Sunday, October 30, 2011



Domaine Reine Juliette, Terres Rouges, Picpoul de Pinet, Languedoc 2010, 13.5%, €12.00 Bubble Brothers, 3 stars

Colour is of light honey and it has a moderately aromatic nose. Not a major impression on the palate but quite a friendly one, more of a purr, less of a bark. It has a nice lively acidity with thirst quenching fruit.

While the acidity is sharp it never gets anywhere the point where you feel you might as well be sipping a Citron Pressé. If you want something to go with your mussels or oysters (and there are a lot of months with “r” coming up) this is a banker.

Les Costières de Pomerols, Picpoul de Pinet, Languedoc 2010, 12.5%, €7.00 Tesco, 4 stars.

Colour and nose is much the same as the previous Picpoul. The acidity is still there but this is definitely more flavoursome, more rounded.

There will always, it seems, be arguments about Tesco’s pricing policy in the drinks department but nor argument that their buyers have come up with a good one here, underlined by the fact that Decanter gave it their Regional Trophy (Languedoc –Roussillon) for a white at under ten UK pounds.

Some differences

A – Closure is artificial cork on Bubble’s, screw-cap on the Tesco.

B- Alcohol is 13.5% in Bubble, 12.5% in the Tesco bottle.

C- The Tesco price is €7.00, Bubbles €12.00


Click on image to enlarge

No shortage of choice when I called in to the well established OctoberFest at the Franciscan Well Brewery and Pub at the weekend. There were dozens of beers on tap, and many more in bottle at the bar itself. 

Renewed acquaintance with John Radley of Cremin and Radley who had a stand there. Tempted also to renew acquaintance with their Fruli Strawberry beer or the Schneider Aventinus but then spotted the new Irish lager from Kerry named after the arctic explorer Tom Crean. 

This 4.6% ABV from the Dingle Brewing Company is not half bad and I enjoyed my pint. The blurb says it is light and delicately hopped..perfectly balanced and elegant... I’d agree with that. 

Hadn’t seen the Svyturys range before so I had a try at their stand. Got a glass of their Ekstra, a pale easy drinking lager at 5.2%. They are especially proud of the Nefiltruotas Raw, a Zwickelbier Lager described as the lager world’s answer to real ale. Liked my sample and will explore this Lithuanian beer further. Some humourous ads on their site, by the way! 

The Franciscan Well joined in the Bord Bia national Beer/Cheese Tasting Events this weekend and on Saturday afternoon, they had the very knowledgeable Willie Healy of the well known Bandon food store URRU  in charge of that particular stand. 

Here I got the chance to sample their newest stout, the Shandon Century Extra Stout (7.5%), available on tap and in a limited issue of numbered bottles (which, I’m told, are flying out the door at Bradley’s Off Licence). It is something special, full bodied and smooth and with a great dry flavour. 

Willie had examples from four local cheese producers for sampling with the stout and the other Franciscan products and they were Hegarty’s, Gubbeen, Ardsallagh and the Fermoy Natural Cheese Company. My favourite match was the stout and the cheddar from Hegarty’s. 

Well done to the Franciscan Well who had the whole thing well organised and had plenty of friendly staff on duty to help out. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Beer and cheese. And the blues!

Organiser Barrie Tyner (with the large bottle) at the Beer/Cheese event at the
Midleton Farmers Market today Saturday


 1000s of SOUPS!

Soups to cosy up to

That cool autumn air makes a mug of warming soup all the more inviting, and we’ve over 1000 Soup recipes to try!

Share your favourite soup recipe!

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Friday, October 28, 2011


Kerli Estnurm , Mike Ryan and Kate O'Donovan at THE CORNSTORE CORK

Cornstore Restaurant - 
awards finalist twice in one week

It’s been an exciting week for the Cornstore Restaurant Group with the Cornstore Cork restaurant selected as a finalist for one of the Irish hospitality industry’s highest honours; the prestigious Hotel & Catering Review ‘Gold Medal Award for Casual Dining’.

