Jean Smullen reviews a seriously posh prosecco and a super summer cocktail made from white port
Jean Smullen reviews wines for summer drinking today including a posh Prosecco and a super summer cocktail made from white Port.
Now that the dog days of summer are here and we languish in the heat (yes heat!) its all about outdoor living and inviting people to sit in the garden and enjoy the fine weather. What better way to celebrate than with bubbles or a wine cocktail with a difference!
Valdo Floral Prosecco 2016 €19.99 (on special offer – normally €25.00)
This is a seriously posh Prosecco with a very distinctive bottle. What’s inside isn’t half bad either. The artwork was designed fashion-craftsman of colour, Fabrizio Sclavi, a fashion reporter, fashion editor, and the editor of important fashion magazines in Italy where he describes fashion trends and through his illustrations. Valdo, a Prosecco house, was born in 1926 in Valdobbiadene, in the Province of Treviso and this specially designed bottle, launched at fashion week in Milan was commissioned to celebrate Valdo’s 90th anniversary.
We all love bubbles, Prosecco is a light fresh sparkling wine, low in alcohol and intensely aromatic. The DOC is for a dry white wine labelled Tranquille (still), or for the sparkling wines labelled either Gentile or Frizzante (slightly sparkling) or Spumante (fully sparkling).
The driest wines are labelled brut, and the sweeter ones "extra dry". Prosecco is best-drunk young and should be served well chilled, in flute glasses. Prosecco used to be both the name of the grape and the wine but in 2009 the wine laws of the region were changed and the grape is now known as Glera.
The wine is made sparkling using the cuve close (or tank) method whereby the second fermentation takes place in a large tank prior to filtration and bottling under pressure. The DOC applies to the region, which runs 33km from the town of Congegliano to the picturesque village of Valdiobbiandene in the Treviso province of Veneto.
Stockists: Dublin: Coolers, Swords; The Lord Mayor’s Pub, Swords; Gerry’s Supermarket, Skerries
Nolan’s Supermarket, Clontarf; Martin’s Off Licence, Fairview; Donnybrook Fair Group; Caviston’s, Glasthule; On the Grapevine, Dalkey; Nectar Wines, Sandyford; Molloy Liquor Store – Liberties, Clondalkin, Nutgrove, Clonsilla and Leopardstown.
Leinster: La Touche Wines 4U, Greystones; Egan’s Off Licence, Portlaoise; Gerry’s Supermarket, Drogheda; The Wine Well, Dunboyne; The Wine Centre, Kilkenny
Connaught: Morton’s Galway; Joyce’s Supermarket Athenry, Knocknacarra and Headford, Co Galway
Salmon’s Department Store, Ballinasloe
Munster: O’Donovan’s Off Licence Group, Cork; 1601 Off Licence, Kinsale
Kingdom Food and Wine Store, Tralee; O’Sullivan’s Delicatessen, Tralee and Killarney; O’Driscolls Off Licence, Caherciveen; Whyte’s Centra, Kenmare.
Fine White Port €18.00
Fentiman’s Botanically brewed Natural Light Tonic Water €1.40 per bottle (200 ml) – sold in units of 4
This cocktail is made from a fortified wine, a wine style you would not expect to associate with a wine cocktail, Port. Port originated in Portugal on the steep slopes of the Douro region. The vineyards can be found perched high above the River Douro. Port falls into three categories, white, bottle matured red and cask matured red.
White Port is made much in the same as red except they use white grapes. The wines are wood aged which lends the distinctive character to white port, turning it gold in colour and giving it a distinctive nutty flavour.
Warre's, founded in 1670, was the first British Port company established in Portugal its history is synonymous with Port.
Warre’s Fine White is produced from traditional white grape varieties from the Douro Region.
The fermentation takes place off the skins in order to produce a more delicate style of wine. Ageing takes place in Vila Nova de Gaia in a combination of oak casks and stainless steel tanks.
White Port Cocktail
A favourite aperitif in Portugal is white port mixed with tonic and dressed with mint leaves. It is a very refreshing and unique cocktail.
Posh tonic water is another big “on trend” beverage. Now that Gin has become uber fashionable and lots of Irish companies are producing their own specially distilled versions, the consumer is looking for better quality tonics with distinctive flavours to match with these.
Fentiman’s was founded in 1905 in the UK and have been making botanically brewed beverages for over 100 years. This tonic water is made with a blend of herbal infusions and lemongrass extract which creates a refreshing and unique tonic water.
Port Stockists: Devenney’s Dundrum; On the Grapevine, Dalkey; Kelly’s Wine Vault, Clontarf; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock; O’Donovan’s Off Licences, Cork; 1601, Kinsale.
Tonic: Widely available in independent off licences
Wine Diary: For details of upcoming wine events go to the wine diary on www.jeansmullen.com