MOVIES & BOOZE: Fancy a drink this weekend?

Jean Smullen reviews Albarino from Rias Baixas in Spain and Malbec from Cahors in France

Two very fashionable grape varieties from their original place of origin..

Albarino from Rias Baixas  Spain and Malbec from Cahors in France. 

Both these varietals are starting to take over the world,  Malbec from Argentina is one of the most fashionable wines at the moment and Albarino is now being planted all over the world in countries like Chile, New Zealand and Australia.  Today we are going to look at the original style to see what we think.

2013 Abellio Albarino DO Rias Baixas €13.99 (on offer SuperValu to April 27th @ €10.00)

Stockists:  SuperValu, Nationwide

Spain's improving reputation for white wines is largely down to two regions, Rueda and Rias Baixas.  Rias Baixas (meaning high estuaries whre the vineyards are planted) lies in the far north west of Spain. It is a cool verdant area, with plenty of rain, populated by Celts (quite like Ireland).  The climate is cool and the best wines are light and elegant with plenty of refreshing lemony acidity.  The most popular and best grape variety is Albarino, but other local white varieties such as Godello and Trexiadura make some delicious light wines.

Miguel Torres is convinced that this is Riesling brought from Germany in the distant past.  It is the most important grape of the DO Rias Baixas and has experienced a spectacular boom in recent years.

The charachteristic of this grape is that it has lovely floral notes,  white stone fruit, peaches and cream, but when you taste it LOTS of fresh zesty acidity. Albarino has crisp and lively zestiness with gorgeous fruit intensity that makes this wine perfect with seafood dishes. Great also with Asian food and Chicken.

2013 Château Vincens Origine Cahors AOC  €17.00

Stockists: Independent wine shops such as: Redmond Ranelagh;  Jus de Vine, Portmarnock;

Sweeneys Glassnevin; The Vintry, Rathgar; Hollands Bray;  O'Donovans Cork; World Wide Wines Waterford; Swans Naas; D-Six Harolds Cross; Drinkstore Manor Street D8;  Gibeys Malahide;  Martins Fairview; McHughes Artane & Killester; and Thomas's Foxrock

The dominant grape variety in AOC Cahors wines is Malbec.  Wine from this region  from the middle ages to the 19th century was known as “The Black Wine of Cahors” because this thin skinned grape that is quite rustic and makes wine with a strong black colour.   Malbec from this region is known as the grape of many names  it is known as "Côt", "Côt Noir" or "Auxerrois" here.  The grape is known for  being quite tannic, it likes the heat though and when handled well can be extremely good with firm tannin and an almost perfumed quality.

High up on the upper terraces of the Cahors appellation lies one of the most exciting new discoveries Château Vincens,  is owned and managed by the young and dynamic Philippe Vincens.  This winery has quickly become a leader in Cahors thanks in large part to the viticultural practices as well as their hilltop exposition.

The winds are so strong at these higher elevations that the vines remain quite dry and don’t suffer from the mould and rot issues that vines further down the hillsides are subjected to.

The property grows primarily Malbec grapes, with some Merlot. The design of the vineyards responds to the innate structure of the land. The ground between the vines alternates between soil and grass – grass retains water and heat, but leaches nutrients. The property uses sustainable farming methods. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks and are then put into new and old oak barrels for aging.

Vincens wines are lush and are an excellent examples of  good quality French Malbec.  Perfect to serve with steak or any sort of roast meat.

Wine Diary events

Bouchard Finlayson Wine Dinner at The Lodge at Ashford Castle on Tuesday 26th of April is set to be an exceptional evening of fine dining, fine wines and a Master Sommelier from the Bouchard Finlayson winery will guide diners through the various courses and wine pairings throughout the evening.

Situated on the outskirts of the charming village of Cong, The Lodge at Ashford Castle is the ideal destination to enjoy a wonderful evening of fine food and wines. The Bouchard Finlayson Wine Dinner on Tuesday 26th April is priced at €100 per person and includes welcome reception and six course tasting menu with paired wines. Choose to fully indulge in the experience of The Lodge at Ashford Castle by adding an overnight stay from €185 per room.

Tel: +353 94 954 5400