On top of that, The Frawley Group (which comprises the Cornstore Restaurants in Cork and Limerick, the Cornstore At Home gourmet deli, and Aubars Bar & Club) was selected as one of three finalists in the inaugural Limerick Region Business Awards 2011 for ‘Best Large Indigenous Company’.

Eight of the best of Ireland’s relaxed dining sector were selected as finalists for the Gold Medal Award for Casual Dining at the 23rd Annual Hotel & Catering Review Gold Medal Awards on Monday, October 24th, 2011 in Dublin.

Run by Executive Chef Mike Ryan, the Cornstore opened in Cork in 2007 and has gained wide acclaim since its launch, not least from the Gold Medal Awards jury this year, who recognised the restaurant’s commitment to promoting the best of seasonal, local Munster produce to diners.

The Limerick Region Business Awards were designed to give a platform to businesses to showcase their accomplishments, celebrating success and highlighting business achievements, innovation and excellence in the region, and were held on Friday October 21st in Limerick.

Commenting on the recognition these nominations bring to the Group, proprietor Padraic Frawley said; “We are delighted to have been acknowledged by both the hospitality sector and the business sector in this last week. It is a testament to our policy of supporting local business in sourcing quality local suppliers. Being nominated for these awards brings a recognition which validates our hard work and determination, and also recognises our hard working staff. As well, it demonstrates our ability to do business in even the toughest of times.”


at Midleton Farmers Market

Barry Tyner has been busy organising:

"This Saturday we are having a celebration of Irish Farmhouse Cheeses and Craft Beers at the Midleton Farmers Market. That means a big tasting table set up and everyone gets to sample for free.

We are also having a Costume Competition in aid of Bernardos. All stall holders will be in costume and prizes for the best costume for the kids.

We also have Stevie G doing a Jazz set and Andrea and his band belting out Rhythm & Blues. A clown performer will be going round keeping the kids on their toes."

Should be fun. Think I'll drop down in the morning.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Congrats to Hayfield Manor on winning the  Hospitality Industry's Highest Accolade

Ettienne Van Vrede General Manager, Karen Fleming Assistant Manager and Michael O'Driscoll Head Doorman (right) with the Hotel & Catering Review Gold Medal Award for Excellence 2011.

HAYFIELD MANOR HOTEL, the luxurious five star hotel in Cork city, has been awarded the highest accolade in the Irish hospitality industry, the prestigious Hotel & Catering Review Gold Medal Award for Excellence 2011.The landmark Cork hotel, which celebrated 15 years in business this year, triumphed ahead of hundreds of its peers in the Irish hospitality industry, beating off stiff competition from hotels, restaurants and caterers across the island of Ireland to win the supreme award at the 23rd Annual Hotel & Catering Review Gold Medal Awards  on Monday night.

Owned and operated by the Scally family, who bought the former Musgrave estate from the famous merchant clan in 1996 and turned it into the city’s first five star hotel, Hayfield Manor is a standard-bearer for Irish hospitality, providing Irish and international guests with unrivalled customer care in sumptuous surroundings.

The five star hotel has been described as a ‘beacon for Irish tourism’ by members of the Hotel & Catering Review Gold Medal Awards Jury, who together travelled close to 20,000 kilometres across the island this summer to search for Ireland’s greatest hospitality provider.

‘Hayfield Manor is a most deserving winner of the supreme Hotel & Catering Review Gold Medal Award for Excellence 2011, which is the highest accolade we can bestow on any hotel or catering business,’ commented Sarah Grennan, editor of Hotel & Catering Review and chair of the Gold Medal Awards Jury. ‘This luxurious five star hotel has proved consistently excellent in all aspects of its operation over our many years adjudicating for the Gold Medal Awards. Our judges have been bowled over by the standard of service delivered by the hotel’s loyal team of staff who are proud ambassadors for Irish tourism.’



Go into a supermarket nowadays and you’ll see signs all over the place for meal deals. You won't see such signs at your local farmers market but with a little “digging” you certainly can come up with a convenient meal.

Mahon Point is the farmers market that I am most familiar with and here is a recent example.

Starter: Chicken & Brandy paté from Barry Tyner

Mains: Lamb Tagine from Flynn’s Kitchen.

