I would have liked to post this earlier in the week to give you some time to pick up a few bottles, but there’s still time to grab a few for this (sometimes) sunny weekend.
O’Brien’s are currently running their French Wine Sale that ends on Tuesday 24th, and I can honestly say there’s plenty of great bargains to be had, so best stock up for the summer now.
Some of my picks are below…
Silly Value for Money
Domaine Duffour Blanc
Normally €11.45, now €9.16
This was new to me in every respect: I don’t think I’ve had a wine from Gascony before,nor do I recall tasting its local grapes Colombard or Gros Manseng at any point, both of which make up 80% and 20% of the blend respectively.
What I definitely didn’t expect is how interesting this wine is, and for a quite incredible price too, which has been made even more appealing with 20% off this weekend.
Expect tropical grapefruit and pear tinged with herbal grassiness; a fun and no-nonsense wine ideal for summer.
Bougrier Chenin Blanc
Was €13.95, now €11.16
Chenin Blanc is a very underestimated grape and virtually unknown to consumers, which though regretful means that it’s often great value.
Here’s one example, and from the grape’s historical home in the Loire too. What’s more it’s only 11%, so great for summer sipping. Ripe, round and flavoursome, and a great price even at full RSP.
Domaine Begude Etoile
Was €19.95, now €15.96
At just under €20 this was great value, and at just €15.96 it’s unmissable. An organic, barrel-fermented 100% Chardonnay, this is the best Burgundy look-alike I’ve ever come across, and it has so much more poise than the often bruising examples of oaked Chardonnay from the New World.
There’s lots that buttery creaminess of course, but still maintains a backbone of lemony, sprightly fruit. The finish is long, textured and gorgeous, the balance fantastic. A treat wine for any day of the week, if you will. One of my stand-outs of late.
Fresh & Crisp
Cave de Lugny, Mâcon-Lugny
Normally €17.95, now €13.95
Though I prefer the richer style of Burgundy (see the last wine as an example) this is a really good (and currently great value) example of crisp, refreshing, unoaked Chardonnay for those who like their wines on the zestier side. Pure, clean and lemony, it would be great with some summer salads.
Normally €19.95, now €15.96
No this is not sweet. Much has been written about the public’s unwillingness to take to Riesling due to its unfortunate historical association with sickly sweet, branded confections. The reality, as ever in wine, is far from the common perception but it’s unlikely that consumers’ negative view of this noble grape is unlikely to change. Which, for the rest of us, means that it will continue to be good value, at least.
Here’s a great example of the grape, and in an approachable style too – yes there’s the limey, stoney character typical of the style but it’s rounded out and more textured than others can be, while still retaining the trademark zingy acidity. A delicious drop.
Fire Up the Barbie
Chapoutier Belleruche Côtes du Rhône
Was €15.45, now €12.36
Côtes du Rhône ranks among Chablis, Chianti, Bordeaux and others as one of those regions that people call for by name, often without any reference for winemaker, brand or any other additional info. The unfortunate side effect of this popularity is that unscrupulous producers can exploit this and provide below-par wines for premium prices, something I’ve moaned about before.
Thankfully M. Chapoutier is not one of those companies, and at this price they definitely over-delivering. Expect juicy, brambly fruit with that distinctive black peppery characteristic typical of the region.
Pauillac de Lynch Bages 2011
Was €38.00, now €30.40
Yes, this could be in the “Splash Out” section below, but it’s also a super barbeque wine. If you’re a lover of Bordeaux, and particularly if you’re fond of your brands and/or Irish connection, then look no further. This is drinking fantastically well now: textured, juicy but balanced fruit with blackberry and blackcurrant loveliness on a deliciously dry, long finish. Definitely a special wine for that long-overdue get-together this summer, with a nice steak of course.
Domaine Olivier, Santenay Blanc, Clos des Champs
Normally €33.95, now €27.16
This was one of two whites on Burgundy übermensch Raymond Blake‘s table, and it just simply blew my mind. The world should taste wines like this and realise what it’s been missing in its race to de-oak chardonnay.
Gorgeously supple and textured, it offers up layers of undulatingly delicious flavours and a length that goes on forever. Very highly recommended.