Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Taste of the Week. Roaring Ruby Red Ale


Taste of the Week
Roaring Ruby Red Ale

I was eating out recently in Timoleague's Monk’s Lane where Gavin and Michelle have, since they started out a few years back, been strong supporters of local craft brewers. They have a very long list of beers, both in draught and in bottle.

I spotted the Roaring Ruby Red Ale by the West Cork Brewery from Baltimore in draught and noted the “dangerously drinkable” in the blurb.

I can vouch for that having sipped my way through a smooth pint of its delicious caramel and toffee flavours, a superb red ale almost crossing into stout territory. And our Taste of the Week is great with food.

The West Cork Brewery is based at Casey’s of Baltimore, Ireland’s first Brew-Hotel, and was launched in December 2014 by Dominic Casey, Henry Thornhill and brewer Kevin Waugh. They also produce the Sherkin Lass Ale and Stout x Southwest. Wouldn’t mind being down there now in that sun trap beer garden, sipping a pint of Roaring Ruby and the boats coming and going on the blue waters.

Check out three other top Irish beers all on the darker side here

Monday, July 2, 2018

White Wine Weather. Three of the very best!


Trimbach Riesling Alsace (AC) 2015, 13%, €15.96 (was 19.95) O’Brien’s

Trimbach (not Jean methinks!) sum up their wine story that began in 1626: “exceptional terroirs and fine wines”. And so they continue. This is “a great example of dry Riesling” according to Decanter, talking about the 2014 edition.

It is indeed a lovely wine with a light strawy colour. Apples and a touch of lime in the restrained aromas. Smooth on the palate with terrific white fruit flavours and the amazing dry finish goes on and on. Well made as you’d expect from this producer and Very Highly Recommended (even at the regular price - I got this in a sale).


Gitton Père & Fils Les Montachins Sancerre (AC) 2014, 12.5%, €23.95 Karwig Wines

Colour of this 100% Sauvignon Blanc is a light straw, tints of green. Fairly intense aromas, lime and apple, mineral notes too. Terrific rush of outstanding flavours, citrus now prominent, matched by an equal burst of the most refreshing acidity. And the finish lacks nothing at all, long and satisfying.  No need to say too much about this one, just Very Highly Recommended.

Speaking of the variety, Wine-Searcher.com says the key selling point of Sauvignon Blanc “is its straightforwardness” and that is certainly the case here. Its home land is the Loire and it is now found growing successfully in quite a few countries, notably in New Zealand.

Pair with oysters, crab, delicate white fish, green vegetables and salads, and cheese (goats in particular).

Albet i Noya El Fanio Xarel-lo 2016 Penedes (DO), 13%, now €17.00 Mary Pawles Wines.

Colour of this organic wine is light gold.
Citrus, gooseberry, floral notes too, in the nose.

Lovely creamy mouthfeel here - it had been on lees for six months; herb flavours to the fore, thyme and rosemary and other notes from the local scrub, fresh and lively acidity too make this a very friendly wine indeed, a distinctive one also and Very Highly Recommended. Great value as well.

El Fanio is the name of the vineyard and the grape variety is Xarel-lo, familiar to many of you as a key grape in Cava. The wine is aged in cement eggs (not very romantic!) and in acacia barrels.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

The Aniar Experience. Tastes of the West

The Aniar Experience. 
Tastes of the West.

When I was a boy, I would fish for pollock in Belderrig with my Mayo cousins, using eels we had caught earlier in nearby mountain streams as bait. Later, with adult help, the pollock would be cooked over a few sods of turf. Not the handsomest of fish, but a delicious one.
Strawberry, woodruff
The Michelin starred Aniar in Galway city has a modest exterior. Inside, it is cool, the air conditioning at a perfect pitch to keep the temperature down to comfortable levels during the late June heatwave.


Goat, fennel
Pretty much everything is at a perfect pitch: the service (chef Killian Crowley came to explain the details of most of the dishes), the provenance, cooking and presentation. We have booked in for the Inis Oirr menu, a six course tasting menu. It costs 72 euro and we know that before we arrive. 
potato, charcoal
The drinks are on the expensive side, 9 euro for a bottle of Kinnegar beer for example. We take a look at the 80 strong wine list, looking for something light, something versatile. With excellent guidance from sommelier Zsolt Lukács, we settled on the excellent Terres Dorres L'Ancien Vieilles Vignes produced from Jean-Paul Brun's oldest Gamay vines in Beaujolais.


eel, kohlrabi.  The eel is Lough Neagh.

