Monday, March 17, 2014

Wine and Saint Patrick's Day? It Can Be Done!

With the middle name of "McLaughlin" and the last name of "McGurn," a wife whose maiden name is "Holmes," whose mother's maiden name is "Byrne," and a son named Finn, it's impossible to get around the need for a Saint Patrick's Day post.

Remember, "Whiskey" is Irish while "Whisky" is Scottish, and neither are made from grapes.
Given that I am posting midday, most readers may already be drunk off of whiskey and Guinness, yet soldier on I must...

Obviously, today celebrates the Irish, and Ireland is not known for producing wine, nor consuming a great deal of it. They are known for whiskey and dark beer - preferably served at room temperature. That said, wine is slowly making its ways into the pubs and restaurants of Ireland. That said, Ireland only recently seen as a major cheese producer, so perhaps they could learn a few other tricks from the French...

For the purist, of course, today will be drenched in Guinness, and there's nothing wrong with that. If you can find Murphy's Irish Stout, there's an entire region of Ireland that prefers this lesser-known Irish beer its massively larger cousin. Admittedly, I do, too. 

What goes well with Irish whiskey? Banjo music, obviously
 As for wine, the Irish themselves are now drinking a lot of wines from Argentina and Chile. Even though it is far closer to Spain and France - both of which are producing very approachable wines fit for a pub - when I was last in Ireland, the wines from South America - Chile in particular - were the wines of choice. 

See! Wine! Most likely a Chilean Merlot, as it was quite prevalent.
Editor's note, this picture was actually in Scotland, but the same thing applies

Perhaps it is EU trade rules, cost-to-value ratio or just some industrious Irish businessman began importing the stuff at the right time. Whatever the reason, along with the choice of Irish beers, American beers and whiskey, almost everywhere we went also had wines to offer. 

If you are so inclined, follow the new Irish trend of enjoying South American wine on this most Irish of holidays. I have raved about Chilean Merlot in past posts, and I have not softened on them at all. In fact, they are still some of the most complex, best value wines available. If you are more daring, take this opportunity to try a Chilean Carmenere with your corned beef tonight. Other options would be Malbec or Cabernets from Argentina or Tannat from Uruguay. 

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! 
Whatever you choose to drink - and however you choose to celebrate - do it responsibly, and keep in mind that Ireland, like the rest of the world, is fast evolving and developing a more sophisticated view of wine - with increasing consumption and enthusiasm for it. That, along with the Irishness of the day, is cause to celebrate.