1 year ago

Mary Dowey’s Bottle of the Week: A Seductive Pinot Noir


This week wine editor MARY DOWEY selects a seductive New Zealand Pinot Noir – and recommends a stand-out wine festival …

Astrolabe Marlborough Pinot Noir 2015

Pinot Noir is the top red grape for sensualists, it’s often said, while Cabernet Sauvignon is more likely to appeal to intellectuals. I think there’s a grain of truth in that argument. Impressive Cabernets demand to be picked apart. You start thinking about their various elements and feel the urge to reach for a notebook. Impressive Pinots on the other hand just demand to be enjoyed. Their heady perfume, silky texture and sheer yumminess invite another sip, and another, and another…

Burgundy can lay claim to the very finest but by golly New Zealand knows all about capturing Pinot’s charm without necessarily charging silly money. A month or so ago I recommended Escarpment The Edge from Martinborough. This week it’s the turn of Astrolabe from NZ’s best known wine region, Marlborough. With luck before the summer is out I’ll make it a hat trick with a pretty Pinot from Central Otago way down south. 

From a family winery that has turned out to be a big success for O’Briens Wines, Astrolabe Pinot Noir is a pure delight. Aromas of cherries and blackberries with the merest hint of spice pave the way for a smooth, lively palate with no hard edges. It’s medium-bodied rather than a blockbuster, so is perfect to enjoy over the next four to five months with dishes built around tuna, duck, pork or lamb. Flavoursome vegetable dishes featuring tomatoes, aubergines or mushrooms will do it justice too. 

This is just one of the hundreds of wines that will be open for tasting at the O’Briens Spring Wine Festival which takes place in the Strand Hotel, Limerick on Thursday May 9 (6-9pm) and at The Printworks, Dublin Castle, on Friday May 10 (6-9pm) and Saturday May 11 (2-5pm & 6-9pm). The Limerick event will feature around 200 wines from some 50 winemakers while Dublin will be introduced to almost 300 from about 65 producers.  

Tickets (€20 for Limerick, €30 for Dublin) include the festival brochure, a Tipperary Crystal tasting glass to use and take home, plus the opportunity to sample as many wines as you like. Proceeds will go to Snowflakes Autism Support in Dublin and the three children’s charities supported by Live 95nFM in Limerick. Put it in the diary now and organise your tickets – see below. Over 18s only: children can’t tag along. 

Alcohol: 13.5%

From O’Briens, €25.45.

Tickets for O’Briens Spring Wine Festival in Limerick and Dublin (see above for more details) can be bought at all branches of O’Briens Wines and via www.obrienswine.ie.


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