MOVIES & BOOZE: Fancy a tipple this weekend?

Tomas Clancy reviews Il Palagio, When We Dance, Chianti DOCG 2014 & Frei Brothers, Chardonnay, AVA Russian River Valley 2015

Il Palagio, When We Dance, Chianti DOCG 2014

Pricing :  €18.95

Available :Nationwide from €8 for a delivery anywhere in the country and if you order over €120 then its free delivery nationwide

Although in no way shying away from its famous owner, this wine wears its rock and roll credentials very lightly. Unlike Chateau Miraval, the excellent rose wine made by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, this wine made by rock star, Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner, whom mosty of us would more readily recognise as Sting, or the lead singer with the band Police, or perhaps or Sting, to you and I. It is a rather brilliant, class leading organic, green and sustainable enterprise that Sting and his wife, actress Trudie Styler, with whon Sing starred in the film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

Also unlike the Brad Pitt and Angelina wine, Sting and his wife make this themselves on their estate without the backing or tencical support of a large wine company as Brangalina do with the Perrin Winery.

In fact wine is only one elemnt of the entire rather superb estate they own in the heart of Chianti in Tuscany, as they also make very fashionable and quite expensive organic olive oil and the uber hip, natural honey.

This Chianti is a classical, slightly savoury cherry, sour black fruits and fine lifting acidity, with a hint of dark chocolate brightness before a well-made, cutting finish. IT is also determinedly a well-priced wine that has taken the stance of avoiding pricing itself to the Sting name, rather going for robust, everyday honesty. And excellent it is too.


Frei Brothers, Chardonnay, AVA Russian River Valley 2015

Pricing: €25

Available: Widely available from local independent Off Licences, selected multiples and specialist wine shops

With this being Black Friday, the middle day in the USA national holiday that is Thanksgiving, the other way to celebrate the US apart from spending all day trying to snag an electronic product on Amazon or a half price plane ticket is to consider a US wine such as this brilliant Californian Chardonnay.

Californian Wine in Ireland is has begun to assert itself again with increasingly ambitious, regionally driven and frankly quite delicious wines, that are also arriving at increasingly attractive fine wine prices.

During the bad old Celtic Tiger days Californian wine tended to be either broadly based every day value wines like Bluish Zinfandel under a tenner, perfectly fine and enjoyable every day experiences but never too engaging for the wine lover and then hundreds of euros for the top fine wines.

Indeed with wines like Screaming Eagle and Sine Qua Non becoming poster children for Californian wines worldwide it seemed as if California’s best wines were going to require four or five figure purchase prices and millionaire club membership to enjoy again. Thankfully that has all changed again. Sense has prevailed. The cion and cult wines are still there but the hard working middle has spoken up.

This is gloriously opulent, toasty, ripe apricot, warmed brioche dribbling with butter delight running towards a nutty, clean bright finish. The kind of wine that if it were from Burgundy would command triple the price of this wine. While California is unlikely in highly prized appelations such as Russian River Valley or Sonoma to offer bargain wines, this is fine wine making from a 125 year old estate, with impeccable sur lee barrel fermentation, in expensive well curated French and American oak. A rather brillianty and well priced introduction to the world of top quality, ambitious, gnerous fine wine making.