Honest 2 Goodness – H2G for short – recently held their summer wine tasting event at their base in Glasnevin. A contingent from the DNS Wine Club (for which I am chief bottle washer) was in attendance and we were entertained by a jazz band as we
Here are the top 3 whites and top 3 reds which piqued my interest:
Domaine de Valensac Chardonnay Vin de Pays d’Oc 2015 (13.5%, €14.95 at H2G)
Although lying much further south than Chardonnay’s spiritual home of Burgundy, being situated just 10 km from the Mediterranean means that Domaine de Valensac’s vineyards are well cooled by the sea influence. Perfectly ripe fruit gives both citrus and tropical notes – definitely more like the Mâconnais than Chablis – but nicely balanced by acidity and texture. No oak is used so it might surprise you if you don’t like the taste of “Chardonnay”.
Betomish Blanco Tarragona 2015 (11.0%, €15.95 at H2G)
Irish brothers Tom and Eoin Gallagher have created a modern wine brand aiming to offer well made wines that reflect their Catalan origins without being tied down by too much tradition. At present their wines are just a white from Tarragona and a red from Priorat (see below), though they do have plans to increase their range.
The bulk of the white consists of 70% local favourite Macabeo, to which 20% Muscat (for aromas) and 10% Sauvignon Blanc (for freshness) are added. The Muscat certainly comes through on the fragrant nose, while orange, grapefruit and lemon hit the palate. It’s a well made wine that’s more than the sum of its parts, enjoyable to quaff on its own or pretty handy with dinner.
Mandrarossa Ciaca Bianca Fiano Sicilia 2015 (13.5%, €15.95 at H2G)
Fiano is probably most well regarded in Campania where it makes up at least 85% of the DOCG Fiano di Avellino, but it also performs well in Sicily. It has come back into favour over the last decade or so as it has more character than many of the higher-yielding but more neutral grapes which are widespread in Italy (you know the ones I mean).
Mandrarassa’s vines are situated on the south west corner of Sicily, almost touching distance from Africa. This is a 100% Fiano with aromas and flavours of all manner of citrus and mouth-watering stone fruit. It’s the finest Fiano I’ve tasted to date!
Also check out the Mandrarossa Nero d’Avola if you like blueberries!
Cuarto Dominio Chento Reserva Malbec 2013 (14.0%, €21.95 at H2G)
This is undoubtedly a Malbec, but an elegant and perfumed one at that – I wonder if the vineyards are at a significant altitude? More research required! Although €6 more than its unoaked little brother, I found this to be the better value for money of the pair. Plum, blackberry and blackcurrant are on show here, with a little cinnamon spice for extra interest. Doesn’t have to be drunk with a steak, but probably will be!
BeTomish Tinto Priorat 2013 (14.5%, €23.50 at H2G)
The Gallaghers’ red is a blend of local and international grapes: 60% Garnacha, 20% Merlot, 10% Syrah and 10% Samso. Priorat is one of the trendiest wine regions of Spain, but its wines can sometimes be very tight and unapproachable in their youth. This is an open book of a wine – lots of dark black fruit and spice, but accessible and easy to like. It’s not a frivolous wine, but has a very modern sensibility – a winner for me!
Corte Adami Valpolicella Superiore 2014 (13.5%, €21.95 at H2G)
A blend of local grapes Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella. To receive the Superiore tag the wine has to be a minimum of 12.0% and spend a year in barrel. Valpolicella wines are traditionally quite light (hence the qualifying alcohol level for Superiore is still fairly modest). To boost the body and intensity of flavour, the producer of this wine actually dry some of the grapes for a short time before fermentation, as is done on a larger scale for Amarone.
However they got there, it works! The nose had enticing spice aromas which follow through to the palate with ripe cherry and black fruits, plus a little vanilla. This is probably the finest Valpolicella I’ve ever had!
You might also want to check out these previous articles on Honest 2 Goodness wines: