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The Curious Top 10s: What’s Hot in 2012

I think our top-sellers list always makes for fascinating reading. It can reveal fashions or preferences, for styles or types of wines, favourite grape varietals or countries. It can signal underlying trends in the market, shifts from traditional favourites to new, or simply a move towards certain price points. And it can reveal some rising stars or unsung heroes in a constantly evolving, and hopefully improving, portfolio.

The lists below reflect the top 10 whites and top 10 reds by retail sales* for Curious Wines so far in 2012. Our top selling wine remains the same but there’s been a few changes to both lists, with some really interesting climbers and new entries.

TOP 10 WHITES

1    The Ned Sauvignon Blanc 2011  (Same place as 2011) Still our top selling wine overall, the Ned has ceased to amaze us in it’s almost universal wow factor. In a category that should be becoming tired and old-hat, Brent Marris’s flagship has reset the benchmark for Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. RRP €12.99.

2    Mirabello Pinot Grigio 2011  (Up 2 places) Another wine with universal appeal, what it lacks in wow factor more than makes up for in consistent pleasure and ease of drinking. Think Rocha pear and a finish as clean as the Italian alps air. RRP €8.49.

3    Borgo Magredo Prosecco Frizzante  (New entry) The new black, if Stella McCartney designed wine it’d be a Prosecco. The Borgo’s a real charmer: soft, ripe and fruity with medium fizz, but with an underlying richness and complexity that demands a second glass (or bottle, depending on your mood or company). RRP €11.99.

4    Cuvée Jean Paul Blanc Sec 2011  (Down 2) Once our top selling wine but only falling behind on the fashionista status of the above. This is still stupendously good, a crisp, aromatic blend from Gascony that punches way above it’s low price. RRP €7.99.

5    Moulin de Gassac Classic Blanc 2010  (Up 1) Gaining a bigger and bigger following for it’s extra complexity and depth to the Cuvée Jean-Paul, this is less a crowd-pleaser but more what we’d call a ‘wine drinker’s wine’, revealing it’s complexity more and more with each sip. RRP €8.99.

6    Santa Alicia Sauvignon Blanc 2012  (Down 2) Cheap Chilean Sauvi is easy to find, good varietal character at this price less so. Snappy grapefruit, sweet melon and tart gooseberry make for a clean, flavoursome wine that appeals to any and every palate. RRP €8.49.

7    Chateau Bauduc Bordeaux Blanc 2011  (Same place) Still showing that people are happy to pay for that step up in quality. Getting better every year, the 2011 has a greater ‘lift’ than previous vintages, expressing the fruit even more vibrantly. Oz Clarke loves it every vintage, so it appears do you. RRP €13.99.

8    Real Castelo Rueda 2011  (New entry) All the more impressive as a new entry as we only introduced this wine in May. Matt and I spotted this in a tapas bar in Madrid last year and proceeded to demolish the bottle in about 20 minutes (see, we work tirelessly for our customers!). It’s Verdejo with a splash of Sauvignon, and quintessential Rueda. RRP €10.99.

9    Mont Marcal Blanco 2011  (Down 1) This peculiar little blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Xarel-lo really shouldn’t sell so well, but it works so well as a mid-week wine that delivers something very different from a straight Sauvignon or Pinot Grigio. Two years now in our top 10 confirms it’s widespread appeal. RRP €8.49.

10    Santa Alicia Reserva Chardonnay 2011  (Same place) There was one bottle between this and it’s stablemate the Reserva Sauvignon Blanc so really nothing to choose between the two in terms of popularity. This is the sort of wine that’s converting ABCs (Anything But Chardonnays) in their droves: mouthwatering tropical fruits with a soft, buttery texture, it’s classy stuff for the price. RRP €9.99.

TOP 10 REDS

1    Moulin de Gassac Classic Rouge 2010  (Up 2 places) Our customers’ favourite red wine. This classic Rhône blend of Syrah and Grenache just hits the sweet spot of a great everyday red: fruit forward, juicy and ripe but with a dry, grippy backbone that makes it great with food or on it’s own. RRP €8.99.

2    Santa Alicia Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2010  (Up 5) A consistent customer favourite for four years now, we maintain Santa Alicia’s Reservas are the best value Chileans in Ireland. The Cabernet is thick, rich and brooding, with the 2010 receiving a whopping 91 points from Wine & Spirits Magazine. RRP €9.99.

3    Dignite Syrah 2009  (Up 2) Our go-to wine for customers looking for an inexpensive weekend treat, the Dignité has gained a bit of a cult following since the first vintage in 2005. Superb depth and richness from 40+ year old vines, let this iron fist breath for a couple of hours to reveal it’s full and wonderful complexity. RRP €12.99.

4    Pago de Cirsus Oak Aged 2010  (New entry) We bought a bin-end of the 2005 of this wine and it sold out really quickly at the start of the year, prompting us to contact the winery to try the newer vintages. The 2010 was an immediate hit, displacing many cheaper wines to become our top-selling Spanish wine of 2012. RRP €10.99.

5    Cuvée Jean Paul Rouge 2010  (Down 3) If we have a ‘house wine’ it remains the Cuvée Jean-Paul. Like the Gassac Classic, a Syrah-Grenache blend, but softer and juicier and ever-so adaptable.  RRP €7.99.

6    La Mano Mencia Roble 2009  (Down 5) Perhaps this was a bit of novelty when we introduced it at the end of 2010, becoming our top-selling red of 2011. Disregard it’s relative fall, it’s still an absolute treat: earthy, smoky, savoury, bursting with dark fruits like mulberry and blueberry, and knock-out bang for buck. RRP €8.99.

7    Santa Alicia Merlot 2012  (Down 3) Like it’s Sauvignon Blanc counterpart, this Merlot hits the mark as a smooth, flavoursome, everyday drinker that appeals to all palates and offends none. Unoaked, these wines are all about ripe fruit, dark berries and plum with pillow-soft tannins. RRP €8.49.

8    Chateau Bauduc Clos des Quinze 2009  (Up 2) Now out-selling the Bauduc Blanc, this Merlot-Cabernet blend has shown consistent improvement in the last few vintages. 2009 was a cracker in Bordeaux and wine-maker Gavin Quinney captured it in the Clos des Quinze, rich, ripe and silky, it’s a class act. RRP €14.99.

9    Solonio Il Grottone  (New entry) Who’d have thought a Shiraz-Cabernet from Italy would become such a hit, but this is no ordinary blend. It’s made Ripasso-method, where the grapes are partially hydrated before gentle pressing and being put into French oak barriques for 12 months. The result is sublime, dense and full-bodied with dark dried fruit and a blanketing smoothness and warmth. RRP €12.99.

10    Gregorina Sangiovese Superiore  (Down 2) My first choice with a bowl of Spaghetti Bolognese, this is delightfully aromatic, soft and elegant and bursting with ripe red fruits, but with that distinctive tannic edge and juicy acidity that typifies good Sangiovese. RRP €12.49.

(* Retail sales refers to total online and shop sales, excluding all commercial, corporate and wedding sales where price can be a greater determinant of choice. Placings are based on number of bottles sold between 1st January and 15th September 2012.)

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