February 27, 2024

John Wilson: Escape to the sun with these great-value wines from O’Briens

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Weekend wines: Pick up one of these bottles and dream of good times ahead

In January and February, I gaze longingly at all those holiday brochures that arrive with the newspapers, dreaming of faraway sun, warm weather and beautiful landscapes. As the travel companies know well, this is the time we start booking trips abroad. It might be too early to travel but, in the meantime, we can enjoy the wines and dream of good times ahead. I feature four wines this week, all on promotion in O’Briens.

The southwest of France is one of the least-populated parts of the country, and home to some wonderful rolling countryside dotted with ancient, slightly tumbledown villages. It is one of my favourite holiday destinations. The region also produces some great value wines, red and white. I feature one wine here. The Loire Valley, famed for its castles and charming villages, is another favourite destination for Irish Francophiles. 

Around this time of year, I always dream of flying to New Zealand (another very beautiful place) where, at this moment, the sun is shining and the grapes are nearing ripeness. Marlborough Sauvignon may be our current favourite, but the two wines below are well worth checking out. 

Famille Bougrier Pure Valleé, Sauvignon Blanc 2020, Vin de France €10, reduced from €15.99
Nicely aromatic, with plump tropical fruits, a squeeze of citrus and a rounded finish. A great aperitif or with lighter seafood and pasta dishes.  

Lionel Osmin Malbec 2019 IGP Comté Tolosan
€11.95, reduced from €13.95
Malbec from south-west France can be severe and tannic at times, but the Lionel Osmin is soft, rounded and full of ripe dark fruits. One to enjoy with all sorts of red or white meats, or bean and tomato casseroles.

Whitehaven Marlborough Riesling 2020, New Zealand
€14.45 down from €16.45
This Riesling is bursting with citrus fruits on nose and palate; lime and lemon zest mingle with green apple in a racy, light-bodied wine with a nicely rounded finish. Perfect with Asian food, including sushi, mild creamy curries, or stir-fried chicken.

Sherwood Estate Pinot Noir 2020, Waipara, New Zealand
€16.95, reduced from €21.95
Smooth ripe plum and black cherry fruits overlaid with subtle toasty oak. Light- to medium-bodied, this would go nicely with salmon, tuna, or lighter pasta dishes.

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