Wines from small producers for about €20

John Wilson: As prices rise, these choices from interesting producers won’t break the bank

My efforts to support smaller, more interesting producers are often stymied by price. These may be justified as boutique wineries face higher overheads due to economies of scale, but they seem to be getting more expensive, driven by greater costs. So, this week three wines from small scale producers for around €20. The Clare Valley Riesling is not made by a small winery, but I include it here as it offers great value for money.

Les Deux Cols, owned and run by two Irish men and a French man, is based in one of the cooler parts of the Southern Rhône, a great place to be with climate change. As well as some excellent white wines, the estate produces several very elegant red wines, primarily from the grenache grape.

There are very few artisan winemakers who produce wines from three different regions, but it doesn’t seem to faze Germán Blanco, whose wines include a Rioja, a range from Ribera del Duero and Alta Bierzo. All of his wines shone at a portfolio tasting with specialist Spanish wine importer Vinostito last year, the Clos Pepín in particular. It is made from a blend of local grapes including mencía.

The organic unoaked Viña Ilusión Rioja is made by Martín Alonso Etayo and Gloria Plaza Medina from vines grown at high altitude (700m) on their small vineyard, farmed using Fukuoka-inspired permaculture biodynamic methods.

Aldi Specially Selected Clare Valley Riesling

12%, €8.99

Vibrant crisp and dry with lime zest and green apple fruits. A good aperitif and a fantastic match for crab salad.

From Aldi

Vińa Ilusión Rioja 2021 Organic

12.5%, €18.60

Delicious concentrated pure dark cherry and plum fruits with well-integrated tannins on the dry finish. Try it with lamb dishes or a Spanish bean stew.

From Roundwood Stores; MacCurtain, Cork; Fallon & Byrne, D2; Butlers Pantry; Siyps.com; Sheridan’s Cheesemongers; Drinkstore, D7; Martins, D3; Ely Wine Store, Maynooth; Wineonline.ie

Clos Pepín 2021, Casa Aurora, Bierzo, Spain

12.5%, €22.50

Medium-bodied with fresh redcurrant and raspberry fruits, light tannins and a savoury finish. Delightful wine. Serve with duck, venison or red peppers.

From A Taste of Spain, D2; 64 Wine, Glasthule; Drinkstore, D7; Redmonds, D6

Ô Font 2021, Côtes du Rhône, Les Deux Cols

13.5%, €18.95

Medium-bodied with very fine smooth dark fruits, a savoury edge and a lingering finish. A very polished wine. Drink it with red meats, firm cheese or mushroom dishes.

From The Counter, Letterkenny; The Wine House, Trim; Morton’s, Galway; 64 Wine; Searsons, Monkstown; La Touche, Greystones; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock; The Drinks Store, D7; Fallon & Byrne, D2; Green Man D6W

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