Dessert: Panacotta from Glenilen.

Lots of variations are possible: olives from the Real Olive Co., salmon paté from the Old Millbank and maybe crab cakes and soups from Flynn’s for starters; various types of Indian dishes from Green Saffron and also Flynn’s do a few more for mains; cheeses from Gubbeen and Marks, cakes and pastries from Bite Size and others, fruits and more for your dessert.

I probably left out quite a few (sorry!) but you can see my point. You can quickly make up a really high class convenient three course meal.

Was at the market this morning and Ballintubber Farm, where we bought our vegetables today, had loads of pumpkins on sale (photo). Stalls were busier than usual – Ian O’Flynn thought it might be because the schools were off due to the election – and we picked up some fish from O’Driscoll’s, various bits and pieces of pig from Woodside, apple juice from Ballyhoura, a favourite yeast loaf from the Natural Foods (photo), and more to set things up nicely for the jazz weekend.

Only regret was that I had to leave before the Beer and Cheese event got underway at noon!

Amuse Bouche

“Wang Long’s mother works in a foreigners’ hotel..... She told me that foreigners are really wasteful. They throw away the tea bags after just one cup. And the tea isn’t good enough for them – they have to add milk before they can drink it.”
 From Beijing Coma by Ma Jian.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Anthony Creswell with his 2010 UK Great Taste Gold and newly delivered salmon being processed.

On a boreen at the back of Timoleague, the back if we agree the front faces the estuary, there is a fork and if you take the left, even before you take the left, you will see a modest timber building below you.

It looks like a big hut but this is a state of the art smoke house and is the home of multi-award winning Ummera. Some of the awards are displayed outside. I had a guide here last week, none other than the owner Anthony Creswell.

Not only is this building a state of the art organic smoke house, it is also a highly efficient production unit, very streamlined indeed with the raw material arriving at one door and the tasty finished products leaving at the other end.

On the day I arrived, a delivery of salmon from Clew Bay had been made. The ice-packed boxes were being opened and the salmon, all individually tagged, were being filleted in preparation for the smoking. At the end is the packing and the dispatch, a room from which these high class products are sent to destinations all over the world.

The much sought after Ummera Smoked Products include Smoked Organic Salmon, Organic Gravadlax, Smoked Eel, Smoked Chicken, Smoked Duck and Smoked Dry Cured Bacon and are available at a range of outlets in Ireland. Sea Salt from Portugal and Raw Cane Sugar (Organic) from Costa Rica are used in the process but no artificial preservatives.

Ummera products have even ended up in Hawaii but they are also appreciated locally and indeed I enjoyed a gorgeous plateful of them in Dillon’s Restaurant (highly recommended) in Timoleague village before meeting Anthony.

Aside from being a very efficient “production line”, the smoke house is also extremely environmentally friendly. There are armies of worms working out the back in the vermi-composting unit set up to dispose of production waste and the site has a natural wetland for water waste.

The business goes back to the early 70s but this new house was built in 2000 and modified in 2004 to meet the demanding standards required by the Irish Government and the EU for the export of meat and poultry products. This enabled Ummera Smoked Chicken and Smoked Dry Cured Bacon to be exported throughout the EU in compliance to EU regulations. The Ummera Smoke house is the only one in Ireland licensed to smoke both fish and meat (including poultry).

Check out all the fascinating details here.



Good Food Ireland has being invited by Irish Thoroughbred Marketing to represent Ireland at The Breeders Cup “Taste of the World” Welcome Party in Louisville, Kentucky on November 3rd 2011. The brainchild of American celebrity chef Bobby Flay, the 15 countries that have won the Breeders Cup will come together to showcase the cuisine of their country.

These include France, Japan, USA, New Zealand, UK, Argentina and Australia amongst others. Good Food Ireland will also be included in the Winners Circle Ceremony for a Breeders Cup world championship race named in honour of the event. Coverage of the Welcome Party will be beamed to millions of people during ESPN’s domestic and international broadcast on Nov 4th and 5th.

