Curious Wines is a Cork-based, online wine retailer, with physical stores in both Cork and Naas. Brothers Michael and Matt Kane are the duo behind the name, and I have been a customer for several years now. Last year, I purchased the wine for my sister's wedding from them, mainly due to their straightforward manner, bulk discount and promise to take back any unopened wine.
I love calling into either of their stores. The wide open space, with stacks and stacks of wine bottles is the adult version of being a kid in a sweet shop. I was home recently and I called into the shop on the Tramore Road to pick up a mixed case of wine. I always end up with a box that's about 50% tried and trusted favourites with the remainder being some new bottles. I had seen via Twitter that a whole heap of new Rhone wines had just arrived in shop, so several bottles of those went into my cart.
|Three recent favourites from Curious Wines|
So after some tasting and testing, here my three picks from the recent shop. All of these three wines were new to me and this was my first tasting. At some stage, I'll also do a quick post on my perennial favourites from Curious Wines.
Johnny Q Chardonnay Viognier 2013
South Australia. Normally €14.99, reduced to €11.99 (at time of writing)
Winemaker Johnny Quarisa has done something very nice here with this Chardonnay Viognier blend. the warm climate Chardonnay (86%) has melon and peach flavours, while the addition of Viognier (14%) adds some floral notes such as honeysuckle and apricot. A portion of the wine spends some time in oak after blending which adds a little backbone. I utterly enjoyed this and think it's great value for this slightly bonkers wine.
Sommos Gewurztraminer 2015
Somontano, Spain. €17.49
There were two things I didn't know before drinking this wine. Firstly, that Gewurztraminer was even grown in Spain, and secondly, that Somontano, a small area in Aragon, is the top Gewurztraminer region. (I've also learned that typing Gewurztraminer repeatedly is a challenge to brain-finger coordination). I'll tell you one thing, my geographic knowledge of wine-producing countries has increased by leaps and bounds in recent years.
Anyway, I had this wine to accompany an Indian takeaway (from the excellent Rasoi in case you want to know), and it was such an excellent choice. Beautifully aromatic, as you'd expect from Gewurz, it's also bright and lively with a long finish.
Lavau Vacqueryas 2013
Rhone, France. €23.00
This was one of the new Rhone wines which found its way into my basket, along with several of its siblings. I've come to develop a strong liking for Rhone reds, and this didn't disappoint. First off, it's a GSM blend (50% Grenache, 40% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre) with a touch of aging in oak. This wine is vibrant and beautifully dark in the glass with all the usual Rhone notes of dark berries, a touch of violet and a slight minty freshness to round it all out. Tannins are fine and very approachable.