Four fine wines with strong Irish connections

John Wilson: Producers in Spain, France and Slovenia fly the flag in style

The Gallagher family, from Boyle, Co Roscommon, emigrated to Catalunya in 2001. Later, parents John and Joan moved to Falset, a village in Priorat, high up in the mountains where they now run a six-bed boutique hotel.

Their son Tom was working in a wine bar in New York when Covid hit. Advised by the Spanish embassy to leave quickly, he found himself back in Falset. With a business partner, he bought a five-hectare vineyard that had been abandoned in 2005. During the pandemic, he began clearing back the trees and scrub. He has now also replanted a neighbouring vineyard and olive grove, and intends expanding further and eventually building a winery.

“The wine, a garnacha cabernet blend, is made by Toni Coca, one of the leading winemakers in the region. At the moment, all the wine is sold in Ireland and I’d like to keep it that way,” he says. The label is the work of Barcelona-based Irish artist Tony Redden. The haiku on the back label was written by Tom’s mother, Joan Gallagher.

Dubliner Killian Horan has been making wine in the Rhône Valley while working in the wine business here in Ireland. His third wine is his version of Nouveau, made from a blend of organic syrah, cinsault, clairette rose and clairette blanche.

Sinéad and Liam Cabot bought a small property in Slovenia 17 years ago and, with no training, now produce three excellent wines, two white and the red featured here. All are made in a very low intervention manner. Laurent Miquel is married to Irish woman Neasa Corish, who plays a very active role in the company.

Laurent Miquel Château Cazal Viel Vielles Vignes Saint Chinian

14.5% €10 (down from €12.50 until February 14th)

From a producer with a strong Irish connection, this is a rich powerful full-bodied red replete with dark fruits, spice and a smooth finish. Perfect with roast or grilled red meats. From Dunnes Stores

Roka Blaufränkisch 2021, Kog, Slovenia

13.5% €26

A wonderful wine; clean silky dark fruits with a savoury charcoal edge, good freshness and a lingering finish. Drink it with white meats or firm cheeses. From Cabot and Co, Westport; 64 Wine Glasthule; Grapevine, Dalkey; Daróg, Galway; No. 1 Pery Square, Limerick

Diga 2021, Motsant, Catalunya, Spain

13%, €25-€27

A seductive wine with delicious, very moreish fresh soft ripe black fruits and no real tannins on the finish. From Clontarf Wines; Wine Centre Kilkenny; Avoca (all locations); World Wide Wines, Waterford; Ardkeen Stores, Waterford

Nouveau MMXX111, Vin de France (Organic)

12.5%, €29 for a one litre bottle

Lightly pétillant with mouth-watering juicy fresh summer fruits. Perfect quaffing wine and streets ahead of most commercial Beaujolais Nouveau. Drink it with firm cheese and charcuterie. From 64wine, Glasthule; Green Man Wines D6W; Blackrock Cellar; Pete’s, D7; Loose Canon, D2; Drinkstore, D7; Clontarf Wines

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