“It is a great honour for Good Food Ireland to represent our country at this prestigious event. Ireland’s cuisine is largely driven by local ingredients and seasonal variations and the Good Food Ireland members clearly epitomise the best. The Breeders Cup is an ideal event to promote Ireland’s cuisine and the wonderful food that can be experienced in our network of businesses around the island of Ireland.

It is a primary audience many of whom regularly travel to Ireland for its great thoroughbred industry.  Good Food Ireland is very grateful to Irish Thoroughbred Marketing for affording this opportunity to us. ” say Margaret Jeffares, Founder and Managing Director, Good Food Ireland.

Good Food Ireland member chefs, Ed Cooney, The Merrion Hotel, Dublin and Maurice Keller, Arlington Lodge Country House Hotel, Waterford will showcase Butter Poached Fillet of Clare Island Salmon with a Lemon Oil Dulse, Green Vegetable Broth & Lobster, Traditional Irish Soda Breads, Burren Smokehouse Organic Smoked Salmon and Irish Farmhouse Cheese.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


In an effort to raise money for Focus Ireland, The Corkscrew are putting on a winter wine fair. 

What's on offer?

An opportunity to taste over 100 of the best wines available in Ireland in the relaxed and luxurious setting of the Westbury Hotel in Dublin. "We will be generously supported by some of our importers and as ever, it will be great to meet them and to see what new wines are available."

The details

The Corkscrew Winter Wine Fair in aid of Focus Ireland
Sunday, November 20th 12.30 - 5.30pm.
Westbury Hotel, Dublin
Tickets are €25 (all proceeds to Focus Ireland) and available online at

About Focus Ireland
Homelessness in Ireland is on the rise, while funding for charitable organisations such as Focus Ireland is under severe pressure.  Their services for people who are homeless are especially important at this time of year with colder, wetter weather and the emotional strain of the Christmas period.

WSET courses

Harriet Tindal has been in touch with details of the WSET courses they will be holding up till Easter. All held at the central location of The Westbury Hotel.

"We are trying to make these classes as informative as possible and hence include visiting producers whenever the dates marry up. We have an oak talk from the winemaker at Ramon Bilbao in our Level 3 in a couple of weeks and recently welcomed Adrian Buhrer from Saxenburg to talk about his experiences of the South African trade."

Level 2 Intermediate in Wines & Spirits

Course dates:

Day Course
Mondays (3)
14th,21st and 28th November 11
Evening Course
Tuesdays (7)
10th, 17th, 24th, 31st January 12 &
7th, 14th and 21st February 12

Course Costs: €430
                                    Payment scheme available:
                                    Deposit €280, then 3 weekly payments of €50 (Day)
                                  Deposit €150, then 7 weekly payments of €40 (Evenings)

Level 3 Advanced

Course dates:

Day Course
Mondays (5)
09.30 – 17.00
30th January, 6th, 13th, 20th & 27thFebruary 12

Evening Course

Available by request.

                                Course Costs: €700
                                                                        Payment scheme available on evening course:
                                    Deposit €250, then 10 weekly payments of €45
                                                                        Payment scheme available on weekly day course:
                                    Deposit €300, then 4 weekly payments of €100

Food Lover’s Choice Award

The Good Food Ireland Conference and Awards Ceremony will take place Tuesday, November 22nd 2011 in The Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin.

Amy White of GFI has been in touch with the news that food lovers can vote, not just in the Presidential election, but in a new Food Lover's Award:
 "We are excited to announce for the first time ever we have created a specific award dedicated to you called the “Food Lover’s Choice Award” where you can vote for your favourite Good Food Ireland business."

"Not only are we recognising the value of you our customers but we are also giving one lucky winner a chance to present the award with An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny at the Awards Ceremony. To ensure your favourite Good Food Ireland business is nominated you can vote by posting your comment to our Facebook Wall or simply email For all your up-to-the-minute news log onto"

Monday, October 24, 2011


Of Timoleague

In Timoleague, where stands the substantial ruins of a 13th century abbey, there is a restaurant called Dillon’s, run for the last couple of years by Julie and John Finn. This was an old bar and shop and that kind of atmosphere still remains as the bright spot is still a great place for social interaction, groups gathering for a chat and a coffee and even a game of bridge in the mornings.

