou Salon, Loire 2014

Pricing : around €21.55

Available : Karwig Wines, Carrigaline, County Cork; selected independent Off Licences and wine shops and nationwide at karwigwines.ie

So many of us are on a happy never ending adventure to try and find the next great and importantly, well priced Sauvignon Blanc that it is a catgegory that has defied the usual roller coaster of rising and falling fashion.


After 10 years of predicting t hat surely we have reached peak interest in Sauvignon Blanc and with its availability across the entire planet in every corner of the globe now a fact that seemed a fair bet.
It was wrong.


The truth is we wine lovers love the under lying styles in several fashions that travel under the name or Sauvignon Blanc. That is the secret. Sauvignon Blanc is not a grape or a varietal, it is now, an entire category. We have wine lovers who are enamoured of green, bell pepper like South African Sauvignon Blanc, or deeply devoted to lemon tinged, mineral cool climate Chile Sauvignon Blanc.


While of course a vast army are standing by ready to defend the values and virtues of New Zealand’s Tropical Fruit cocktail profile along with its often painfully searing acidity.


Meanwhile back in France’s Loire, the home of Sauvignon Blanc, the flinty Pouilly Fume and the Lean cut grass cut of Sancerre are so popular that prices have become prohibitive allowing the vast AC Touranine region to pick up the well priced slack.


If you want a half way house, physically closer and very similar to Sancerre and unfortunately a little pricier than Touraine then, AC Mentou-Salon, just yards from the Sancere commune is for you.


Here it is produced by leading Sancerre producer the Roger family who have been making Sancerre and working with Sauvignon Blanc since the 1600s. It is a cool, clean, tight and mineral tinged delight perfect again for fish and less balsamic orientated salads, ideally with goats cheese, salmon or chicken.