I can’t think of any better way to spend a Thursday night than sipping wine with my good friends from Bodega Tandem in Navarre, Spain.
However, under current pandemic restrictions, we cannot travel to meet in person. For now, I’ll be content with a virtual tasting in the comfort of my home.
Tandem is a relatively new company, founded in 2003 by Alicia Eyaralar, JosÃ© MarÃa Fraile and a group of family and friends.
Their state-of-the-art winery is a 30-minute drive west of the city of Pamplona and straddles the Camino de Santiago, the most important pilgrimage route in medieval Europe.
It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993. Some 60,000 pilgrims walking the sacred path pass the cellar each year.
Tandem vineyards are located nearby in the fertile Yerri Valley which enjoys a continental climate with cold winters and hot, dry summers. Temperatures during the growing season are tempered by the refreshing breezes from the Bay of Biscay.
This local microclimate gives cooler nights and encourages non-irrigated grapes to ripen gracefully, retaining great acidity and freshness.
These climatic conditions favor viticulture with a minimum of intervention – a philosophy that plays such an important role in the development of Tandem wines.
The main grape varieties for the cellar’s red wines are Tempranillo, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Viura and Chardonnay are the main whites.
The wines are exceptional, and you can get to know them, with Alicia and JosÃ© as guides during a virtual tasting organized by O’Briens Wine on June 17th at 7pm.
They will also paint a magnificent picture of their vineyards, their grapes, their microclimates, their wines and the best food and wine pairings.
The event costs just â¬ 65 and includes four great Tandem wines delivered to your door, a tasting sheet and access to this special event via zoom.
Order before Thursday June 10 to ensure delivery of your wines. Reserve your spot now by visiting www.obrienswine.ie.
A PLEASANT and unexpected surprise was delivered in the mail this week in the form of a very special bottle of Chardonnay.
If it were on sale in Ireland, it would probably cost less than a dime. It was drinkable but unfussy, with many of the characteristics one would expect from a Chardonnay.
What made this wine so special, Rift Valley Chardonnay, was where it came fromâ¦ Rift Valley, Ethiopia!
French beverage giant Castel bottled its first batch of Ethiopian wine in 2016 and is helping to change the way foreigners view the country.
Their vineyards are located in Ziway, about 160 km south of the capital Addis Ababa and 1600 meters above sea level.
I can’t wait to see wines on Irish shelves in the not-so-distant future.
MASTERCHEF VERDEJO (ABV 13%)
11 â¬ PROMO @ STORES DUNNES
MASTERCHEF wines are proving popular with fans of the global television series.
Three, two reds and one white from Spain, are arriving in Dunnes stores next week.
The Verdejo, a young and fresh white, has aromas of citrus and apple, with tropical and stone fruit flavors and a nutty finish.
Enjoy with: Oven baked bass.
CONTRAPUNTO ALBARIÃO (ABV 13%)
â¬ 18.45 @ O’BRIEN’S WINE
Do not hide the fact that I have a weakness for AlbariÃ±o. Taste dozens of them – but I just tried this gem.
Strong and pleasant aromas of citrus and pineapple, with excellent minerality and acidity on the palate brimming with flavors of Granny Smith apple, peach and citrus.
Enjoy with: Grilled sardines.
BORGO ANTICO PROSECCO FRIZZANTE (ABV 11%)
â¬ 16.95 @ INDEPENDENT VOUCHERS
EXQUISITE Prosecco from the prestigious Conegliano Valdobbiadene in the Italian region of Veneto.
A pale straw yellow color in the glass with lingering bubbles and a wonderfully floral nose.
The palate presents a nice balance and good acidity, with characteristic notes of apple, peach and pear.
Enjoy with: Sushi and Panettone for dessert.