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Martin Moran's Autumnal Whites

Friday, 6 November 2009

Autumn and Winter dishes are always rich and deep in flavour, warming us to the core. Every season has its perfect wines to compliment these delicious tastes, but delicious wines need not cost the world. Today Master of Wine, Martin Moran from the Evening Herald, has done all the hard work to prove it.

Martin Moran, Master of Wine, Evening Herald

Martin has over 24 years experience in the wine trade and writes about wines for the Evening Herald. He has travelled the world sampling wines.

He passed the notoriously difficult Master of Wine exam in 1994 and became the first MW to work in Ireland the following year. There are still only three in the Republic of Ireland.

He's poured wine in restaurants and hotels in London, sold wine in Dublin, London, Paris, New York and Sydney; Picked grapes in Alsace, Chateauneuf-du-pape, Buxy, Chablis, Bordeaux and Southern England; grown grapes in England and helped ferment wine in England, Alsace, Beaujolais, Bordeaux, Bergerac, Adelaide and the Hunter valley;

***NOTE - Martin to taste match the wines to Tamasin's first dishes. Two small tasters of the dish to be set out.

Name: Inycon Estate Fiano
Vintage: 2008
Country & Region: Menfi, South West Sicily
Tasting Note: Fiano is an ancient Southern Italian grape well suited to the warm Sicilian climate where it produces a fruity dry white with light flavours of peach and orange and a soft lightly creamy nougat like texture. Made by the excellent Settesoli co-op, who also supply Tesco with similar wines.
Food Match: Fish pie, creamy pasta sauces, salads.
Price: €8.49 (3 for €20 until January 2010)
Buy It: Dunnes

Name: Tesco Reserve Chilean Sauvignon Blanc
Vintage: 2008
Country & Region: Casablanca, Chile
Tasting Note: Made for Tesco by leading producer Cono Sur, it shows Sauvignon's classic flavours of gooseberry and citrus but also with a light chalky mineral character from the highly regarded cool climate region of Casablanca.
Food Match: Fish, shellfish, stir-fries with coriander.
Price: €6.79
Buy It: Tesco

Name: Bushland Reserve Chardonnay ***WINEMATCH FOR TAMASIN
Country & Region: Hunter Valley, Australia
Tasting Note: Produced by the excellent Hope Estate in the Hunter Valley who normally charge much more that this for their main label. It shows enticing peach, melon, quince and fig like flavours with a clean citrussy finish.
Food Match: Roast chicken or roast pork.
Price: €7.19
Buy It: Aldi

Name: Wally's Hut Verdelho
Vintage: 2009
Country & Region: South Eastern Australia
Tasting Note: An ancient grape variety mostly associated with the island of Madeira but also with a long history in Australia where it produces medium bodied dry whites with tropical fruit flavours such as pineapple and melon and finishes with a refreshing lime zest like tanginess.
Food Match: Stir-fried chicken with cashew nuts or chicken korma.
Price: €6.99
Buy It: Super Valu & Centra

Bluff 1

When you are offered a sample before the waiter pours, just sniff it, don't sip it. This is because the wine is being presented to you to see if it is corked or clean, not to see if you like it. You can tell if a wine has cork taint if it has a musty wet cardboard smell, so you don't need to put it in your mouth.

Bluff 2
Ask the waiter if they have a bottle of white Alsace wine without even looking at the list. Most good lists will have a Pinot Blanc and/or a Riesling. Both should be fruit, dry and good value and make a delicious aperitif or be good with first course dishes like shellfish, fish or salads. Most wine buffs love Alsace wines and think they aren't as widely appreciated as they should be, so the wine waiter or sommelier, as they are called, will pick you as a fellow connoisseur.

Bluff 3

Order a wine made from a grape you've never tried or perhaps never even heard of as you'll get something interesting and good value. Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blamc, Pinot Grigio, Cabernet or Shiraz and the like are sometimes too popular for their own good and so don't always offer value.

On the other hand it's hard to sell whites made from grapes such as Grüner Veltliner, Fiano, Falanghina, Semillon or reds from Nero d'Avola, Tannat, Mencia or Mourvedre and many others so the price to quality ratio will be good. Once again the wine waiter will think you are cool and knowledgeable for selecting outside of the safe but dull choices.

Bluff 4
Don't order Pinot Grigo. Really, just don't, please. It marks you out as brain dead, ignorant and totally lacking in imagination.