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SLAINTE TO ST.PADDY ST PATRICK'S Day celebrations rarely come in small measures. This annual festival is all about feasting, fun, and finding the perfect excuse to raise a glass to the land of the shamrock.

A whiskey from Bushmills is a good place to start too. Their long history of distilling dates back to 1608 and its famous single malt, Bushmills Malt Irish Whiskey 10 Year Old, right, (PS27.25, 70cl,, is sweet and soft with butterscotch and honey notes, a touch of sherry wood and lingering spice. It's also triple-distilled and peat-free, and the ideal match for simple Irish nosh, like a plate of whiskey-glazed corned beef and cabbage.

Pot still whiskey, a blend of malted and unmalted barley, produces a more intense, heavier style of spirit. Made in a pot still, it's also triple-distilled (this type is unique to Ireland, whereas Scottish whisky is double-distilled) and the pure, full flavours really stand out in Writers Tears Pot Still Irish Whiskey (PS28, 70cl, Marks & Spencer). A fitting name for a country so rich in arts and literature, Writers Tears is aged in flame charred bourbon barrels, is slightly sweet with rich fruit, oak and caramel notes on the long, fruity finish and would be delicious slightly diluted with a side dish of creamy colcannon (mash potatoes and cabbage).

Meanwhile, Green Spot Pot Still (PS36.45, 70cl, Waitrose) is matured in old and new bourbon and sherry casks, and it is delightfully rich and peppery with spice, apple and clove notes, and a fruity sweetness finishing with some sherry nuttiness.

One of the many lucky charms of the Emerald Isle is its rugged coast and freshly caught seafood, so to wash down a plate of Dublin Bay prawns, why not try a white wine from Galicia in north-west Spain, a place which boasts an equally dramatic coastline? The godello is one of the region's most exciting grapes, sometimes blended with palomino to achieve a breezy, minerally white with a beguiling, saline quality. Try Las Minas del Sil Godello Palomino 2012, Spain (PS9.99, and you can almost hear the crashing waves.

BEST BUY BRIGHT white... versatile and often affordable, South African chenin blanc such as Zalze Reserve Chenin Blanc 2012, South Africa (PS9.99, Sainsbury's) is overflowing with yellow apple and pineapple flavours, and its rich style and freshness make it a top value vino with seafood, white meat and Asian dishes.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 9, 2014
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