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Monday, August 8, 2011
EL COMANDANTE Chardonnay 2010, Argentina, 13.5%, Mannings Food Emporium, Bradley’s Off Licence and many other outlets.
This 2010 Chardonnay picked up a bronze award at the International Wine Challenge, a distinction proudly worn on the front label. On the back, you will see the Mendoza winery is Irish owned, established by an army man, hence the name.
No oak and no complications. Just a lovely young Chardonnay, dry, fresh and fruity. Didn't need any comandante ordering me to get friendly with this young Argentinean.
Colour is pale with tints of green and the nose is moderately aromatic, with hints of gooseberry. In the mouth it is fresh and crisp, fruity (gooseberry and citrus traces) with a lively and lengthy finish.
Not a high priced wine but a good one and worthy of your consideration.
Naturally enough, the winery was delighted with the bronze medal and announced it as follows in June 2011:
At the recent London Wine Fair Irish owned winery El Comandante won awards as part of the International Wine Challenge. Wine Producer Tom Lynch is delighted to announce the both El Comandante's 2009 Malbec and 2010 Chardonnay won Bronze Medals. That it is the first time that the wine has entered into any international competition means that a Bronze Medal is quite an achievement, especially as this was only the second vintage from this winery.
There is a sad note here too as Michael Lynch, the founder, died shortly after the wine was first imported. You may see all the information here
Friday, July 15, 2011
Have been promising myself, and one or two others, to visit Manning’s Food Emporium in Ballylickey for some time. Made it, finally, on a sunny day this week and enjoyed the call which included a chat with Val, the man who started it all.
Val was in great form and gave us quite a laugh when he let loose as a delivery man as about to demolish one of his flower stands out the front. It didn't come to a collision and soon it was smiles as usual.
Manning’s Emporium has been in the Manning family for over 70 years and has evolved in that time from post office and convenience store to what it is today: a gourmet shop renowned for its high quality local produce, fine wines and excellent service.
No doubt in Irish cities you’ll find some similar stores with bigger selections but remember that Mannings is in deepest West Cork in a country village on the coast road between Bantry and Glengarriff. That makes the selection here, mostly locally produced but also some stand-out items from aboard, quite remarkable indeed.
Just to give you a flavour, here are some of the items that ended up in my basket: Molaga Honey €3.40, Tikka Masala Curry Sauce (UK) €4.05, Janet’s Country Fayre Beetroot Blush €4.00, Healthy Thirst Elderflower Sparkling Drink (UK) €3.25 for 75cl, Cooleeney Handmade Irish Cheese €3.75, The Apple Farm’s Sparkling Irish Apple Juice €4.45 for 50cl, Donegal Rapeseed Oil €5.95 for 50cl and El Comandante Chardonnay 2010 Argentina.
I’ve forgotten the price of the wine but you’ll see that the others are priced fairly, better value than in some of the city shops. Quite a lot of other local producers on display including Lorge Chocolates, Jack McCarthy (Kanturk), Gubbeen, Durrus and there is a rack of vegetables by the door and more.
Shopping done, it was time to take a table out-front and enjoy a cup of coffee and a cake. They have a selection of pastries to chose from, all served with a smile. Soon, we were ready to check out two other delights of the delightful area: the unusual Ewe Sculpture Garden and Bantry House. A cool bag in the boot came in handy and some of the drinks - the Elderflower was gorgeous – were seen off during the afternoon of what turned out to be a great day in the west.