While we are still clinging to summer (here in Dublin at any rate) here are a couple of fresh whites that make for a perfect summer tipple:
Palais Des Anciens Gaillac Perlé 2013 (12.0%, €8.99 at Tesco)
This wine has a very interesting background, so please excuse me if I get a little wine geeky here.
- Gaillac is one of the oldest wine-producing areas of France: there are records showing wines being made there in the first century CE (only Côte Rôtie is thought to be older)
- Some rare varieties are grown here, including Mauzac and Len de l’El*
- This “Perlé” style white is bottled just before fermentation has ended, and thus the carbon dioxide produced is retained in the wine as a slight spritz!
I first tasted this wine nearly two years ago (see my friend Anne’s review) and I do remember it had a light spritz at the time, not unlike some Vinho Verde does. Now the fizz has faded, but the wine still tastes fresh. It has an almost saline quality to it with Mediterranean herbs. There’s far more character here than you might expect from a €9 wine!
*Len de l’El is the official name for this grape – based in the Occitan language – and is also known an Loin-de-l’Oeil (amongst other names) which is the French term for the same thing: “far from the eye”. This is because the stalks attaching the grape clusters to the vine are relatively far away from the bud, or “eye”
Tesco Finest Terre de Chieti Passerina 2015 (13.0%, €9.99 at Tesco)
Passerina is a grape that I first came across when discussing Pecorino wine with Fergus O’Halloran, General Manager & Sommelier of The Twelve Hotel in County Galway. The producer in the Marche that Fergus sources his Pecorino from – Il Crinale – also make a fresh, dry and aromatic wine from Passerina.
Now Tesco are in on the act! Just like Pecorino, Passerina is predominantly made in the Marche and Abruzzo regions (the latter of which is obviously more famous for its Montepulciano reds). Tesco’s “Finest” Passerina is made in Chieti in Abruzzo, a stone’s throw from the Adriatic.
As an Italian white, the obvious comparison is with the ubiquitous Pinot Grigio, and (thankfully) it has far more going on than the average PG plonk. It is dry with crisp acidity, but has an array of citrus and stone fruit on the nose and the palate. It’s a perfect patio wine!