The Marches region in north eastern region of Italy is one of the most overlooked regions in the wine world. Of course there are good reasons to pass by the Marches quickly, not least is the fact that large portions of it are indeed a fairly flat and sweaty coastal plain. Worse has been its propensity for producing, or rather, overproducing mediocre, bland wines. This would be hard to recover from if you were the country’s only wine producing region but encircled by Tuscany, with its Chianti andMontalcino and Venice with its Amarone and perky Pinot Grigio , this makes the Marches task very difficult. So, when you taste this steely, well elaborated and clean white wine with aspirations towards something from Alsace or the Loire at €9, it is a really delicious development. This would be excellent with a rich creamy pasts dish or perhaps a smoked salmon starter. Worth seeking out.
Pegos Claros, DO Palmela, Portugal 2005 (89) around €14.50 from Fallon and Byrne, Exchequer Street, Dublin 2; Wine Boutique, 2 Thorncastle Street Ringsend Dublin 4 and from selected wine shops nationwide
Portugal is producing increasingly fashionable and highly commercial red wines. The Douro region is at the forefront of a stable of highly fashionable wineries and wine makers, but this wine like an example we recommended 2 weeks ago, is from the south from regions to the west and south west of Lisbon. These are not yet being lauded by the wine critics and prices have remained attractive like the wines. Last week billionaire winery owner BernardMargrez , who owns dozens of Chateaux in France and across the world, bought his first Douro property with the proceeds of a sale in France, he stated that an icon wine was his goal. This is now a problem, the wines of Portugal’s Douro are excellent, but increasingly very dear. This wine benefits from Douro like enthusiasm, excellent weather and unique local grapes, but without the hype. It is a rich, dense, dark wine with cherry and blackcurrant notes, quite firm tannis and a toasty, very slightly spicy finish. It would be perfect with a chewy, pink rack of lamb with a bright authentic ratatouille.
Clos Du Pape Blanc, AC Chateauneuf Du Pape 2003 (90) €39.95 from O’Brien’s Wines shops nationwide and online at wine.ie
Sometimes a wine is so famous and so celebrated it gets overlooked in the rush to find the next big thing, well Chateauneuf is one wine region that has suffered this problem more than most. In the annual drive to investigate the admittedly excellent wines in beautiful villages that surroundChateauneuf Du Pape in the southern Rhone, the main game in town does sometimes get a raw deal. This is especially so of the white wines of Chateauneuf which do need a little push to attract people’s attention. The white wine from Clos Du pape is perhaps the finest in the commune, but it suffers from one slight issue. It needs time, plenty of time before it transforms from a rather elegant and firm white wine of interest, into the mellow and opulent white wine of desire that it can become with 5 or six years of age. The 2003 is now entering this phase and remarkably O’Briens have bottle scattered across the country of this highly desirable vintage. It is just developing rich mellow lime and boiled fruit notes on the palate, with spice and some hints of coffee astoundingly on the nose. It is a rich, daring and intriguing wine with another decade of evolution to come. A match for a super elegantpanna cotta or a plate of cold hard Comte cheese.