You are eased into the meal with four small bites, a multiple amuse bouche if you will. Three are pictured (above) and the fourth was a kelp and sea radish dashi. All were “amusing”, each tasty and each interesting.
bread and butter
 Bread is an integral part of the meal here, a sign of friendliness and informality (Aniar is not a stuffy place). And when the selection (with a couple of butters) arrives on the table, there is a poem with it: Bread by Brendan Kennelly and, before you leave, you get the recipe for their Brown Soda Seed Bread. 
pollock, pine

So on we go to the Pollock and the Pine, a few green pine needles included so that you can try the citrus taste for yourself.  Another eye-catching palate-pleasing dish is the Oyster and Wrack, the oyster has been slightly charred on top. The sea, oh the sea. 
oyster, wrack
Chef-patron JP McMahon likes to foster old cooking and preservation methods such as curing, pickling, smoking and fermentation.  It seems that next we are getting eggs but the shells contain mostly fermented potato and under that there is some chewy pollack, a worthwhile chew I hastily add. As with many dishes, the eye and the stomach are well satisfied.

potato, pollock
Here comes the mains. The lamb and the baby gem have both had the Green Egg treatment. Hardly tradition but quite superb, a McMahon Galway mix of colour, flavour and texture.

lamb, baby gem
So now we start to wind down with a "pre-dessert": an ice-cream of rapeseed (organic, of course) and birch (foraged). Perhaps I said wind down too soon. For it is followed by the main dessert of Strawberry and Woodruff, more foraging, more fermenting. The alpine strawberries are fermented to make a gel. Smooth and delicious.


rapeseed, birch

Elderflower
Now we have two more. Beetroot with goats cheese is one. The other is Elderflower Meringue. And that is the finalé of a lovely meal, a menu that tends towards the lighter side, certainly lighter than the tasting menu enjoyed in Chapter One three years back.

You are not stuffed - nor should you be, anywhere -  but neither are you in any way hungry. In that regard, it is comparable to the 12 course menu at Ichigo Ichie in Cork. Indeed, I thought I saw a Japanese character on the front of the Aniar menu but when I looked properly I saw that is Ogham, an ancient Irish alphabet, and of course it spells Aniar.

 The menu, which changes daily, is seasonal and local. Virtually everything on it is from Galway with a nod to one or two of the near neighbours, so maybe not quite as radically local as the 12-mile menu at Kevin Ahern's Sage in Midleton. If you want something different while you’re in Galway,  Aniar is the place to go. Very Highly Recommended.

beetroot (and below)

Also from this trip:
King's Head Bistro
Kitchen at Galway City Museum
Getaway to the City of the Tribes. Galway


Aniar
53 Lower Dominick Street
Galway
Twitter: @aniargalway
Facebook: AniarRestaurant
Tel: 091 535 947

Friday, June 29, 2018

Amuse Bouche


“Everyone who comes to Fatty Boom Boom’s is a drinker, Mother. Otherwise Fatty herself will show you the door.”

“In that case what do you have?”
“Wine, gin, whiskey, brandy, umqombothi-“
I cut off her recitation.”I will have a small glass of umqombothi.”
The girl laughs.”Fatty is a big woman, Mother, and she believes in big glasses. You will find nothing small here.”
The home-brewed traditional African beer I have ordered is illegal…

from Hum if you don’t know the words by Bianca Marais (2017). Very Highly Recommended.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Osteria Da Mirco. Tastily Bridges Cork And Italy


Osteria Da Mirco
Tastily Bridges Cork And Italy


There’s another Italian restaurant in Cork, Osteria Da Mirco in Bridge Street.


Some differences here though. Many of us know Mirco Fondrini from his 13 years at front of house in the English Market’s Farmgate Café. Some of you will know him also from Turner’s Cross as he likes the Cork City style of calcio.

And another thing. Mirco has stayed very much in touch with his home area of Valtellina in north-eastern Italy where he learned the trade (he is also a qualified sommelier). It is a great place to learn about food and wine and its influence is now clear to see and taste in Bridge Street.

An Osteria is a traditional Italian tavern that serves good wine and simple dishes and where you get a warm welcome. Genuine and genial, Da Mirco’s ticks all those boxes and more. Many Italian menus are long, most will have a big list of pizza options. That is not the case here. The menu is compact and there is no pizza. Short yes, but quality all the way.

Mirco’s love for Valtellina is particularly well illustrated in one of the starters, the Aperitivo Da Mirco. This platter consists of Tuna fishballs with aioli, pickled onions, tomatoes and basil, salami, three cheeses and “jam”, caramelised walnuts, and their own Focaccia. Not everything on the big sharing plate (15 euro for two) is from Valtellina but every little bit is full of flavour, the real thing.

Other starters (antipasti) include Bruschetta - with EVO and garlic; A Cheese board from Lombardy; and Tuna fishballs with aioli.

The wines too come from Italy, from all over the country. And include an excellent house wine, Madregale in both red and white, both simple and delicious and each at six euro a glass.

On now to the mains. While there is no pizza, there is pasta, their own. CL was tempted by a trio of Tagliatelle dishes, each available for two persons with a good reduction if you go that route. Her choice was the Tagliatelle al Ragú Bianco version (13.50). As the title suggests there is no tomato here! The vegetables have been cooked in the meat juices and she throughly enjoyed this moist and flavoursome plateful.



