Showing posts with label L'Atitude. Show all posts
Showing posts with label L'Atitude. Show all posts

Thursday, May 25, 2017

"Why we select the wines we do". SuperValu’s Buyer Tells How and Why.

Why we select the wines we do.

SuperValu’s Buyer Tells How and Why.
 “Why we select the wines we do.” That was the theme of the eye-opening Supervalu Wine tasting, a Munster Wine & Dine event, at L’Atitude on Wednesday night. 

The company's senior wine-buyer Kevin O’Callaghan was our host for the evening and he brought along 12 excellent examples from the SuperValu shelves, concentrating mainly on the bottles with the Specially Sourced stamp.  “These have been sourced, tasted and approved by our wine-buying team.”

Bubbles!
Kevin, who has been with the company for 13 years, says their aim is to make wine more accessible so “people can enjoy good wines at affordable prices”. And that was underlined throughout the evening that started with a glass of Charles Mignon Grand Cru Champagne, this one, with its intense aromas of almond and apricot. It is  “a good food match, a blend of Pinot Noir (55%) and Chardonnay and, at €45.00, well priced against sparklers of comparable quality".

Soon we were on to the very affordable, a Flamants Picpoul de Pinet (12.99, 10.00 on offer), becoming ”a very fashionable wine and great with shellfish.” 

Next up was the Abellio Albarino 2015 (12.99, 10.00 on offer). Kevin is very proud of this one, not least because he helped design the label (just one of the ways in which SuperValu help their producers sell their wines). The Albarino, with its excellent aromas and flavours, is another terrific seafood wine. And it would be my favourite of the two openers, by a long way.

We were using a points system to score the wines and I gave the Picpoul 84 points, the Albarino 92. Why  the points? Kevin said it is an essential tool for the wine-buyer who could well sample over 100 wines at a session and the points system is a major help in differentiating between so many, especially at the end of a long session. So, since we were being put in the wine-buyer’s shoes, it was used on the evening! Nothing too serious though and we had quite a few laughs all through.

Next up was a “personality” wine, the Graham Norton Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Once  SuperValu realised this was a serious wine - Norton was quite fussy about it - they went after the rights, especially since the comedian is from Cork. It has worked out well for all sides and Norton donates his share of the profits to charity. It is an excellent wine and, at €12.00, good value as well. And good value is something that Kevin and his team always have in mind. O’Callaghan, by the way, reckons that Sancerre is better with food than Marlborough.
 And speaking of food, the L’Atitude kitchen kept us supplied with a series of top notch bites throughout the tasting, ranging from Anchovies and Pepper on toast to Ummera Smoked Duck to a Pork Meat Balls with Olives to a Black Pudding and Apple in pastry.

Chardonnay was next, the Nugan Estate Personality Dreamers 2013 from the Riverina and on offer at €10.00. A bit of a division around the tables here because of the oak, even though they don’t use new oak so the effects are muted. I liked it very much indeed.

And more oak on our mystery white, this even more muted. The lightly oaked blend (including Bourboulenc, Roussane, and Grenache blanc) had us guessing during this blind tasting. It has a fabulous textural richness and a great finish. It comes from Corbieres and well worth seeking out at €10.00 on offer.

“Is Rosé on the way out?” asked a member. “It is static, at about 4% of the market,” answered Kevin. “But we’ve brought in some drier ones, including one from Provence, with way more fruit and character”. The European ones, especially these new ones, are worth buying, he advised.
 If the whites were good (and they were very good), the reds were probably better. This time we started with the blind tasting and it turned out to be a Cotes de Roussillon, a blend of Syrah (45%), Carignan (40) and Grenache. Violets prominent in the aromas, nice acidity and “made for drinking now. A summer BBQ wine!”.

He then introduced one of his favourites, the Castellani Arbos 2013 from Tuscany, 100% Sangiovese. Very approachable, easy-drinking, a garden wine, soft and luscious and a “good representation of the area and the grape”. 

