When it comes to alcoholic beverages, Ireland is world-renowned for its whiskeys, its beers, and increasingly its gins. But unlike its European neighbours (and even England!), wine is one tipple Ireland has so far been unable to produce. Sadly, the island is too northerly and too cool for the grapevine’s liking. So despite the name, this isn’t an Irish wine per se – the grapes come from the Rheinland-Pfalz region of Germany. But Irish Peat Wine is nonetheless an Irish creation, and a truly unique one at that. And the key ingredient in the maturing process is as Irish as it gets – turf from West Limerick.
One of our aims here at Dalriata is to build stronger connections between Ireland and Germany. So when BT Wines asked us if we’d be interested in partnering with them, we jumped at the chance. Not only are they independent Irish entrepreneurs, but their remarkable Irish peated wine is produced using Pinot Noir grapes grown in Rheinland-Pfalz. That ticks all the boxes for us! We’re proud that they’ve chosen us as the first German retailer of Irish Peat Wine.
How is Irish Peat Wine made?
Although this wine is new to the German market, the story of Irish Peat wine begins around ten years ago, when the idea first occurred to BT Wines co-founder Brendan Reddin. What if it was possible to combine the fruity character of Pinot Noir grapes with the delicate smokiness of Irish peat? The taste and smell of peat smoke is already familiar to lovers of scotch whisky, and although less prevalent in Irish whiskey, has become an increasingly common feature in recent years thanks to the likes of Hinch and Teeling. But peated wine? Well, that was something new.
Several years of meticulous experimentation with different grapes and processes led to the creation of the delightful wine we’re able to offer you today.
Irish Peat Wine starts out as a first-class Pinot Noir produced by a small family winery in Rheinland-Pfalz. After being matured in the traditional way, the final stage of production is when the ould sod from County Limerick is introduced. The method is similar to the oak aging process commonly used with grapes such as chardonnay. The timing and quantity of the introduction of the Irish turf is carefully judged to impart the distinct peaty flavour which sets this wine apart.
What does Irish Peat Wine taste like?
First and foremost, this is a pinot noir of the highest quality, so if you like that, you’re bound to enjoy this unique expression of the type. The peaty notes complement rather than overwhelm the fruity character of the grapes, adding a certain earthiness which rounds out the complex palate and aroma.
We’ve found that this wine benefits from aeration, so open the bottle and let it sit for a while if you can. This will help the rich and complex flavour develop and enable you to enjoy it fully. Better yet, if you have a decanter, now’s the time to dig it out!
The first thing you’ll notice when you pour from the bottle is its colour. It’s unusually dark for a pinot noir, hinting that something a little different is going on here.
Raise the glass to your nose and you’ll detect a faint, but unmistakable whiff of peat, which can’t fail to get the attention of the intrepid wine drinker. On the palate it’s lighter and fruitier than you might expect from the aroma, changing and developing all the time until it arrives at what sets this wine apart: the aftertaste. There’s a long, lingering velvety finish, which really becomes noticeable after half a glass or so, and elevates this wine into a truly unique experience.
Don’t expect a peat monster like an Islay single malt such as Laphroaig or a Lagavulin; this wine is playing a different game. It’s not trying to overwhelm your palate – it’s inviting you to sip, savour and enjoy a bottle over the course of a good meal. Or, indeed, a long evening with a good book in front of a peat fire!
In the words of the creators themselves:
“This wine embodies the warm taste of a true Irish welcome. The rich aroma of the smoky Irish peat and the lingering velvet finish of the mocha and beautiful Pinot Noir grapes from the Rheinhessen and Pfalz regions work in perfect harmony to create a beautiful and well balanced wine, bursting with intense peat flavour. This generous wine is complex and beautifully structured, with strong earthy notes full of warmth and character. This unique hand crafted wine is best enjoyed young and should be served at room temperature. We truly hope you enjoy the experience that is our “Irish Peat Wine“.
This specific iteration of Irish Peat Wine is from batch 1a, and comes in at a hearty 14% alcohol by volume.