The wine market in Irish supermarkets is a tough one to get right, balancing what consumers think they want, what they actually want, and trying to stock better and/or more different wines in a low margin, competitive environment.
One key trend – which is not unique to the Irish market – is the preference among many consumers for richer red wines. At the lower end of the market, many of these wines contain significant amounts of residual sugar, but consumers think they only like dry wines – and what they don’t know can’t hurt them, I suppose. It’s not for me to tell people their tastes are wrong, it’s just that I don’t share them.
Here are some of the delicious reds that I tasted recently at SuperValu’s Secret Garden Party:
Trisquel Family Collection Magnum 2013 (14.0%, RRP €49.99, currently €20, at SuperValu)
This is top of the bill for a very good reason – the special offer! Unlike many wines with such significant reductions (Hardy’s Crest, I’m looking at you), this is actually worth the full price and isn’t a label that just exists to be discounted. The wine is built on Bordeaux grapes Cabernet Sauvignon (50%), Merlot (20%) and Petit Verdot (8%), with a little Rhône included for interest in Syrah (12%) and Petite Sirah (10%). The nose is just amazing, luscious black fruit, chocolate, coffee and exotic spice. On the palate it is a little restrained, so it could play a good role with food as well as on its own. I’m dropping a few hints to the family about a bottle for myself!
Albert Glas Pfalz Pinot Noir Black Label 2014 (13.5%, RRP €19.99 at SuperValu from 20th August)
Like the equivalent Riesling (see part 2) the Black Label Pinot Noir from Albert Glas is made with premium fruit and fermented in local oak barrels. Thankfully, the oak isn’t overdone so there is only a little noticeable on the palate. Instead, the oak adds textures and depth to the plush red fruit. For my money this is nicer than most Burgundy at the same price.
Dona Ermelinda Reserve Palmela Red 2015 (14.5%, RRP €85 for 6 at SuperValu, will be on offer at €50 for 6 from 20th August)
The Palmela region is close to Lisbon and best known for its reds. Here local grape Castelão is the mainstay with 70% of the blend, and the international Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon make up the balance with 20% and 10% respectively. This is a proper Portuguese red, with rich and powerful black fruit framed by tobacco notes and soft tannins. An excellent wine for a barbecue!
Nugan Estate Langhorne Creek Single Vineyard Zinfandel 2015 (15.0%, RRP €16.99 at SuperValu from 20th August)
California’s Zinfandel is of course also known as Primitivo in Puglia and (the harder to say) Tribidrag and (the even harder to say) Crljenak Kaštelanski in Croatia. All of these are warm climate areas, so why not also in South Australia? It’s a big and bold wine, lots of fun and nicely straddling the red and black fruit border. There’s a touch of sweetness on the finish but the tannin stops it becoming too jammy.