Three wines get the thumbs up in weekend papers

Three wines caught the attention of two Irish wine writers in last weekend’s newspapers.

Paarl Heights Chenin Blanc 2010: “Outside of the Loire, the other region making thirst-quenching Chenin is South Africa. This little cracker from coastal vineyards in Paarl is excellent value. Fresh, dry, with tropical fruits on the palate.” Matthew Nugent, Irish Mail on Sunday.

My take

The Coastal region of South Africa is renowned for its fine and expressive fruit. The adaptability and versatility of this wine is what makes it a success for me. Keenly priced, this is an all-round crowd pleaser, and can be matched with a wide range of foods or simply on its own by the glass. It has been one of our most successful new world house wines.

Bleasdale Pott’s Catch Verdelho 2010: “Spain’s Verdelho grape has settled well in Langhorne Creek. Naturally crisp acidity with melon, pineapple and guava notes. Nice weight and a lingering finish.” Matthew Nugent, Irish Mail on Sunday.

My take

Verdelho is a variety that has always been prized by Bleasdale, Australia’s second oldest winery after Yalumba. Some of the vines are approaching 90 years old, even in Spain that is very rare, but it is testament to the efforts and persistence the family has taken with this fabulous grape. I think freshness is key at this stage of the 2010, but it should start to take on some nice secondary flavours soon. Quite a subtle wine, there is a simplicity to its delight, but drink on and its depth of flavour will become more and more evident.

Pago de Cirsus 2005: “This beauty is just one bottle worth checking out in Curious Wines’ current Spanish sale. 20% off? How bad! A blend of cabernet, merlot and tempranillo it’s all about fresh ripe fruit but elevated by that delicious savoury whiff of coffee and spice.” Blake Creedon, Irish Examiner.

My take

Just to the northeast of Rioja is the trendy DO region of Navarra. It is known for two styles of red. The lighter Côtes du Rhône style, or the fleshier, weightier, alcoholic type of wine that the Pago de Cirsus is. At 14.5% it’s a bit of monster, and a customer even said recently it needs about four hours decanting to soften down. This is from a particularly good Navarran vintage, and if anything it seems to have improved with age. Tight on stock at the minute, though!

Pictured: The new label Paarl Heights Chenin Blanc – coming soon.

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