The Wine Buff, €15.99
France often takes the lead in the world of wine and it has the Terra Vitis certification which is dedicated to sustainability. This is an ongoing commitment to sustainable viticulture where every action taken by the winery is designed to achieve the best possible balance between respect for the environment, for society as a whole and for the economic sustainability of wine estates. The Orosquette family in the south of Minervois have achieved this accreditation for their Gravette Chardonnay. An excellent expression of the chardonnay grapes from the area, this rich white has peach and melon notes with pops of citrus add good acidity. There is a distinct creaminess present in its long finish which will pair beautifully with the mackerel crostini.
We’re heading to another small family winery, this time in Rías Baixas. Forjas do Salnés has, like most other wineries in Gallicia, focused on the white Albariño grape but, interestingly, they have also diversified into red wine by recovering century-old vines of Caíno, Espadeiro and Loureiro, and are celebrating the true nature of the land. But it is their Albariño which has blown our socks off this summer. It hits all those crisp citrus notes of lemon, lime and grapefruit but you’ll also get some green apple and peach and a gush of salinity. Ageing on the lees, followed by a light filtration, adds good complexity. Serve with the gildas, it will cut through the oil of those delicious anchioves and olives, adding a splash of freshness.
Simply Better at Dunnes Stores, €15.99
I’ve already bought the ingredients to try out those fantastic spicy tuna empanadas, and I know for sure that I’ll be washing them down with this Peter & Peter Riesling. The beauty about Riesling is that it has enough body to stand up to those more complex, spicy flavours and this bottle has all the ingredients to enjoy with food or to sip on its own.
The grapes for this wine are handpicked in the Mosel Valley of Germany. Fresh citrus flavours of lime are complemented by orchard fruits of apple and pear and a touch of honey sweetness comes through, with apricot and peach. The sweetness in this Riesling is subtle but it’s the mineral acidity that leaves an impression.
The Wine Buff, €14.99.
The Wine Buff has a great selection of boutique wines focusing on organic and biodynamic with a good explainer about these terms on its website. You can’t beat a full-bodied red to enjoy al fresco with an antipasti board, so load up the meats and cheese for this Compagnia Vignaioli Saento from Puglia in Italy. The Apollonio Wine Company has a long history in this area and has been awarded Impresa Storica d’Italia (historic company of Italy). Sustainability goes hand in hand with this great wine, produced by fourth-generation winemakers Marcello and Massimiliano Apollonio. You’ll get lots of dark fruit – blackberries, blackcurrants and some jammy plum – and three months of oak aging contributes to a memorable vanilla finish.
O’Briens Wines, €16.95 (on offer at €11.95 until 16 July)
At O’Briens Wines you’ll find a selection of organic and biodynamic wine as well as some brands which focus on biodiversity and sustainability. Bodegas Norton in Mendoza in Argentina focuses on sustainable practices and the balance of local ecosystems. Starting in the vineyard, the protection of soil, air and water resources are paramount and within the winery, energy and conservation of resources (such as water) are the norm. This careful attention to detail results in a modern Malbec with bright juicy notes of strawberries, raspberries, plum and black cherries, complemented by a sweet spice finish. Very smooth and easy to drink. Marinate a chicken with a spicy rub, slow cook in the barbecue and pop this bottle.
Marks & Spencer, €13
It can be challenging to source sustainable options on the supermarket shelf. However, the M&S Found range is pushing boundaries within this market. It focuses on grape varieties and sustainable practices, allowing consumers to experience new and intriguing profiles. We’re travelling to Austria to try Zweigelt, a fruity red which is similar in style to Beaujolais. Interestingly, Zweigelt is known for its unique combination of sweet and sour and this one fits the bill. Expect lots of red fruit upfront – plums, forest fruit and raspberries – but you’ll also get cherries which verge on the slightly sour side, adding a nice bite of tartness. It’s unoaked and silky and will work great with grilled chicken on the barbecue or a vibrant penne arrabbiata.
Marks & Spencer, €11.75
For our first rosé, we’re sticking with the Found range. Many of the wineries in the range have strong sustainability credentials; taking part in carbon offsetting schemes, water management programmes or organic and biodynamic farming. This approach is taken by winemakers Fernando Machado and Henrique Lopes in their family winery Quinta das Arcas. Using local Espadeiro and Touriga Nacional grapes, they have created this delightful vinho verde (a much-loved Portuguese white) which has been transformed with a vibrant, pink twist. With a beautifully delicate spritz, this pale pink rosé feels just like summer with strawberries and cream. You’ll also get notes of pear and some nice acidity from pops of lime and pink grapefruit. This will work great with our Fraisier cake.
O’Briens Wines, €24.45 (on offer for €19.95 until 16 July)
We’re heading to Siciliy’s Santa Tresa winery, which is run by brother-and-sister team Stefano and Marina Girelli. Their Il Frappato Spumante Brut Rosé is an organic wine. In order to be certified organic, a winery must look to respect local ecosystems, soil fertility, natural resources, increase biodiversity and promote ecological cycles. In the process, they have also created a superb rosé. Fresh and vibrant, the base strawberry taste profile is complemented by flavours of peach and pomegranate with a pop of cherry. A vibrant stream of fine bubbles makes this perfect for sipping in the garden. It’s also the kind of wine that will bring you from seafood aperitifs to strawberry desserts – especially the pistachio and rosewater pastry.
O’Briens Wines, Avoca, McCambridges Galway, World Wide Wines Waterford (among others), €26.65
Having a sustainable focus is as important for big winemakers as it is for the family-run operations as climate change continues to have an impact on vineyards. Whispering Angel, the brand that helped drive the ‘rosé renaissance’, celebrates its 17th vintage, but 2022 was a challenging year as the growing season yielded small berries with an average weight drop of 25%. This was expected, following a scorching summer. However, because of their commitment to long-term, meticulous vineyard management, it was an untroubled vintage. This can be experienced in the glass, as refreshing strawberry, raspberry and grapefruit flavours make a delicate rosé which has a beautiful crisp, clean finish.