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Four wines that capture the last drop of summer

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I know. Officially it is now autumn, in Ireland at least. I don’t enjoy the darker months of the year and this season in particular. I am taking my vitamin D and have my white light at the ready. Yet I still cling on to the last dying days of summer, serving salads and lighter wines, taking every opportunity to sit out in the garden.

This week, four wines I enjoyed over the summer months; I won’t stop drinking them once autumn really kicks in, but I will switch to richer, more full-bodied red and white wines and more substantial food too.

I featured a Riesling twice earlier this summer, the excellent Fritz Haag Riesling Trocken (€23, independents) and the German Riesling noted here in my weekly online post.

While there are few things better than a glass of chilled off-dry Mosel Riesling Kabinett as the sun goes down, most wine drinkers prefer a dry Riesling and both of the wines here fall into this category, including the German wine, for sale at an incredible €6.99.

Alsace Riesling, typically unoaked and full of fruit, has a wonderful backbone of acidity that makes it one of the great food wines. German Riesling Trocken also goes well with all sorts of food, including Japanese and Thai food. While the Wilde Reben is good, you will find producers such as Wittmann, Geil, von Winning and Maximin Grünhaus are a huge step up in quality.

As regular readers will know I am a big fan of Muscadet, and few wines taste better served chilled on a sunny summer’s day, preferably with a plate of shellfish and lots of herbs and lemon. I was going to include Whelehan’s Muscadet, but I came across another of their Loire wines, the Chenin Blanc below, over the summer and really enjoyed it with a variety of dishes featuring salmon, chicken and pork. I covered South African Chenin Blanc a few weeks back; the dry Loire versions, while different, are every bit as good.

The Beaujolais producer, as the name of his wine suggests, sees himself as part of the ongoing revival of this once maligned region. I will return to Beaujolais in a few months’ time (Nouveau day is looming), but I have enjoyed some great wines throughout the summer. Served cool, or on very hot days lightly chilled, it is one of the great alfresco reds, light, refreshing and thirst-quenching.

At the less expensive end, Aldi has the perfectly drinkable Beaujolais Maison Rouge (€6.99), and from next week Lidl will have the Collin Bourisset at €9.99 but I would recommend paying €15 or more for a really high-quality bottle of Beaujolais.

Wilde Reben Riesling 2019, Rheinhessen

11.5%, €6.99

Clean peach and apple fruits, with good, refreshing acidity and a snappy dry finish. Try it with all kinds of crab dishes; Thai crab cakes sound very good. Stockists: Aldi, Aldi.ie

Kuentz-Bas Mosaïk Riesling 2019, Alsace

13%, €19.99 down to €16.99 until 28th September

Delicious classic Riesling with clean yellow peach and apple fruits perked up by a cleansing acidity, finishing bone dry. Coq au Riesling, choucroute garni, or a fresh goat’s cheese salad. Stockists: O’Briens, Obrienswine.ie

Château de Fesles 2017, Chenin Blanc 

13.5%, €19

Light white flower aromas, with developing pear fruits, a touch of honey, and a lively mineral backbone that keeps it fresh, finishing bone dry. Try it with salmon with herby butter, or chicken in a creamy mushroom sauce. Stockists: Whelehan’s Wines, Loughlinstown, whelehanswines.ie

Beaujolais is not Dead 2019, Beaujolais, Famille Chasselay (Organic)

13%, €22.95

A lovely bright ripe juicy Beaujolais with vibrant dark cherry fruits and soft tannins. There is a real depth and concentration of flavour. Serve with pork dishes; grilled pork chops or a baked ham. Stockists: Mitchell & Son, Dublin 1, Sandycove, and Avoca, Kilmacanogue and Dunboyne, mitchellandson.com

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