My Recommendations from the O'Briens Italian Wine Sale
O'Brien's just dropped a very nice Italian Wine sale. The sale has over 80 wines discounted many of which I have tried and/or reviewed for IrishWineReviews.ie.
There are some amazing offers there so I thought I'd give my recommendation for
2 x Everyday Drinker Wines
3 x Treat Yourself Wines
1 x Special Occasion Wine
These are wines that have a great rating and cost less than €15. Meaning if Mrs IrishWineReviews and I fancy a midweek bottle, we don't need to feel too guilty!
Wine 1: Lunaria Ruminat Primitivo 3.9/5
€13.95 (usually €18.95)
This is a smashing wine for €14. I originally picked it up on a whim as I loved the style of the bottle with the string, rather than foil. But ended up being very nicely surprised! Primitivo is what the Italians call "Zinfandel".
This wine is packed with character! From the moment you open and pour you get a beautiful deep ruby colour and the nose if full of fruits popping out of the glass. The taste is incredibly smooth and loaded with even more fruits. It does have a sweetness to it, but it is very nicely balanced.
This would hold it's own with a cheese plate, or some cured meats. Or even a rich pasta dish. Don't pair with anything too bland as it will overpower it!
Wine 2: Romeo & Juliet Passione Passimento White 3.9/5
€14.76 (usually €18.45)
From the Veneto region in Northern Italy. This wine is made with the Garganega grape, which was new to me, but really left me with a great impression.
A beautiful golden and crisp looking wine. You can almost tell from the moment you pour it that it will be refreshing.
The nose takes you on a tropical hoiliday with pineapple, melon and some citrus. The taste has a lovely softness that coats your mouth with a subtle sweetness before the citrus kicks in. The finish is dry, but not too dry!
This is the PERFECT wine to have with some grilled fish or a light pasta dish.
Treat Yourself Wines
These are wines with a very good rating but are a little higher in price point. These could be wines to celebrate a great week, or wines to crack open with some friends "just because".
Wine 3: Rizzardi Pojega Ripasso 4.0/5
€16.36 (usually €21.45)
This wine was the first time I tried Ripasso and I still remember it. Ripassos are wonderfully complex because of both the blend of multiple grapes and the process used for producing them.
This one starts very earthy on the nose. There's some oak there and some dark fruits. The taste is the show stopper here. Incredibly complex with oak, vanilla, berries, cherries, blackberries, leather and lots more. But it is incredibly well balanced so you get a beautiful smooth wine with just enough dryness in the finish to leave you gasping for another sip!
Pair this with any red meats, pasta dishes, but nothing too strong! You want to let the smoothness of this wine hold its own.
Wine 4: Musella Valpolicella Ripasso 4.3/5
€19.16 (usually €23.95)
O'Briens have one of the best Ripasso selections in Ireland and so I though it was a shame not to include the 2nd one. Especially one as delicious as this Musella!
This Ripasso takes big step up in complexity. The nose starts boozy bit there you get a lovely subtle oak and some plum. The taste is out of this world! Berries, raisins, plum, vanilla, liquorish, pepper, chocolate all show up but none overpower. This is one of the best examples of a "balanced" wine I have ever found.
To be honest, I can't think of a meal which would not be enhanced with this wine. But my favourite is to enjoy with a simple cheese plate and cured meats!
Wine 5: Rizzardi Clos Roareti 4.3/5
€22.36 (usually €27.95)
This is one I would have never tried if it wasn't for the incredibly helpful person in O'Briens Templeogue. Why would I have never tried it? Well, it's 100% Merlot and I'm not a big fan of 100% Merlot wines. But she put up a great argument and so we have it a whirl and I am VERY glad I did.
A big and bold oaky nose with a blackberry jam stewing on the pot. The taste will give you shivers! Every single sip is absolutely bursting with flavour. There's oak, vanilla, liquorice, plum, blackcurrant, ripe cherry and more.
But somehow with all that big bold complexity, the mouthfeel is like silk. Then you're onto the finish which is balanced, dry, but not too dry. Make sure to share this with a friend!
Special Occasion Wines
These are wines which are too pricy to be drinking every week, or maybe even every month. But they are so good that they have to be enjoyed sometime! So we recommend them for special occasions, gifts for wine lovers, fancy dinners or if you've something big to celebrate!
Wine 6: Rizzardi 3 Cru Amarone 4.6/5
€26.95 (usually €36.95)
In 2 years of reviewing wines, I have never given anything higher than 4.6/5. This one is absolutely sensational and at €27 it's an absolute bargain. It comes in at 16% so share with a few friends!
This one is a blend of 5 Italian grapes. Corvina, Corvinone, Romdinella, Barbera and Sangiovese. Some of these grapes or their variations can be found in other places, but the Italians have learned how to do something magic with them!
You need to let this one breathe for an hour before drinking. Then you get a big powerful nose full of dark fruit, chocolate and oak. The very moment this hits your tongue, you'll realise why it's rated so high. There is a beautifully subtle sweetness but really elevated by the earthy notes of vanilla, chocolate, oak, coffee and leather. The big fruity note is of dried fruits, but without any bitterness.
The finish feels like it will never end! The fruits go on and on the flavours play with each other and dryness slowly ramps up leaving you wondering what just happened!
If you are new to Italian wines, this sale is a great chance to explore different styles and regions and find out what you like!
The full reviews for all of these wines and much more is over on my @irishwinereviews Instagram page.