John Wilson: A racy white and a full-bodied red from Dunnes Stores

Weekend wines: Northern Portugal is worth checking out for lower-alcohol white wines

This week we go to Dunnes Stores and venture a little off the beaten track for our wines. If you are looking for lower-alcohol white wines, then it is worth checking out the Vinho Verde region of Northern Portugal. Here most of the wines are white, fresh and low in alcohol, usually 9-12 per cent abv. Some have a little spritz, some are off-dry and all have a refreshing crisp acidity.

The Maule Valley in Chile was one of the very first regions to be planted with vines by the Spanish colonists. Lying in the southern part of the Central Valley, the climate here is a little bit cooler, but the wines are still rich and warming. Carmenère was originally a Bordeaux grape variety and was widely planted there in the 19th century. However, these days, it is almost exclusively Chilean, and is used in some of the most expensive wines the country produces.

Bico Amarelo Vinho Verde 2020, Esporão, Portugal

Made from a blend of local grape varieties (including Alvarinho) this is a racy refreshing white wine with crisp green apple fruits and a dry finish. Drink it solo, but I think this would go nicely with ceviche, sushi and plainly grilled white fish such as plaice or sea bass. A mere 11.5 per cent abv, €8 from Dunnes Stores.

San Pedro 1865 Selected Vineyards Carmenère 2018, Valle del Maule, Chile

Rich and full-bodied (14.5 per cent) with blackcurrants and plums with a touch of leafy tobacco and a smooth rounded finish. Try this with a barbecues ribeye or other steak, or roast Mediterranean vegetables. €13.20 down from €16.50 in Dunnes Stores.

John Wilson

John Wilson

John Wilson, a contributor to The Irish Times, is a wine critic