Warning – wine ahead
• Enowine, The Crescent, Monkstown, Co Dublin (01 230 3500)
• Enowine, Mayor Square, IFSC, Dublin 1 (01 636 0616).
THE two Enowine shops are unique, offering dozens of their range for tasting all day every day, the bottles arranged in dispensers around the shop, the whites and rosés in coolers of course.
You get a little ATM-style debit card at the counter where you also charge it up for a tenner or whatever amount you want to spend – the 25ml tasting samples start at 50c. Help yourself to one of the good, generous glasses they offer, put the card in the slot of the section you want to start with, and off you go.
I had a long-overdue catch-up tasting at Enowine’s IFSC this week where I found quite a few to recommend, and four or five that stood out as extraordinarily good. Although I’d recommend all the wines below, I’d particularly highlight
 The gewürztraminer
 Boschkloof cabernet sauvignon
 Vigna Piccola Chianti Classico
 Bodegas Martué
Especially amid the convulsions in the banking and economic life of this country, I couldn’t help feeling the IFSC is a strangely ironic location for Enowine. The suck-it-and-see openness, and the way the store puts authority back into the hands of us ordinary people exhibits pretty much the opposite philosophy to the deranged property pyramid scheme that we’re all paying for now. By the way, that road sign above alerting oenophiles to impending wine is on Custom House Quay not far from Enowine.
The Crossings Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough New Zealand 2008 €14.99.
No surprises here in a handsome fragrant wine that runs the gamut of kiwi sauvignon blanc — from fresh firm acidity to flashes of richer tropical fruit. The safe but rewarding bet of today’s two sauvignons.
3 Stones Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2008 €13.95.
Buckle up! Especially when compared to Enowine’s estimable, poised Crossings sauv blanc, this is an exciting roller-coaster ride up and down the kiwi spectrum of the grape, from grass and asparagus to lemons and pineapple. A bargain.
Becker Gewürztraminer Alsace 2004 €16.95.
The gewürztraminer grape, mainly grown in Alsace, in Eastern France, and Germany isn’t for everyone as it can be overwhelmingly intense. Typically exhibiting heady, floral aromas, an often unctuous texture and apparent sweetness (even when it’s quite dry) wines made from this grape just don’t fit in with our expectations of what wine can – or should – be. A pity, as it can be a delicious glassful, and even an excellent food wine offering exciting contrast to highly spicy food. This is a very good example, its floral perfume matched by ripe tropical fruit, its sweetness leavened by an almost minty minerality.
Chateau Saint Florin Rosé Bordeaux 2008 €11.99.
An untaxing, dainty compromise between the much derided but entirely valid blush style and a full-throated rosé, this surprisingly characterful pink cabernet merlot blend would be excellent company on a warm summer afternoon.
Champy Macon-Uchizy 2007 €14.50.
A rare appearance by Burgundy on this blog, this certainly earns its place — complex, elegant and long, it’s good value compared to its peers among premium chardonnays from anywhere else in the world. Just don’t ask me to pronounce its name.
Beaumirail Vacqueyras Noir et Or 2007 €13.
Confusingly, the producer, Gigondas la Cave, bears the name of a neighbouring appellation. But there’s no mistaking the rich elegant parade of red fruit and spice from this southern Rhone blend of grenache, syrah and mourvèdre.
Bodegas Martué vino de la Tierra de Castilla 2007 €12. 99.
Another eureka moment — the nose alone recommends this Spanish red blend (tempranillo, cabernet and perhaps syrah). Don’t be fooled by its lack of pretension: the come-hither of its scent is followed up by a gorgeously nuanced, complex, elegant wine.
Unlike all the other bottles featured here, this excellent Spanish red doesn’t seem to be listed on Enowine’s online shop but I presume that’s a temporary aberration.
Arnaud de Lamy Ch Fontareche Tradition Corbières 2006 €10.95.
The bargain of the bunch, this grenache, syrah and carignan blend has all the generosity you’d expect from this appellation and much of the subtlety you wouldn’t expect.
Il Vescovino Vigna Piccola Chianti Classico 2004 €15.99.
One of my favourites at the tasting, this is gorgeous fragrant sangiovese, stuffed with a generous platter of fresh red fruit lifted by touches of savoury herbal notes.
Boschkloof Cabernet Sauvignon Stellenbosch 2000 (€14.99, six for €60).
My money-no-object favourite of the bunch, this South African is stunningly rich and complex, its beautifully nuanced red fruit and spice evolving in front of your eyes. A big wine for when merely big just isn’t enough. ♦