Kevin described the next one as “a blockbuster”. And the Pagos de Labarca AEX certainly lived up to it. Great aromas and fruit and a lot of character. Lots of oak after 18 months in it, too much for some, yet this Rioja was my overall favourite. Price is €22.99, on offer at 18.00.

On now to the Nugan Estate Alfredo Dry Grape Shiraz. Kevin admits to being a fan of apassimento (amarone style). This wine is made in that style, the partially dried grapes giving more flavour, more concentrated aromas. “Plenty of oak, full flavour, acidity, juiciness, long finish, good balance, high in alcohol but no heat.” Bring on the BBQ steak. €19.99, offer 15.00.

I gave that a 92 and the same number to the Aresti Family Collection, a blend of a selection of red varieties from the Chilean family. Kevin is a major fan: “This is as a good a structured a red wine as you can get. Equivalents will cost you €40.00. It is regularly featured in competition and the lowest score it has ever attained is 91 points.” This is priced at a more modest €25,00 and 20.00 on offer. Take note!

So what has Kevin, who started off as a 16 year old delivery boy in Galvins, in store for us in the near future. He is excited about a new Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre blend: “This GSM is organic and is on the way. Should be on sale in September - can't wait for it!” It is by Fleur de Anon.

“The last few years, we have been beyond the comfort zone. We hope to continue that trend and bring the consumer with us.” He certainly gained a room full of converts on Wednesday evening.

* Most of the wines had two prices, the regular and the offer. SuperValu have a series of well-flagged offer periods regularly over the year. So, if you know your favourite is likely to be among them, then you won't have long to wait to stock up.

* Next Munster Wine & Dine event is the July 7th visit to Gubbeen, a premium event. Make sure you get your reservation in on time!
Kevin (SuperValu) and Beverley (L'Atitude)

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Liam Campbell hosts Beaujolais MasterClass in Cork

Liam Campbell hosts Beaujolais MasterClass in Cork

The event is open to bone fide trade (on or off) and press. 
Contact: Jean Smullen Tel: (086) 816 8468  jean@jeansmullen.com

Thursday, September 10, 2015

L’Atitude 51 for Wine. Ratatouille. Movies & Music

L’Atitude 51 for Wine
Ratatouille. Movies & Music
Called into L’Atitude 51 on Union Quay for lunch midweek. Looked at the blackboard and went for the headline dish: Ratatouille with Chicken Skewers (€9.50). It was a good choice, the bowl packed with that high class Ratatouille, full of colour, flavour and texture. Indeed it was so good, that one customer specified Ratatouille on its own.

It is a small enough menu but you may have anything from a half sandwich to the top hot dish. Some recent examples of the latter are Tuscan Sausage & Bean Stew; Baked Longueville Apple Cider Chicken with Mustard Mash;  Tagliatelle with Lemon Pork Ragù;
and Couscous: Moroccan Stew with Chicken and Merguez Sausage.

If I hadn't wanted the Ratatouille, I could have had picked from Salad: Insalata Caprese with Mixed Leaves, West Cork Tomatoes, Toonsbridge Buffalo Mozzarella & Basil (€9.50);
Soup: Cumin, Carrot, Potato €4.50.
Sandwiches:
- Ummera Smoked Chicken and Creme Fraiche
- Local Tomato, Tuna and House Mayo
- Roasted Potato with Oregano, Feta and SunDried Tomato
Full Sandwich: €6.50

L’Atitude, run by Emma Lagrande and Beverly Mathews, is best known as a wine bar and indeed won the Georgina Campbell Wine Award for 2015. It is set in a historic building, formerly home to the famous Lobby Bar.
Wine tasting via Skype at L'Atitude

They have an extensive selection of wines from every corner of the globe, all carefully sourced, with over 50 available by the glass. They also serve great craft beer and cider, superb locally roasted Badger & Dodo coffee, homemade pastries freshly baked each morning, and more. Importantly, they use the best artisan ingredients, sourced locally where possible.  

