Ian Brosnan, wine manager at Dublin’s Ely Wine Bar, gives us the lowdown on the best summer wines and shares some pairings to try.
What’s your tipple of choice of choice right now?
This summer I’ll be drinking Loire varieties. There is some seriously great Chenin Blanc coming both from France and South Africa at the moment, showing the character, complexity and potential of this amazing variety. Cabernet Franc is also seriously under-appreciated. Beautiful, supple, fragranced reds which are both eminently drinkable and wonderful food wines. And so good when served cool.
Any surprising finds?
One of the best aspects of this job is the constant wine discoveries. Every tasting, every wine fair throws up something wonderful and unexpected. At the moment it’s Austrian reds, and Blaufrankisch & Zweigelt in particular. Also, South Africa has continued to amaze over the last couple of years. Regions such as Swartland have shown that Syrah is the future of South African red.
Any tips for wine in a competitive price bracket?
For me, the best value wines today are Cotes du Rhone reds for quality and value alongside those wonderful, indigenous Italian white varieties which we don’t see enough of: Fiano, Greco, Falanghina, Grechetto and Grillo. They’re inexpensive, but packed with way more character and flavour than many of the wines we see all too often on supermarket shelves.
Can you recommend a pairing?
Some of my favourite food and wine pairings are the unexpected ones – we recently paired our beef tartare with a Pinot Noir-based Champagne and it was astounding! Likewise, a slow-cooked beef cheek with Amontillado sherry works a treat.
What would we find in your ideal wine cellar?
My dream cellar would contain a whole lot of Champagne; Blanc de Blanc & Blanc de Noir, vintage & non-vintage and Grande Marque, alongside fine Tuscan reds, Alsace whites, top Austrian Gruner, Northern Rhone Syrah, great Aussie Chardonnay… the list goes on. It would be like the Noah’s Ark of cellars, with Champagne!
An award-winning sommelier, Ian Brosnan runs and presents a series of wine courses, tastings and events at Dublin’s ely wine bar and ely bar & brasserie. See elywinebar.ie/wine-tasting for details.
Ian was in conversation with Image Interiors & Living’s wine editor Aoife Carrigy. See more sommelier-recommended wines, including aromatic whites in the July/August issue, on shelves now.