That such a link to the past remains, says much for the friendliness and welcome you receive from the Finns. Julie looks after the front of house while John (originally from Mitchelstown) is the chef. Lovely people and lovely food.

Made my first call there last Friday, for lunch, and we got a terrific welcome and a terrific meal. Timoleague may be a relatively small place and Dillon’s a small restaurant, but the scope of the lunch menu (it is changed daily) is amazing, as you can see from the photo.

Took us a while to make the choice but knowing that the organic Ummera Smoke House was close by, we picked the House Platter with Smoked Salmon, Smoked Chicken and Smocked Duck, with homemade chutney, local Organic Salad and Brown Bread.
Click on image to enlarge
Didn't regret a bite of it. The fish and meats were up to the standard we know and expect. The chutney was top notch as was the salad and brown bread. Enjoyed it and the chat.

After that, and the Tasting Menu the night before at the Cornstore, we weren’t too sure about dessert but were persuaded when we saw the tart on the counter, the Pear, Almond, Blueberry and Raspberry tart that is.

Had something like this in Cafe Madeleine’s in St Gilles Croix de Vie in the Vendee in the early 80s. The Dillon’s effort was probably better and that too will find a special place in my food memory (which I must admit goes back a surprisingly long way!). “I’d drive down from the city just for this alone,” enthused CL.

Lots of people drive down from the city (just about an hour) in any case and Sunday lunch in Dillon’s is very popular. Opening hours are a little restricted at this time of year so check the latest on the website  before you go.

Afterwards you may work it off by taking the walk along the route of the old railway to Courtmacsherry and back (about ten kilometres return). Speaking of walks, who walked in as we finished the coffee only Anthony Creswell, the owner of the aforementioned Ummera Smoke House but that is another story, another post.

Dillon’s of Timoleague: 023 8846390,

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Click to enlarge


Just back from Clonakilty and a packed two days in the area. First stop was Dillon’s in Timoleague for lunch on Friday and to see owners John and Julie Finn.

Highlight here was a multi-fruit pie, worth the trip for this alone. But before that we had a brilliant plateful of Ummera smoked products and just as well as Anthony Creswell soon made an appearance. Delighted then to take up his invitation to see his smoke-house, the only one in Ireland licensed for both fish and meat smoking.

Took the scenic route then – it was quite a fine day – though Courtmacsherry and Butlerstown and Ring – and then headed to our base, the Macliam Guest House in Clon. We got a warm welcome from John (and an equally warm one from Maeve later on) and installed ourselves in a very comfortable room.

Still daylight aplenty so headed off down to Inchadoney for a long walk on the sand. Fully refreshed and with appetite renewed, called into Costello’s Malthouse for dinner. Lovely welcome from Amanda and a fine meal too where the highlights were a couple of top notch fish dishes.
Click on image to enlarge

Rain was expected on Saturday morning and it didn't let us down. It lashed in Skibbereen as we walked through the market which, in fairness, was still doing a good business, especially the Sheila and Mary fish stall.

We had a magnificent breakfast at the guesthouse but time now for a coffee and a call to Fields where I couldn't resist their smashing Tunisian orange cake. Had a look around the supermarket and delighted to see so many local products, including virtually all of the range from Just Food in Cobh. My kind of supermarket.

The rain still fell as we drove back towards Clon and a return visit, after decades, to the Model Village and Railway. Just bought our tickets and the sun came out and stayed out for the rest of the day. Really enjoyed the stroll around the village and the models of the area’s towns but the highlight for me was a very nostalgic audio visual presentation of the last day of the West Cork railway in 1961.

With the sun now firmly established, we drove to the coast and to Red Strand where half a dozen surfers were braving the strong waves. Galley Head was silhouetted in the distance and we made that our next destination. Enjoyed walking round the area in the stiff enough breeze and took a few photos of the waves crashing in against the rocks.

Dinner was on the agenda again, of course, and this time we had a booking at the bright and breezy bistro called Richy’s. First though we made a call to An Sugán for a drink. Nobody there at seven but it was packed half an hour later (punters there for the food as much as the drink) as we left to cross the road.

