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New cuvee from Killian Horan
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“This is like a Syrah in drag!” – New cuvee from Killian Horan

Irishman Killian Horan is the New Romantic of the Irish Wine scene. By romantic, I am not referring to someone characterised by or suggestive of an idealised view of reality. I am talking Ultravox, The Human League, Duran Duran, the David Bowie Ashes to Ashes video – that New Romantic. Rock N’ Roll wine with its heavy metal reds and drum solo whites eventually gave way to Punk Wine which railed against the excesses of heavy alcohol & extraction, offering striped down purity and often over the top acidity.

The New Romantic’s Wines are flamboyant and eccentric, influenced by glam rock wine but less self conscious, like punk wines they are against the grain, but not completely anti-establishment. New Romantic wine is striking, outrageous, courageous, fun and impossibly cool. 
Having worked several vintages with the Les Deux Cols trio in the Rhone, Killian has learnt a thing or two about winemaking, evidenced by his first wine last year Les Charlatan, which shook the Irish industry to it’s core, exploding onto lists and shelves before vanishing quickly due to it’s tiny production (just like the 18 month New Romantic movement in British pop in 1981!). If that was his Autumn and Winter release, this is his Spring and Summer release. It is acrobatic on the palate, with a buzzy, prickly acidity and a spicy intensity. This is so throatable.

My first impression was that it was like a Syrah in Drag. Some of the colour, some of the varietal typicity, but with a huge sense of vibrancy, energy and personality – a hell of a lot more fun and head turning than a Syrah. It explodes onto the palate with Syrah character, but then you find it is bedazzled by Clairette Rose and Bourbelanc (that’s right – this Syrah is not blended with, but bedazzled by!). These two really get the party started – the pink grape Clairette gives the wine it’s flamboyancy, while the white Bourbelanc provides a acidic thunderbolt. It’s like there’s a session on the palate and everyone’s invited!
Killian heard Charles Derain of Les Deux Cols suggest Le Petit Canon at lunch which essentially means a quick glass. The whole bottle turns into a quick glass because it is so delicious and as the label suggests, it’s to be drunk chilled with pals – Slainte!


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