Wines to try from a little off the beaten track

John Wilson: Greek wine has been enjoying rave reviews recently, with a growing selection available here

Three new discoveries this week, all from a little off the beaten track, as well as one old favourite. My notes for the Ken Forrester Chenin Blanc read “bargain – a steal”. It is on special offer for the next 10 days in O’Briens, so stock up. The other three are made from three lesser-known grape varieties that are certainly worth trying out.

Uniquely Greek, Agiorgitiko is difficult to pronounce but easy to swallow. It is the most widely planted grape in Greece, and can produce a range of styles, including rosé, lightly fruity and full-bodied powerful wines. If you cannot get to Marks & Spencer, O’Briens has the very good Gaia Agiorgitiko (€19.45).

The second Greek wine is made from Xinomavro, an equally obscure variety here, but revered in Greece for producing firmly tannic wines that age well. The version featured here is more approachable but ideally should be consumed with food. Greek wine has been enjoying rave reviews recently, and we have a growing selection available here. As well as Grapevine in Dalkey and Honest2Goodness in Glasnevin, a new company called Oinos Wines are supplying shops and restaurants with a wonderful array of wines.

I first covered the Timorasso grape a few years ago. At one stage there were only a few hectares remaining in Piemonte in northwest Italy. Thanks to its newfound fame, there are now more than 50 producers making wine from Timorasso. The wines are typically high in acid but also in mouth-filling rich fruit, a heady, exciting combination.


Marks & Spencer Found Agiorgitiko 2021, Peloponnese, Greece

13.5% abv, €11.75

Plenty of juicy dark fruits, a slight earthiness and some Mediterranean herbs too. Enjoy it with rich lamb stews or tomato-based dishes.

From: Marks & Spencer

Ken Forrester Old Vine Chenin Blanc Reserve 2021, Stellenbosch

13.5% abv, €13.95 down from €17.95 for the month of October

Nicely aromatic with subtle toasted hazelnuts, succulent rich fruits cut through by lively citrus. Perfect with creamy pasta dishes and chicken.

From: O’Briens

Magoutes Xinomavro 2020, Naoussa, Greece

13% abv, €32

A very attractive medium-bodied perfumed wine with fresh dark fruits, well-managed tannins and a subtle spiciness. Try it with lamb kebabs, mushroom risotto or firm cheeses.

From: Whelehans; Blackrock Cellar; Sweeneys D3; Redmond’s D6

Vigna Marina Coppi ‘Fausto’ Timorasso 2020, Piemonte

14% abv, €55.95

A beautiful expressive wine with delicious plush orchard fruits shot through and refined mineral acidity. Try it with lobster or Dublin Bay prawns for a real blowout.

From: Blackrock Cellar; Redmonds, D6; The Corkscrew, D2