On the cookery book shelf
1001 Whiskies You Must Try Before You Die, edited by Dominic Roskrow;
Cassell Illustrated; £20
Despite these austere times it is nice to imagine indulging in the thousand and one great whiskies that this glossy colourful doorstep of a production promises ‘you must try before you die’. While obviously heavy on the marquee whiskies from Scotland, including Tullibardine 1964, the Glenrothes 1985, Old Pulteney 12-year-old, and Auchentoshan 18-year-old, there are also rich suggestions from Ireland, the United States, Canada and Japan among other countries. In the Irish chapter, Bushmills, Jameson, Green Spot, Redbreast, Powers all feature a significant number of whiskies from the nearby Kilbeggan distillery such as Kilbeggan 18-year-old and Kilbeggan 15-year-old, while from the same Cooley stable Greenore 18-year-old and the selection of Tyrconnells in port, sherry and Madeira casks all catch the eye. With tasting notes, footnotes on origins, styles and alcohol content and insights into how the whiskies are made, along with colourful pictures and brief histories of each, this is a real treasure trove of an encyclopedia that will excite anyone with an interest in great whiskies.
On the wine shelf
Santa Tresa Rina Ianca Grillo Viognier 2010 (Independents, €16.99 )
Generally, it is unusual to come across the Italian Grlllo grape unless in Sicily where, for donkeys years, it has been the base for the local fortified wine, Marsala. Blended here with Viognier, which brings its usual aromatic charm to the party, on this nose there is a slightly perfumed and floral attraction that is also somewhat tropical. On the palate it is much more intense and full-bodied with citrus fruit topped with a peachy tropical backbone that, while blessed with lots of acidity, has a lengthy finish.
Tierra Del Sol Signature Colchagua Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (Aldi, €9.99 )
Available in Aldi, this Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon from the Colchagua Valley might catch the eye. On the nose, there are distinctive aromas of red-berried fruit including raspberries, blackberries and cassis, and a touch of violets, while on the palate there is again a decent amount of fruit and some depth with a rewarding enough finish. A worthwhile uncomplicated investment at this price.