We’re always interested to learn a little more about good quality, affordable wines. With plenty of al fresco meals planned this summer, we were delighted to get some recommendations from the experts at The Wine Buff, renowned for “extraordinary wines at ordinary prices”. Their mission is to take the mystery out of wine, allowing everyone to enjoy great wines from passionate producers.
A chain of franchised wine stores, The Wine Buff has 10 shops in Ireland (Cork, Dungarvan, Ennis, Galway, Gorey, Kilkenny, Limerick, Nenagh, Portarlington and Sligo), along with a store in Saint-Émilion in Bordeaux. Each is 100 percent Irish owned and managed, offering an exclusive selection of wines imported directly from the world’s finest sustainable family-run vineyards. There is no middle man; just the farmer, The Wine Buff and you.
When choosing the perfect pairing for your alfresco gathering, Mike McDonnell, Managing Director of The Wine Buff, has this advice. “If it’s rosé wine you like, make sure it’s crisp, dry and mouthwatering, such as Chateau Beaubois from the Rhone Valley. Alternatively, go for zesty, refreshing whites — think Finca Arantei Albarino from Spain.”
“But summer drinking isn’t all about chilled whites and rosés: it’s a good time to try some alternative reds,” Mike continues. “Our diets in the summer tend to change to fresher, less complicated dishes, so it’s worth matching with fruity, lighter style reds from the cooler wine growing regions or reds with a lower alcohol content. I like to pop a red in a bucket of ice for 10 minutes — it adds extra freshness to the wine. A great option for a hot day is the Ontañón Ecológico, slightly chilled.”
We’ve collated just some of Mike’s favourite summer wines, all available at The Wine Buff:
- Swartland Contours Merlot, RRP €12.99. A fruit driven Merlot, the palate is soft and well balanced with lots of fruit and berry flavours including raspberry, blackcurrant and cherry.
- Swartland Contours Sauvignon Blanc, RRP €12.99. Zesty and aromatic, this Sauvignon Blanc is crisp, clean and fresh on the palate with green pepper notes, grassy flavours and a hint of green tomato stalks.
- Château La Bourrée, RRP €17.99. This meaty red from Bordeaux packs a punch and is an ideal match for grilled food on the barbecue or a succulent steak.
- Ocaso Malbec 2019, RRP €16.99. A medium-bodied Malbec from Mendoza with black cherry and hints of blackberry and spice coming through. Offering more finesse than most Argentinian Malbecs, it’s a great all round summer food wine.
- Bodega Ontañón Rioja Crianza 2016, RRP €17.99. This Rioja is Spain in a glass and will transport you to thoughts of clear blue skies, warm summer evenings and great tapas.
- Arboreto Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, RRP €12.99. For barbecues and grilled meat dishes, this light- to medium-bodied red wine with plum fruit and dark cherry offers the perfect pairing.
- Château Beaubois Rosé, RRP €15.99. A biodynamic rosé from the Rhone valley, this pale pink rosé features aniseed, raspberry and redcurrant notes, delivering a lively mouthfeel of summer red fruits.
- Les Estourettes Provence Rosé, RRP €20.99. An organic south of France classic, this wine is salmon pink with expressive aromas of red fruit such as raspberries and wild strawberries while the mouth is fruity, fresh and well balanced. A great wine for sipping on a warm summer evening.
- Finca Arantei Albarino, RRP €19.99. A great single estate wine from this superb region of North West Spain, this features a zesty lime and pineapple nose with bright peaches and apple fruit on the palate.
- Ontañón Ecológico, RRP €14.99. A modern, young tasting Rioja featuring cherry and raspberry aromas balanced by sweet spice. Try it slightly chilled.