Great service at Richy's where the pretty large menu is supplemented daily by a blackboard full of specials. We knew we were on a winner the minute we tasted our starter of Clonakilty Black Pudding Samosas and also with the first mouthful of a gorgeous Domaine La Columbette Pinot Noir 2010 (down from 35 to 28 euro).

I’ll have more details on the restaurants in later posts but all three are highly recommended.

And another big recommendation for Mcliam’s. Met some lovely guests there including two US couples, travelling separately. They were amazed at the friendliness of the Irish people and backed it up with concrete examples. Like the man who interrupted his walk, sat into the car and guided one of the couples to their destination. And another who interrupted his chores to drive ahead of them to a tourist site - some 22 miles away!

Hard to beat that kind of friendliness but we found it too. Well we didn't have much need of directions but a query in one town was answered, in a friendly manner, by a young French person and one of the US couples were amazed when a foreign person in Dublin used his own phone to get directions for them. But everywhere we were greeted with a smile and, if we needed info, that was provided too. Just loved the couple of days.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


RECIPES FROM A PUMPKIN latest video from Irish Examiner - Roz Crowley in the kitchen

Friday, October 21, 2011


  with  (right) and @,


Superb beers and superb food and excellent company were the highlights of a very pleasant Food Beer showcase at the Cornstore last night. The beers, mainly continental, were supplied by Cremin and Radley. The Cornstore kitchen did a fantastic job with the matching and the tasting menu (below). Superb all round.

Every single one of the five courses was top class but two stood out for me. The Sea Bass was memorable. Not because the fish was gorgeous, which it was. But because of the accompaniments, in particular the carrot and orange emulsion (spiced up with a touch of cumin). And the dish went so well with the Schneider Weisse Kristall.

We finished off with a fabulous dessert and a brilliant matching beer. That White Chocolate Mousse with shortbread and strawberries would have been so tasty on its own but add in the Strawberry Wheat beer and you had a rare treat indeed.

Just have to emphasise that the other dishes and beers were also very very enjoyable, all top class. So thanks to Mike and all the Cornstore crew and to John Radley who provided short and to the point info on the beers. Cremin and Radley, by the way, will have a stand at the October Beer fest in the Franciscan Well on the Bank Holiday Weekend.

Check out tasting notes on all the beers and more at Cremin and Radley 


• • •
with grain mustard celeriac rémoulade & pickled cucumber
• • •
with sauerkraut, candied walnut, and apple puree (g)
& INNIS & GUNN oak aged beer
• • •
with roast organic pumpkin, sautéed spinach, grilled baby sweet corn with carrot and orange emulsion (g) & SCHNEIDER WEISSE KRISTALL wheatbeer
• • •
with celeric mash, organic  kale, braised cabbage and lovage jus
• • •
with homemade short bread biscuit & West Cork strawberries

Thursday, October 20, 2011


“ was regarded much more highly, as attested by King Alfonso IX’s decree of 1213, in which he pitied the poor canons in Galicia’s Lugo cathedral who were forced to drink cider and made them a large gift of Ribadavia wine (from what we now know as the Ribeiro).” From The Finest Wines of Rioja by Jesus Barquin, Luis Gutierrez and Victor De La Serna.



Dominique Geary of From Vineyards Direct has come up with a good proposal to shift election blues...

"Come and try up to 20 of the 2010 En Primeurs. Whether you have purchased already or are yet to decide then this is a must for all Bordeaux lovers."

The Tasting is taking place on 27th October 2011 from 6.30 to 8.30pm in Sebastian Guinness Gallery, 42 Dawson Street, Dublin 2 .

And just to whet your appetite here are some of the wines that will be presented:

Château Laforge Saint Emilion Grand Cru

Château Teyssier, St-Emilion

Château Potensac, Médoc Cru Bourgeois

La Tour de By, St-Estéphe

Château Caronne-Ste. Gemme, Haut-Médoc


The Finest Wines of Rioja and Northwest Spain, by Jesus Barquin Luis Gutierrez and Victor De La Serna.

