The Irish off-licence chain O’Briens has various promotions on throughout the year, but probably the most eagerly awaited is the annual Fine Wine Sale. This year it runs from Monday 9th to Sunday 15th December. Below are the wines I’d be snapping up this year. Note that I haven’t necessarily tried the vintage stated of each wine, but I have tasted them often enough over the years to comfortably recommend them.
Gaia Santorini Assyrtiko Wild Ferment 2016 (13.0%, €24.95 down to €22.95 at O’Briens)
I have previously written about the 2013 and 2016 vintages of this wine as well as its younger brother Monograph, and tasted it many times in between; it remains one of my favourite “mid-priced” white wines available in Ireland.
Cloudy Bay Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (13.0%, €35.95 down to €24.95 at O’Briens)
An iconic wine at a very reasonable price! I recently tried the 2017 (which was maturing nicely) and the 2019 which, for such a young wine, was surprisingly settled and ready to go
Julien Brocard Chablis La Boissoneuse 2018 (12.5%, €29.95 down to €25.95 at O’Briens)
The 2017 vintage was #1 in my Top 10 Whites of 2019 so any reduction in price of this fantastic organic, biodynamic Chablis makes it worth snapping up!
Chanson Chablis 1er Cru Montmains 2017 (12.5%, €34.95 down to €24.95 at O’Briens)
Chanson has been part of the Bollinger group for two decades and produces consistently good wines. This Montmains is an excellent Premier Cru and while delicious now, deserves another five years or so before being opened.
Man O’War Waiheke Island Valhalla Chardonnay 2017 (14.5%, €32.95 down to €28.95 at O’Briens)
I wrote about the 2010 vintage (in 2014) the 2011 (in 2016) and the 2016 (earlier this year) and loved them all. This is a fairly full on Chardonnay which will please those who like bold wines – and that includes me.
L’Ostal Cazes Minervois La Livinière Grand Vin 2015 (14.5%, €23.95 down to €20.95 at O’Briens)
The JM Cazes family who have long owned Lynch Bages in Bordeaux have spread their interests to the Rhône and Languedoc, amongst other places. In my not-so-humble-opinion this Minervois La Livinère is the best value wine in their portfolio.
Château Franc-Maillet Pomerol 2015 (13.5%, €48.00 down to €42.00 at O’Briens)
The 2014 of this wine was very good, so the even better vintage of 2015 is definitely worth a shout. This wine is worthy of a place on my Christmas dinner table, so it’s definitely worthy of yours, too!
Sierra Cantabria Rioja Gran Reserva 2008 (14.0%, €32.95 down to €23.95 at O’Briens)
If you like Tempranillo-based wines but tend to favour Ribero del Duero, this a Rioja house which can match the black fruited savoury wines from there. I have previously tried the 2010 Crianza which was great, but a Gran Reserva from 2008 should be even more of a stunner!
d’Arenberg McLaren Vale Dead Arm Shiraz 2015 (14.6%, €54.95 down to €44.95 at O’Briens)
While Penfolds Grange prices have rocketed off into the stratosphere, here’s an iconic Aussie wine that is (relatively) more affordable – and approachable at a younger age, too, though if you manage to keep your hands away it will last for a decade or two.
Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (13.8%, €80 down to €68 at O’Briens)
The (virtual) ink has only just dried on my review of the 2012 vintage of this wine but it’s already included in the fine wine sale. If you want to treat yourself for Christmas (2019 or 2029) then this is a great bet!