This St. Patrick’s Day, don’t think you are destined to drink green beer and shots of Jameson. Ireland, with its northern latitude, steep bluffs, and year-round rainfall may not be the best region in the world for growing grapes, but the island has developed a wide range of fruit wines that go great with any St. Patrick’s day celebration.
Most grape growing occurs between the 30° and 50° latitude, grapevines being hardy, but not quite tough enough to withstand the colder temperature of regions further north. With between 3.5 and 7 feet of rain per year, Ireland is the perfect country for growing a wide range of berries, rich in flavor and fermentable sugar. Their winemaking process results in gorgeous full-bodied wines when desired. Ireland also has a wide selection of Mead, a wine made from honey.
Wicklow Way Wines created Móinéir, the Gaelic word for meadows. Móinéir epitomizes the Irish countryside with two distinct, luscious wines. The winery is on the coast of the Irish sea and has crafted wines which reflect the green landscape of the beautiful area.
The Strawberry Wine is their flagship wine and has a distinct taste of spring and summer. Hints of sweetness at the front of the palate give way to complex fruit notes. The sweetness at the forefront fades into a crisp finish, leaving the drinker begging for another wonderful sip.
The Móinéir Blackberry Wine was released in October of 2016. Elderberries native to Ireland, which often grow in difficult to reach bluffs and cliff sides, were harvested late in 2015 and blended with the blackberry wine. The resulting beverage shows depth and complexity, deeper fruit notes giving way to a vibrant palate. Both of these wines can be found here.
Bunratty Mead and Liquor
For those who have never tried a Mead before, it is a wine made by mixing yeast, honey, and water. The fermentation is often incredibly slow and can last a year or more depending on the dryness desired by the winemaker. Bunratty sits in the shadow of an ancient Irish castle, a testament to the historical significance of the beverages crafted here.
Bunratty, in classic Irish tradition, has infused their Mead with herbs to add complexity and flavor. This is a medium-sweet wine with long aging potential in the bottle. This Mead presents a great pairing opportunity for things like Baked Brie and Honey if you are looking to class up your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Find it here.
Irish Family Vineyards
For those who want to taste the flavor of Irish heritage, but from the bounty of California grapes, Irish Family Vineyards is certain to have a wine for you. Located at the western base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the wines have a distinct Irish flare, a clover appearing on the label of each of their blends.
Irish Family Vineyards produces a wide range of red and white wines. Their 2012 Malbec was a best in class winner at the California State Fair and is drinking at its peak right now. Loads of dark, brambled fruit character radiate from the glass with aromatic intensity. Coffee, plum, fig, and blackberry emerge with the first sip and follow through with beautiful clarity onto the finish.
For those who really need something green to drink for this most festive of holidays, take a few drops of food coloring to their Kilkenny White. This blend of Malvasia, Viognier, and Chenin Blanc is truly unique and not a likely blend to be found most places in the world. It displays a slightly rounded mouthfeel with soft notes of apricot and peach. Its refreshing nature is the perfect way to bring in the spring. Find their wines here.
While famous for its beer and whiskey, Ireland and its people have so much more to offer on this special holiday. Whether you are a fan of red wine or white wine you will be able to find something with an Irish descent for you to drink. Don’t forget to toss a couple packs of StiQit in your purse or pocket before heading out to celebrate the luck of the Irish. While they include them to a lesser degree, fruit wines still contain sulfites. Have all of the fun without the hangover during St. Patrick’s Day this year.