MOVIES & BOOZE: Fancy a tipple this weekend?

This week Movies & Booze is in Tullamore, with thanks to Carry Out

Today is Sauvignon Blanc day, and I’m sure the movies fans won’t mind sharing Star Wars day with us!! (May the forth be with you………). To celebrate we are going to taste a fab Sauvignon from the South of France with you all. Our red today is a blockbuster of a wine from the Pays D’Oc, the Languedoc region now known as Occitanie. This was the name used for this part of France during the Middle Ages. Since 1st January 2016 it is the name that the regions formerly known as Languedoc Rousillion and Midi Pyrenees are once again known as.

2017 Maison Francaise Reserve “S” Sauvignon Blanc

ABV: 11.5%

Cotes de Gascoigne €10.99

Stockists: Exclusive to Carry Out

Cotes de Gascoigne was formerly in the Midi Pyrenees region now known as Occitanie. Sauvignon Blanc is not native to the region but when grown here goes under the designation IPR. Formerly known as Vin du Pay d’Oc. All very confusing, I know. Simply put, it means country wines from a specified area, in other words, Sauvignon Blanc isn’t local, but it grows very well here. Native white grapes to this region include the increasingly popular Picpoul as well as Colombard and Ugni Blanc.

The grape with the greatest “rock star” credentials these days, must surely be Sauvignon Blanc. It seems there is a global industry dedicated soley to its promotion. It even has its own day, May 4th, but as the date rotates on an annual basis, I don’t think they will be too upset if the wine world also uses it this year to celebrate the 9th Annual Sauvignon Blanc Day. The home of Sauvignon Blanc is the Loire Valley. Sauvignon Blanc has a distinctive aroma, The smell of the so-called thiol character of Sauvignon is reminiscent of passion fruit, gooseberry and grapefruit. The characteristic odor is followed by a rich flavor with a pronounced finish. This is a lovely example of well made Sauvignon from Southern France.

It has a lovely freshness and all those charachteristics we so association with this much loved grape, the acidity, the citrus fruit and the freshness. Good value wine, make sure to enjoy it on Sauvignon Day!

2016 Beaurempart “Grande Reserve”

ABV 13.%

IGP €10.99

Stockists: Exclusive to Carry Out

Another superb wine from Gascony, this red Pays d’Oc is made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The 2016 was a really good vintage in Southern France and this wine is made using the classic Bordeaux Blend but from grapes grown in the Occitanie. Mediterranean France means lots of sunshine and that means plenty of ripe fruit. This producer has been getting very good reviews for their wines so a great opportunity to try. What makes Cabernet Sauvignon remarkable to taste is not it's exact fruit flavour, often likened to blackcurrants, and sometimes to green bell peppers. No, over the centuries, Cabernet Sauvignon has developed a special affinity for French oak and that’s what makes it so special. The particular appeal of Cabernet Sauvignon comes from the more subtle flavour compounds that evolve when the grape is aged in wood. The Cabernet Sauvignon berry is very small in size and the skin of the grape is very thick. The pips are a major factor in Cabernet Sauvignon's high Tannin level while the skins account for the depth of colour that is the tell tale sign of a Cabernet Sauvignon in so many tastings. Merlot is the other major red grape from Bordeaux, where it is traditionally blended with Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot, ripens early and it is blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to soften out the harshness of the tannin you find in the Cabernet grape.

This is a lovely example of a warm climate Bordeaux style wine from Occitanie. It is very fruit forward but has lovely jammy flavours with hints of vanilla and coffee in the mix. If you are planning to roast a leg of lamb this bank holiday weekend, then this is a perfect wine to drink with it.

Wine Diary: For details of wine events go to Alsace Wine Week 14th – 18th May, 2018 Alsace Wine week offers the Irish consumer the opportunity to taste and to learn more about this unique French wine region.As part of the first ever Alsace Wine Week, more details on my website.

Jean Smullen