While vines have been grown in the north west of Spain since Roman times, the wines only came to international prominence after the French were hit by phylloxera in the middle of the 19th century and the Bordeaux negociants crossed the border in search of replacement wines.

The new trade led to surge of prosperity in the area and the town of Haro, the centre of the Rioja trade though not the region, was one of the first areas in Spain to get electricity.

But the good times didn't last and decline had set in even before the devastating double whammy of the Civil War and World War 2. Then, a few wrong turns (including the use of “international” grape varieties) wasted further decades and it is only in relatively recent times that Rioja has regained its leading status while neighbouring Navarra is still trying to shed its mistakes.

The details of all these developments are listed and discussed in this fascinating new book (2011) by a trio of well qualified authors. “Lavishly illustrated with photographs of the people and of the landscape and with detailed maps, this guide ranges over a diverse area, including not only Rioja but Navarra, Bierzo, Galicia and the Basque Country as it explores winemaking from the ancient to the traditional and modern.”

“.. It provides insider information on a region that is home to Spain’s finest Tempranillo, its exciting Albarino, and many other indigenous grape varieties, such as Garnacha, Mazuelo and Viura.”

“The authors look in depth at topics including climate and soil, grape varieties and viticulture, and they profile more than 85 individual wineries. They also include information not available elsewhere, several top ten lists plus secret addresses for the best restaurants and shops in which to find aged and historic vintages of Rioja.”

Indeed, they do and then they also provide quite a lot of detail about the individual wineries and of the people that run them. The likes of CVNE, Lopez de Heredia/Tondonia, Bodegas Faustino, and Telmo Rodriguez (Spain’s “most famous itinerant vigneron”) are among those profiled.

Each winery’s best wines are listed. There is a year by year account of the vintages from 1990 to 2010, a chapter on the magic of aged Rioja and one on the best restaurants in the area. I just can't wait to visit Haro and its vineyards and this 320 page book will be coming south with me in 2012.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Neudorf Wine Tasting Dinner at Star Anise

Wine Dinner at Star Anise November 2

Neudorf Wine Tasting Dinner, Star Anise Restaurant, Bridge Street Cork.

Join Tim & Judy Finn from the Acclaimed Neudorf Winery in Nelson New Zealand at Star Anise restaurant, Cork. Price €65. To Book call Star Anise on 00353 (0) 21 455 1635
Neudorf may well be now an "acclaimed" winery but its wasn't always like that. Here, Judy Finn takes us back to the beginning:
1978 and the New Zealand fine wine industry was almost non existent. We (Tim and I) were fresh from the “back to the land” movement of the late sixties. We wanted to make beautiful wine. We figured Tim’s masters in Animal Behaviour along with my unimpressive journalism career would be beneficial. Wrong. However we did have youth (temporary), self belief (unwarranted) and friends. At one stage we had four mortgages and three jobs each. The old house at Neudorf had electricity in two rooms, an outside long drop, an inefficient wood stove and no hot water. I look back with no regrets.
Because there was so little known about basic viticulture in New Zealand we planted many varieties to see which ones were best suited to our soils. Merlot came and went as did Cabernet Sauvignon, Chenin Blanc and the dreaded Muller Thurgau. We were a bit hasty in rejecting Gewürztraminer and may look at that again. But we did it. Very few misgivings. Making wine is constantly scary and stimulating. We survive on hard work, high hopes and a dollop of common-sense and cunning.

Dinner and Wine Evening
With Tim & Judy Finn from Neudorf Estate
Wednesday, 2 November 2011

James Nicholson Sparkling Wine

Amuse Bouche of Cream of Cep and Truffle Oil

Crispy Ham Hock with Beetroot Relish and Mustard Cress

Neudorf Sauvignon Blanc 2010

Pan-Fried Halibut with Cockles and Samphire,
Lemon & Herb Beurre Blanc 

Neudorf Chardonnay 2009

Braised Chuck of Beef with Thyme, Parsley Puree,
Horseradish Mash and Glazed Baby Carrots

Neudorf Moutere Pinot Noir 2008

Star Anise Dessert Plate
Tea & Coffee