Wine editor MARY DOWEY recommends the one style of wine that works well with most Christmas foods and the perfect stockingfiller for wine lovers …
Les Deux Cols Alizé Côtes du Rhône 2016
If you’re on the lookout for one style of wine that works well with most Christmas foods and earns a thumbs-up even from people who don’t drink red wine often, pounce on Côtes du Rhône. Not a mass-produced supermarket version but something with a bit more stuffing as well as fruity charm. Les Deux Cols is one of my favourites. Pure, juicy hedonism in a glass.
What makes it even more appealing is its Irish connection. It is made by Simon Tyrrell of Rhône-focussed importers Tyrrell & Co and Charles Derain, a former sommelier of Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud who runs his own importing company Nomad Wines. Gifted with terrific palates and terrific energy (Simon has recently become a fully fledged winemaker), these two discriminating dynamos are responsible for giving the Irish market some of its most exciting wines.
Whereas most Côtes du Rhône are predominantly heady Grenache, Les Deux Cols 2016 is a tad firmer and fresher – 56% Syrah supported by Grenache and a dash of Cinsault for juicy verve. It combines richness with silky elegance in an irresistible way and goes splendidly with everything from turkey, ham or pork to punchy vegetable-based stews, retro macaroni cheese or mushrooms on toast. You’ll notice that it also slips down tastily all by itself.
I was delighted to see Les Deux Cols and a great many other wines that I admire in 2019 Wilson on Wine. Running for the past five years, this annual paperback details the most interesting wines recently sampled by Irish Times wine writer John Wilson. The 2019 round-up of 123 bottles is arranged, as usual, by colour and style, with prices, stockists, food suggestions and blessedly clear bottle images for each.
Not only is it the best wine-buying guide on the Irish market; it’s also an intriguing summary of the latest wine trends. Austria and Portugal are gathering momentum. Spain remains on a roll. In come more organic, natural and even orange wines, and a fine wine section to drool over probably reflects the growing strength of our economy.
Forget wine stoppers and other nicknacks – this is the best possible stockingfiller for a wine lover, whether he or she knows a little or a lot. You’d better buy a couple of copies, though. Dip in for a minute or two and you’ll want to keep one for yourself.
Les Deux Cols Alizé Côtes du Rhône 2016 is available from Searsons, Monkstown and ; 64 Wine, Glasthule; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock; Ely Wine Store, Maynooth; Lilac Wines, Dublin 3; Redmonds, Dublin 6; Green Man Wines, Dublin 6W; Drink Store, Dublin 7; Deveneys, Dublin 14; Whelehans, Loughlinstown; La Touche, Greystones; Fields, Skibbereen, usually €17.95.
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