Irish Red Wine: The Amurensis Walk 2006
More From: Curious Facts & Fun
Posted January 20th, 2009 by Michael Kane
Just before Christmas we had the great pleasure of a visit from Michael O’Callaghan of Vin de Longueville – Mallow-based wine-maker no less – with the 100% Irish red wine, Amurensis Walk 2006, from grapes grown in Kinsale, Co. Cork!
The seven-acre Thomas Walk Vineyard has been experimenting with the Vitis Amurensis grape – a cool climate grape variety, bred by the legendary German viticulturist Helmut Becker from a grape originally found growing in the shadows of the Himalayas, on the bank of the Amur River.
For those that can remember beyond the miserable last two summers, 2006 wasn’t a bad one, and by September of that year the grapes were actually displaying decent ripeness with good sugar levels. So, Mr O’Callaghan collected the grapes, and began in earnest to produce (that we’re both aware of) Cork’s first red wine.
The wine was fermented in oak, with the skins being removed upon fermentation, then aged for six months in barrel. The result is a light bodied, young wine – ruby purple in colour, and very slightly murky due to minimal filtering.
So, the million dollar question: how did it taste?
We sampled the wine quite cool as Michael suggested – almost chilled as you might do with Beaujolais – but that didn’t restrain the quite pungent aromas – sweet medicinal, flowery scents that you might associate with a tonic wine.
It was actually quite smooth – dry with light tannins – but, I’m afraid, not the most drinkable. Powerful medicinal and vegetal flavours, with a punishing lack of acidity and fruit to carry it.
Nevertheless, that’s from a critical, commercial point-of-view – the wine just wouldn’t stand up to the quality you can get from established wine regions in the €10-12 mark, or realistically much lower than that. But I have to give massive credit for Vin de Longueville for having a go, and there’s a huge novelty factor if nothing else.
Unfortunately there’ll be no 07 or 08 vintage of Amurensis Walk to compare progress, due to the aforementioned non-existant summers, but I do look forward to future attempts to tame the Rebel Red.
Fancy a taste yourself? We’ve taken a case from Michael to give away to Curious sippers, so if you’re passing the warehouse, or want a bottle thrown in a case for delivery, just pop in or make a note on your order. Completely gratis, and obviously while stocks last – but do let us know what you think!