The  Wine Workshop hosts a variety of exciting events focusing on the fun side of wine, from tastings and masterclasses on wine, beer, whiskey and sherry to movie nights, and much more.

By the way their Cine Cafe series for this season starts up next Wednesday evening
with "A Year in Burgundy". Part journalistic documentary and part contemplative art film, it follows seven winemaking families in Burgundy throughout the course of a year. Burgundy Wine Specialists Le Caveau, Kilkenny, will provide the "tastes" for the movie.
Wednesday 16th September 8pm. Tickets €12. Booking Essential.

Being in the old Lobby Bar, it was inevitable that music would play a part in L’Atitude. There is no shortage in the famous room upstairs where you’ll see some of Cork's finest musicians. Keep an eye on the website and on their Facebook page.

L’Atitude is a bit like their blackboard menu - lots of good things packed into a relatively small place!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Carlow’s Isla Brings Her Wines Home

Carlow’s Isla Brings Her Wines Home
Winegeese organisers, Beverley Mathews (right) and
Maurice O'Mahony (left) with Isla and Paul Gordon.

There are more vines growing in the Languedoc than in Australia. Paul Gordon should know. He is Australian and he and his Irish wife Isla work (and I mean work) a vineyard in the Languedoc about twenty minutes drive from Beziers. The vineyard is called Domaine la Sarabande and they had four wines at the latest Winegeese tasting in L’Atitude 51 in Cork last evening.

The couple met in New Zealand in 2003 and then spent five or six years in wine in Marlborough. In 2009, they settled in France and raised some €40,000 from relations and friends in return for wine in the future. Isla: There is just the two of us. We are very small; everything is gently worked and done by hand. We have upped production to about 28,000 bottles a year which is more or less where we want to be.

With so many vineyards in the area, there is much competition locally and so the pair export about 90 per cent of their wine, mostly to English speaking countries. And indeed, those same countries (Ireland, US, Australia and New Zealand) are all happy with screw caps but not so the French.

And the bottling is done on the farm, but by a mobile contractor who drives up in his specially equipped truck when they are ready. “The wine goes in one end; the cartons come out the other!”
The first wine shown last evening, the 2012 AOP Rosé, is sold mostly at “the cellar door”. It is about half and half Grenache and Cinsault, very fruity with good acidity, finishing crisp and dry. Drink it young and you’ll see it goes well with salmon, smoked trout or with a medium spiced Asian cuisine.

Then we moved on to their beautifully name Misterioso, their entry level red from 2012, a great match with the Duck terrine from L’Atitude (the ladies here know their pairings and regularly get them spot on!). It is fruit forward, easy drinking, fresh and juicy and very approachable.The 2011 AOP Rouge was next up, a blend of Grenache (60%), Carignan (25) and Syrah. “A lot more going on here...more structure..more body. Suits red meats, stews. Carignan is pain to grow, susceptible to disease but its earthy character makes it worth it.” It went down well with the L’Atitude spiced beef.



Wine number four was their 2012 Vin de France, made with approximately 60 Carignan and 40 per cent Aramom. Aramom? It is an old local grape. And they have some on their land. The bush vines are 60 to 80 years old with a very low yield but very intense fruit.

It was perhaps my favourite but only 1000 bottles are produced! “It is really quite special. Earthy fungal, herbal, minty (the vineyard is bordered by the garrigue) and fresh to the finish. Because of the soil type, the wine holds the acidity, it is a winemaker’s dream, no manipulation required,” said Paul. A lovely wine to finish a very pleasant evening on.

Next up: December 5th 6.00pm in the Food Emporium (Brown Thomas). John Wilson talk and tasting on the Wine Geese. No fee but do book a place via L’Atitude or the Ballymaloe Wine Shop in BT.