Wine editor MARY DOWEY suggests a RICH SPANISH RED with IRISH ROOTS – and a tasting you SHOULDN’T MISS …
Oludeo La Soñadora, Yecla 2016
I’ve lost count of the number of terrific Spanish wines I’ve recommended in the past couple of years – all distinctively different but offering levels of quality that other countries struggle to match for the same money. Here, unapologetically, comes another. Two good reasons apart from value and verve. One, it’s the kind of warming, spicy red that helps to make this time of year bearable. Two, it’s made by an Irishman with a brilliant palate – Simon Tyrrell.
I’ve known Simon for years because Tyrrell & Company, the wine-importing company he set up here, specialises in the Rhône valley, a part of the world that I’ve taken a particularly close interest in myself. A few years ago he embarked on a degree in wine production at Plumpton College in East Sussex so that he could start making wines in the Rhône: something he is doing with considerable flair. Now he’s spread his wings into south-eastern Spain. The man is a dynamo.
You only have to lower your nose towards a glass of Oludeo La Soñadora to sense its dark-fruited, spicy appeal. It’s 100% Monastrell, the Spanish equivalent of Mourvèdre – a grape which can produce firm, savoury wines or, in a hotter climate, over-lavish whoppers. Yecla, the small wine region in question here, is capable of both styles. I need hardly tell you this red sits at the elegant end of the spectrum. Although generous in flavour it has built-in freshness as the grapes come from vineyards with warm days but long, cool nights.
The tannins that typify Monastrell are amply present (even though they’re fine), so this is a bottle to enjoy with food rather than by itself. Try it with a gutsy, flavoursome main course, the meatier the better.
If you’re curious to sample it – and 120 other worthwhile wines – buy your tickets now for Searsons’ Annual Portfolio Tasting. It takes place at the Marker Hotel, Grand Canal Square, on Monday February 12, 6-8pm. Tickets, €15, are available on www.searsons.com or from the Monkstown shop. Over 30 excellent producers from over 30 regions will be present. Winter Monday evenings rarely offer so much fun.
From Searsons, Monkstown and www.searsons.com; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock; DrinkStore, Dublin 7; Dalys, Boyle, Co Roscommon, usually around €16.95.
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