Kiss me! I’m Irish. Actually, I am. And for these past three St. Patrick’s holidays, I’ve been on a quest to find the elusive Irish wine. Coming up about as lucky as a sliding down a banister with the splinters pointing in the wrong direction, I found nothing that was a true wine made exclusively in Ireland. So I wrote instead about Mead ~ and while it is a traditional Irish honey fermented drink, it’s not wine in the sense of the true grape nectar. Faith and begorrah, I searched today and found a little pot ‘o’ gold at the end of the rainbow. The third time was definitely the charm.
Planted in 2002 by David Llewelyn, Lusca Irish Wine currently produces a small trove of about 300 bottles per year of: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Dunkfelder and Rondo. Sauvignon Blanc, Gerwurztraminer and Schoenberger round out their whites. Vineyards are planted near their orchards, just outside the village of Lusk , and use cloche-like polythene structures to encase the vines during the summer months. They find that this helps protect the fruit and foliage canopy from rain, subsequent rot, disease and insects ~ negating the need for pesticides. It also acts to increase temperatures helping to mature the late-ripening fruit.
The wine is made exclusively from their own grapes, using simple winemaking methods, natural filtration processes and is hand bottled and labelled. These are some mighty young wines, to be sure, but may be worth a sample after a wee bit of cellaring to gain some depth and complexity.
Lusca wines are currently available from www.winesonthegreen.com.
As my Da used to say when he’d toast the day, “May the good Lord take a liking to you … But not too soon!”