Mairead Robinson suggests some wines that will go easy on your physical and financial health
Christmas is a welcome time for celebration, a break from the dark days of winter. And while we enjoy getting together with friends and family, it can often be the case of over-doing it, and left feeling the pain afterwards. So this year, why not stock up on some de-alcoholised wines, along with your usual shopping? First of all it is good to have something to offer the drivers and those not drinking who visit your house, rather than a cup of tea or a fruit juice. Also most of these wines are easy on the pocket , and finally they taste just as good as the real thing.
You might have noticed in your local off-licence or supermarket that there is a growing section of non-alcohol wines, this is usually placed just beside the entrance to the alcoholic section. It is definitely worth checking them out and picking up a few to have over the festive period.
Santa Rita 120 is a very popular wine range here in Ireland, and their Sauvignon Blanc is rated as being among the best in the wine producing world. Last April I included their low-alcohol Sauvignon Blanc at a tasting in Dublin, and people were pleasantly surprised at how much they liked it. Now I am recommending the de-alcoholised Sauvignon Blanc which comes from the Central Valley, made with grapes that are hand picked and only after fermentation is the wine de-alcoholised and blended. The result is a fresh mineral wine that is balanced with a fruity sweetness. It has a cellaring potential of eighteen months, pairs well with fish and salads and is a perfect accompaniment with canapés and nibbles. Best of all, it is now available in Tesco for just €5
Moving to Argentina, specifically the Mendoza region which is famous for its Malbec, we have a stunning Rose from Dona Paula. Rose is not just a summer wine, it is great for celebrations and also for snacks and nibbles at a gathering. It adds a cheer to the party and always goes down well. This Rose has a pale pink colour and flavours of berries with a soft and balanced finish. It comes with an alcohol level of 11.5% so once again is a good lunch time option. It is available now in SuperValu, Tesco and Dunnes reduced from €15 to just €10 A real Christmas bargain.
Moving on to red wines, once again it is South America that scores highly for both quality and value. Dona Paula shines again with a stunning 100% high altitude estate Malbec that comes in at 14.5% alcohol. It has an intense violet colour and in the nose there are aromas of black fruit, violets and pears. It has great structure and concentration and is a bargain at €15.99 It is currently available at Tesco, SuperValu and selected Dunnes Stores.
If you like to compare Malbecs, Santa Rita 120 have a very good Reserva Especial with an intense purple-red colour. It has rich aromas such as cherries, plums and blueberries, along with violets, dried plums, and walnuts. It is a well-balanced wine that culminates in a smooth lingering finish. It is a good 13.5% alcohol and is currently available in Tesco, SuperValu and Spar down from €13.50 to just €9
While the 120 wine range is very popular here in Ireland, not everybody is familiar with the back-story to these wines. According to legend, 120 patriots, exhausted after a long, hard battle during the fight for Chile’s independence, reached the lands belonging to Santa Rita. On that fateful night in 1814, these forces of liberty found refuge in the estate cellars. Today, within these same cellars, the award-winning 120 wines are crafted to honour their heroic character.
And finally to another great red that really has a place at the table this Christmas. Medalla Real Reserva Syrah 2019 is an ideal wine to go with your turkey. With its intense ruby colour, aromas of red fruits like plums. It has great balance and a fruity finish. Alcohol is at 13.9% and it is an excellent wine for food. It is available for €15 at Tesco.