Matt's Wines of 2012

As his parents and siblings can attest, Matt was a difficult child growing up. Excitable, restless and easily agitated, he was nicknamed ‘the not-so-genius Evil Genius’ by his younger brother, David, who’s revenge was exacted on Matt’s stag weekend back in April (pictured).

Since putting those difficult early years behind him, Matt has grown into a rather affable chap who, along with wine and customer service, has developed a deep passion and disturbingly constant hankering for triple chocolate fudge cake.
MY WINES OF 2012 by Matt
1. Bozeto de Exopto Rioja 2010 €12.49 (6 for 5 until 31st December)
Initially, it was the critical acclaim Bodegas Exopto was receiving from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate that got my attention, but our own sampling was what sealed the deal to bring the wines of this small producer to Ireland. Winemaker Tom Puyaubert is a native of Bordeaux, and his expert use of quality French oak in his Spanish wines are there for all to see. Bozeto is a young wine showing hedgerow fruit and a squeeze of sweet blackcurrant, with peppery, floral overtones.
2. Santa Alicia Gran Reserva Chardonnay 2011 Normally €12.99, on sale €10.39
This is the type of wine that would make any member of the ABC (anything but Chardonnay) club choke on their Pinot Grigio. Forget the over-extracted, all-butter and no-balance Chardonnay of the nineties. With the judicious use of oak, the team at Santa Alicia have handcrafted a wine that a top Burgundy producer would be proud of, and charge a lot more for. Subtle tropical fruit, a sprinkle of spice and a lick of butterscotch complete the package.
3. Bleasdale ‘Frank Potts’ 2009 €22.00
A close runner to Woodstock’s Shiraz Cabernet for my more indulgent pick of the year, but if you’re comfortable veering away from Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale, check out this amazing red blend from Langhorne Creek. Frank Potts possesses a certain Bordeaux character. Cabernet dominates, and despite signature Australian richness of luscious blackcurrant, sweet chocolate and savoury oak, it retains the poise, class and elegance of its Old World counterparts.
4. Casas de Herencia Tinto Barrica Normally €8.99, on sale €7.19
We’re always on the hunt for something amazing that the wider wine drinking population has yet to stumble upon. The Valencia region as a whole has probably been our star find this year, and Bodegas Arraez ticks all the right boxes. This inexpensive red blend has had eight months to mature in oak, which is a considerable investment at this price level. Smooth and fruity, it possesses that warming rustic edge we all love in Spanish wine.
5. Montaria Branco 2011 €8.99
Two of the things that appeal to me about Portugal are the interesting grape varieties they use and the potential of wine producing regions like Alentejo, from where this wine is sourced. The Montaria Branco is delightfully different, yet consolingly familiar. The grape varieties Arinto and Antão Vaz produce a characterful and versatile white displaying crisp citrus and soft stone fruit flavours. This is a well made wine with tons of appeal.

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