Tomas Clancy, Wine & Spirits Correspondent has some corkers for you
Do you like wine? I like wine. Sean likes wine. Tomas likes wine.
Here's some nice wine.
Las Rocas, Vinas Viejas de San Alejandro, Old Vine Garnacha, DO Calatayud, Spain 2013
Pricing : around €23
Available : Donnybrook Fair , branches throughout Leinster; Sweeneys of Glasnevin; Hollands of Bray; O’Donovan’s Wines, throughout Munster and selected independent Off Licences and wines hops nationwide
The Granacha grape is an often overlooked jewel. It travels under the name Grenache in France in both the Rhone valley and the Languedoc where it most famously is a main component of both the hugely popular, expensive and iconic wines of Chateauneuf Du Pape as well as the hipper and slightly less expensive wines of Gigondas.
In Spain it is known as Garnacha, but studies have show, that Grenache and Garnacha are genetically the same plant. So dark, luscious, quite tannic and highly spicy wines are possible from Garnacha/Grenache on both sides of the Pyrennes Mountains which spate southern France from Spain.
The Rioja region, Ribera del Duero and Navarrra as well as Priorat in Catalonia all physically and spiritually surround Calatayud, a remote, mountainous and dessert like part of Spain’s vast hot interior.
The Calatayud wine region is located about half way between the cities of Zaragoza and Madrid on a fiery rock and sand covered plain that actually hosted or stood in for the wild west in a run of wrongly titled., Spaghetti Westerns, such as the Good, the Bad and The Ugly. In fact they should have been called Garnacha Westerns and this is the rugged, beffy, spicy uncompromising style of wine that you can achieve with the very best, and oldest vines of Garnacha. These vines are rare as winemaking which has a two thousand year history in Spain, yes the Romans again kick started their cultivation, faltered around the time of the Spanish Civil war. This Bodegas was founded in 1962 with an avowed aim of restoring the glory of Calatayud and with US critic Robert Parker a huge fan, high sales in the US and beefy Garancha like this becoming very fashionable, their work is already a success. This is a ricjh, spicy and delicious wine that could easily trade places with good Gigondas or Chateauneuf Du Pape, but for a fraction of the price.
Terrassus by Rui Reguinga, Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Douro Valley 2013
Pricing : on sale at €25.50 down from €29.50
Available : Terroirs of Donnybrook and selected specialist wine shops and Off Licenses and nationwide on terroirs.ie
Rui Reguinga is the name of the winemaker here, a third generation Portuguese winemaker and in his day job, Winemaker of the Year 2009 in Wine Magazine, for his work as a global wine consultant. He makes wine in countries from Argentina to Brazil, from Sri Lanka to Portugal itself.
This wine is from the Douro Valley, more famous perhaps for fortified Port wine, where the native Touriga Nacional grape is blended with brandy and left to mature and integrate in barrels for decades. This fortified wine is a creation of the sixteenth century and essentially removed any memory or indeed stock of dry red and white wines from the Douro valley from the collective memory.
The grape growers were not unhappy to abandon commercial winemaking in favour of becoming grape grower who sold their grapes top Port Houses to make Port and export it to Britain and Ireland from the 17th century onwards.
The terraced vineyards of the Douro Valley are very beautiful and spectacular, they were like so much else in Europe created first by the Romans and they produced widely known wines for centuries before Port dominated the valley. From the 1950s onwards a few farmers returned to making red dry wine and in the last 20 years this has been the dominant ambitious activity.
A winemaker of ambition like Reguinga was of course drawn to the Douro and here he blends 45% Touriga Nacional, 45% Touriga Fanca and 10% Roriz into a glorious, opulent blend, aged for 16 months in barrel to give a glossy, toasty mid palate and a finish of epic length and subtle, layered touches of dark fruits and a hint of spice.