O’Brien’s have their largest store in the Beacon Quarter in Sandyford. It’s well laid out with a fabulous selection of wines on display. Even better, some are available to try from their enomatic tasting systems – previously the preserve of Enowine. This system keeps open wine bottles fresh allowing customers to try before they buy. Here are three which impressed most:

1. Clos du Val Chardonnay, Carneros, California 2006 €16.95

Starting with the whites, I tried the Clos du Val Chardonnay from Carneros in California. Less about fruit, more about nuts, toast, butter, cream and vanilla, with perhaps baked pears or peachstones – the stones, rather than the fruit which surrounds them.

With food: Fish, chicken, pork or salmon.

Buy online.

2. Clos du Val Merlot, Napa Valley, California 2004 €16.95

After the brief flirtation with the girlie white, then it was on to the Clos du Val Merlot 2005. Were it not for the film, Sideways, the fate of Californian Merlot could have been very different. Thankfully, for our wallets, it was never to be. Rich, dark fruits with a backbone of spice. Delicious.

With food: lamb or beef.

Buy online.

3. Château Fourcas Hosten,, Bordeaux 2001 €21.45

Lastly, back to the motherland of wine, Bordeaux, for some claret. I lose faith in Bordeaux every couple of months and this was one of those which brings me back from the precipice of denouncing the place outright.

With 8 years or thereabouts of development in the bottle, what were once probably exuberantly youthful berry and green flavours have given way to more mellow violets, prunes, tobacco and leather. Really satisfying.

With food: A perfect partner for spring lamb.