While very privileged to regularly taste new wines that expand the boundaries of my wine knowledge, it’s also nice once in a while to pop the cork on an old favourite; pleasure can come from familiarity as well as discovery. Here are two old friends of mine:
Loosen Dr L Riesling 2015 (8.5%, €14.00 at Morton’s Ranelagh, Jus de Vine Portmarknock, Nolan’s Clontarf)
Ernst Loosen is one of the bigger producers in Germany’s Mosel, a strong candidate for the best place in the world to make Riesling. He makes a wide range of wines from different vineyards, up to and including Grosses Gëwachs. The Dr L wines are blends from different sites designed to make an approachable, everyday style. There is a dry version but this is the off-dry to medium one with only 8.5% and a fair bit of residual sugar (43.2 g/L). Of course there’s plenty of acidity in the wine’s backbone so the sweetness enhances the racy lime and lemon fruit rather than being just sugary. The perfect introduction to Mosel Riesling!
Peter Lehmann Clancy’s Barossa Red Blend 2013 (14.5%, €12.99 at Londis Malahide, Morton’s Ranelagh, O’ Donoghues O/L Cork, The Drink Store Manor Street, Nolan’s Clontarf)
I’m a long-time admirer of Peter Lehmann wines as their varietal Barossa range were a treat for me when I got into Aussie wine in the mid to late 90s. More recently I’ve been lucky to taste the premium wines in the range, but this entry level red blend is still an enjoyable pour. The wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, and Merlot – all from the Barossa Valley, and the relative proportions I’m sure change depending on the vintage.
While Cabernet is a slight favourite of mine ahead of Shiraz, the later does a good job of filling the hole in the mid palate which Cab can sometimes have (it’s not called the “doughnut grape” for nothing!) There’s lots of juicy blackcurrant and blackberry with spice and a mocha finish. This is a very appealing wine with a price that means you wouldn’t mind sharing it with “red wine drinkers” (people who say they love red wine but can’t name more than a handful!)
Disclosure: both bottles were kindly given as samples, but opinions remain my own