AS with any biggish wine tasting, some interesting themes emerged as I lurched around the recent Good Wine Show in Cork.
First there’s the relatively rare phenomenon where I find myself becoming an enthusiastic advocate of a winery’s entire range. Sure, the world is awash in ‘good’ wineries, any of whose products one should be happy to consume, and whose wines could sit nicely in anyone’s drinking repertoire. But some ranges are further impressive by providing something interesting, characterful and of good value in every one of its wines, at all price points and in each wine style it makes.
The two wineries scattered among Bubble Brothers’ stands that impressed me so were Mas Codina and Ch Jouclary.
Mas Codina pulled off this mightily impressive trick across the widest variety of styles – white, red, rose and sparkling. And a pair from Ch Jouclary was like a tutorial in what oaking adds to, and subtracts from, a wine.
Of course Bubble Brothers was only one leg of the stool at that tasting, the other two being Curious Wines of Bandon and Karwig’s, Carrigaline – both of which also sell online. I’ll be following up here shortly with my Christmas dinner wish-lists from all three, along with other Irish retailers.
In today’s Irish Examiner I’m suggesting you try out a pair from Ch Jouclary and all four wines from Mas Codina. At the Bubble Brothers stands I also revisited some of their smashing wines such as those from Mount Langi and Yering Station, and below are a handful of others I’d highly recommend.
Marlborough is of course the best-known and most sought-after region in New Zealand, the north-east coast of cool South Island made famous by the smashing but grossly over-rated Cloudy Bay. That winery, and the many others which have successfully emulated it, makes wines whose exotic pungency is a treat for me and many wine lovers. But frankly the excitement can also be exhausting, and can easily scare the womenfolk and servants.
Further to the west, nestling in a sheltered north-facing bay, lies the region of Nelson. It strikes me that the wines from there tend to be more simpatico, more rounded and reasonable citizens than the Marlboroughs.
And so it is with the alert, vibrant Brightwater Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2004 (€16.95), with all the urgency you’d expect of a premium Kiwi sauv blanc, but that flash accompanied by the bang of gorgeous complexity. I also greatly appreciated the freshness, wonderfully complex nose and generous length of Brightwater Vineyards Riesling 2008 (€18.50).
And finally, if you’re musing about what wine Santy might pop in your sock, how about Agostino Pavia e Figli La Marescialla Barbera Superiore 2006 (€26.95). This is superb. Generous, complex and seemingly going on forever, its elegant richness all about seducing rather than overwhelming your palate. Habitués of Bubble Brothers might be more familiar with the estimable Bricco Blino Barbera 2007 (€16.95) from the same producer but if you’ve the bobs I’d suggest you consider its more upmarket stablemate cos I think its one of those cases where each extra euro really does count. Yum!
BUY these wines online from www.bubblebrothers.com, or at Bubble Brothers’ shops in Cork at The English Market and Marina Commercial Park, Centre Park Road.
The following stores stock wines from the Bubble Brothers range.
Cork City: JJ O’Driscoll’s, Ballintemple; O’Keefe’s Delicatessen, St Lukes Cross; Sunday’s Well Corner Shop; The Rendezvous Bar, Model Farm Road;
Co Cork: Ballycotton Seafood, Midleton; Harrington’s Deli/Café, Ardgroom; Lucey’s Butchers, Mallow; O’Callaghan’s Delicatessen, Michelstown; Stuffed Olive, Bantry; Taste, Castletownbere; URRU, Bandon; West Cork Gourmet, Ballydehob.
Clare Jayne’s Off License, Ennis.
Dublin Butlers Pantry at Greystones, Sandycove and Temple Hill; Morton’s of Ranelagh, Rathmines; Wilde & Green, Milltown, D6. Galway Mortons; The Vineyard.
Kerry Jack’s Delicatessen, Killorglin; John R’s Delicatessen, Listowel; O’Driscoll’s Off Licence, Cahersiveen.
Waterford Nude Food, Dungarvan;
Airports Travel Value Retail at Cork, Dublin and Shannon airports.