There’s been an incredible change in Irish wine over the past decade. Here are the five Irish wines you should keep an eye out for in 2023.
Ireland is a country renowned for producing alcoholic beverages of the finest quality. Undoubtedly, when you think of Irish drinks, the velvety back Guinness and smooth golden Jameson spring to mind.
Ireland also produces other lesser-known but no less delicious stouts and whiskeys to rival these established names. And let’s not forget an ever-growing array of independent breweries and distilleries on their way up.
One beverage you surely didn’t think of, however, is wine. But the European Commission officially lists the Emerald Isle as a wine-producing country. We have highlighted five of the best Irish wines you need to know about in 2023.
IB4UD’s interesting facts about Irish wines:
- While Ireland is not known mainly for its wine production, there is evidence to suggest that an overwhelming number of Bordeaux’s young wines were bought by Irish merchants in the 18th century.
- The majority of Ireland’s vineyards and wine producers can be found in County Cork and in Lusk, north Dublin.
- The majority of Irish wine production is in the white variety, but red wine is also made in Ireland.
- Since wine cultivation is in its younger years on the Emerald Isle and is quite impractical compared to regions of France, Italy, and Spain, those who have succeeded in doing so have had to be creative in order to succeed.
5. Bunratty Mead – one of the oldest forms of wine
Intrinsic to Irish lore, Irish monks began producing mead in the Middle Ages. Believed to possess powers of fertility and virility, newlyweds would traditionally drink mead for one full moon after their nuptials. Hence the term “honeymoon”.
One thing that makes mead special is its versatility. Used equally as an aperitif or a digestif, it can also serve well in a hot toddy. It complements chicken, turkey, and game.
The good folks at Bunratty also make a fine poitín if you fancy something a bit stronger than mead.
MORE INFO: HERE
4. Wicklow Way Wines – proof that you don’t need grapes for fine wine
The winemakers at Wicklow Way Wines eschew the traditional grape in favour of a variety of different berries. So, rather than the usual varieties of red, white, or rosé, their options include strawberry, raspberry, and blackberry.
This family-owned winery uses 100% Irish produce from local growers and sellers. They also ferment, mature, blend, filter, cork, and label on-site. And all this hard work comes through in the wines’ flavours and aromas.
The company participates in the Bord Bia’s Origin Green Incentive, which promotes environmentally responsible business practices. For our money, this ethical approach makes these award-winning wines all the sweeter.
MORE INFO: HERE
3. Lusca Irish Wines – the fruits of David Llewellyn’s labour and Llewellyns Orchard
David Llewellyn launched his cider orchard in 2002 and quickly made a name for himself in the world of apples. This owes to a vast array of products, including craft ciders, cider vinegar, apple juices and apple syrup.
Llewellyn also delved into winemaking with great success. His private operation in Lusk, just north of Dublin, specialises in reds such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Dunkelfelder.
He has recently branched out further, successfully cultivating a delicious sparkling wine using his Cabernet Sauvignon. The resulting wine – Blanc de Noir – has a fresh, dry, and fruity finish.
MORE INFO: HERE
2. Thomas Walk Winery – the passion project of a German entrepreneur
Thomas Walk hails from the Lower Franconia region of Germany. Lower Franconia garners renown for its fine dry wines, which perhaps explains Walk’s passion for the grape.
Rather than stay in what would undoubtedly be a comfort zone, Walk sought challenge with a move to Ireland in the 1980s.
His winery specialises in the Amurenis Walk grape, which derives half its name from this German viticulturist, which he successfully harvested on the island in 1989.
While Walk maintains a small operation, his success has led to a slight expansion of his land to include many nearby south-facing slopes. Each planted with the Amurenis Walk grape, every location varies in maturity and ripeness.
Amurenis Walk, also called Rondo, proved so popular that Walk soon began to produce other varieties.
Today, the winery’s reds include a dark variety called Ruby and a lighter red called Velvet. Exubérance – a sparkling wine – and a crisp rosé make up their current roster.
MORE INFO: HERE
1. Viking Irish Wines – a small family-run operation
David Dennison established his company, Viking Irish Drinks, in 2017 but planted the seeds – physically and metaphorically – three years earlier. The physical seeds grew into the apple orchard, which kicked off his operation.
A sommelier with 35 years’ experience, he soon added a hectare’s worth of outdoor vines to produce wine.
Dennison’s vineyard produces a red wine that blends Rondo and Pinot Noir grapes. This results in a full flavour with hints of bay leaf and wild blackberry.
The white – a combination of Solaris and Seyval Blanc – has tropical tones with hints of lychee and grapefruit.
We also highly recommend their Nádúrtha (natural) wine. Solaris grapes blend with cider apples, blackberry, mulberry, tayberry, and Balinboola honey. He leaves the mixture to ferment in champagne bottles. The result is a delight to the tastebuds.
MORE INFO: HERE
Other notable mentions
Ballinaboola House Vineyard: Found in County Waterford, Balinboola House makes wines using the Rondo, Solaris, and Pinot Noir grape varieties.
Daria’s Vineyard: This County Mayo vineyard originally began as an experiment to test the idea that climate change would make Ireland better suited to winemaking.
They grow their vines Galician-style on overhead pergolas to improve air circulation and reduce dampness.
Irish Grape Vines: This vineyard started in a back garden in Dundrum, Dublin, in 1988. Today, they count on around 320 vines of eight varieties of grape.
Your questions answered about Irish wines
If you still have questions, we have you covered! In this section, we’ve compiled some of our readers’ most frequently asked questions and popular questions that have been asked online about this topic.
What is the history of Irish wine?
Surprisingly, wine has been made on the island since the fifth century. Cistercian monks, needing sacramental wine for their daily rituals, established a vineyard in County Kilkenny.
These monks sparked a trend and would travel around helping to set up other vineyards across the land.
What grapes are grown in Ireland?
Some grapes grown in Ireland include the Rondo, Dunkelfelder, Schonburger, and Madeleine d’Angevine.
Are there Irish wines?
Yes, despite the greater popularity of other drinks, Ireland produces a small number of excellent wines.
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