Way back in the 1980’s …. sounds like a bit of an old song … start again.
When the ‘modern’ Irish wine trade was in its infancy (early 1980’s) my two brothers and I began to import wines from Italy. (The Verling brothers did likewise). We were, I suppose, trendsetters. Were we? Perhaps it was a bit of bravado but in truth it began out of a necessity to be different and to make a profit in an industry dominated by a few large companies who not only controlled distribution channels but also had control of profit margins. Italy had such diversity and (at that time) only a few of its wines were being imported – Chianti, Frascati and the big three from the Veneto; Soave, Valpolicella and Bardolino.
Today, profit margin is controlled by the supermarkets, distribution is more amenable than ever before and quality wines from Italy are easy to find. Lidl has now added to this mix by introducing value through a range of carefully chosen Italian wines to complement the Lidl Italiamo Food Theme in all of its stores from the 13th of this month.
The range of wines on offer is very good and the following are well worth checking out:
Podere M. Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG 2015 Vernaccia (from Gimignano) needs to be ‘found’. It is one of the world’s best food grapes that no-one seems to have heard of! This is a well dressed up wine that’s drinking very well to a fine finish – the mid-palate of this wine craves food to bring it out: creamed pasta and a well-chilled Vernaccia …. €9.99
Gavi di Gavi DOCG 2014 I’ve always had a grà for Gavi. It comes from just above Genoa and is made from the Cortese grape. Everything in this wine is pitched well: fine structure and great fruit acid balance; lean and lightly warmed, straw like, fruit with loads of textural mouth feel. €9.99
Morellino di Scansano DOCG 2014 This region is on the Med coastline of Tuscany and uses the Sangiovese grape to brings us fresh, crisp and soft fruited wines. Really fine summer drinking. €9.99
(Try the Nero d’Avola IGP from Sicily at €13.99 for the magnum (1.5liters). Really great price for a barbecue/party wine!
‘WTG?’ In my notes means ‘Want To Try The Grape’? I am constantly encouraging folk to broaden their grape horizons. It doesn’t always work (at times it’s a grape deeezaster …..!) but how else are we to find out what we like and what we don’t like? Take Nebbiolo from the north of Italy; high tannin, high alcohol, high acid, high fruit; throw in a touch of warmed asphalt. Fabulous?!
Barbaresco DOCG 2013 Light tawny and a light warmed tar, great acid and fine ripe fruit, rich tannic grip and long warming finish. You just have to love it with a medium rare, juicy sirloin. €12.99
Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso DOC 2012 The name here covers all bases! Valpol Ripasso 2012 does it for me. Cherry like fruit, ageing, some baked fruit cake and fig, soft, rich mellow wine with a highish alcohol that makes you sleepy in the sunshine. Great price for one of Ireland’s current favourite Italian categories. €9.99