Hake was also on the menu. There is both a fish dish and meat dish of the day and they tell all about that at the table. Service is excellent here, friendly and efficient.

Mirco gave me a very encouraging description of their steak for the evening, but I picked the Roast Hake with red pepper coulis, served with oven roasted garlic and rosemary potatoes and a superb selection of Mediterranean vegetables (17.50). Superbly cooked and very appetising indeed. Another winner from the kitchen. Must go back for that steak sometime!


Like the rest of the menu, desserts are few but each is tempting. I was looking at the Cantucci i Vin Santo (Cantucci biscuits with the national dessert wine of Italy) but in the end we decided, being where we were, we couldn’t leave the Tiramisu (5.50) behind so we shared it and managed to finish this tumbler of deliciousness without a fight! A great finish and out then to Bridge Street and the Italian sun; not really but, after that well cooked, well priced meal, the Irish sun felt pretty good.

Osteria Da Mirco
4 Bridge Street, Cork
021 2419480





Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Taste of the Week. Wicklow Bán Brie


Taste of the Week
Wicklow Bán Brie

Encouraged by the immediate success of their multi-award winning Wicklow Blue, the Hempenstalls soon followed up with this equally delightful creamy brie cheese.

The family have been making cheese since 2005 and they credit the farm’s proximity to the Irish Sea with adding a distinctive flavour all of its own to these seductively addictive Wicklow Farmhouse cheeses. And this is distinctive. It is mild, creamy and buttery and our Taste of the Week.

Apples, berries, pears and many other juicy fruits are known to pair well with Brie. We came across another variation. We just happened to have some dried baby figs (from the Olive Stall in the English Market) in the house and they, along with a few grapes, made for a delicious plateful. If you want to make it even better, add a glass of that gorgeous Pom ‘O from Killahora Orchards.

Wicklow Farmhouse cheese is widely available. I got this piece at On the Pig’s Back in Cork’s English Market.

Curranstown House, 
Arklow, 
Co. Wicklow
Phone: +353 (0) 402 91713 
Mobile: +353 (0) 872515980 
Web: www.wicklowfarmhousecheese.ie

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Jamie Goode: Why Beaujolais is better.


Jamie Goode: Why Beaujolais is better.
Jamie Goode, the wine journalist, book author and flavour obsessive, reckons the move towards natural wine has been a big factor in the renaissance of Beaujolais. 

Speaking at Monday’s masterclass on the region at the River Lee Hotel, the jet-lagged Goode (he had just come that morning from Vancouver), said that the movement (including Jean Foillard, another recent visitor to Cork) has “inspired a new generation”. “It is encouraging to see many more working organically or on the way towards it.”

Goode, like quite a few before him, reckoned that Beaujolais Nouveau didn’t do the region any great favours. The Gamay grape also suffered in reputation. But that is now reversed and there is lots of excitement worldwide about Gamay. He maintained the trend towards lighter wines is also helping as Beaujolais can come up with lighter styles that are still complex and he would use the masterclass to demonstrate that and the the diversity within the region.

He took us back to the time when climate was everything. Find a climate like Burgundy and you can make great Pinot Noir. It doesn’t necessarily follow. The focus is now on soil, the granite here, limestone is also sought after. He doutlined the very detailed work done on soil in Beaujolais and promised us a “very intertesting range”.

Jamie did make a case for the wine critics. “The community of critics can determine which wines are the best.” Though not necessarily unanimously. Sometimes it is not easy. Jamie told us of experts being given Beaujolais in disguise as Burgundy and falling for it!

Oddly enough, our second bottle came in a Bordeaux shape. This was the 2017 Maison Coquard from clay and limestone soils, aromatic, ripe fruits, fresh acidity and “pretty impressive for a regular Beaujolais.”

Up a step then to Beaujolais Villages, this the Moillard 2014, light of colour, moderately aromatic and good for food. Interesting thing here is that one half goes under carbonic maceration, the second is destemmed and ferments traditionally in stainless steel.

Then we were on to the crus starting with the Chiroubles Domaine des Marrans Vielles Vignes 2015 aged for 12 months in old oak foudres, nicely scented with sweet ripe fruit, tannins and some fresh acidity and an excellent finish.

Our Régnié was the most impressive at this stage and not because it came in an almost squat bottle, “a statement” according to Jamie. Ripeness in the scents, fresh yet luxurious, good balance, tannins almost contained and excellent finish. But, like quite a few of the wines on show, not available here and looking for a distributor.

The Saint-Amour, your Valentine’s day bottle, kept the standard up. The Chardigny A La Folie 2017 had direct fruit, smooth texture, tannins too and a hint of minerality, not bad at all from a high density planting.

The Bertand Vuril 2016 from Brouilly, the largest of the crus, comes from “quite a mixture of soil types” including clay, silt and limestone. Supple and elegant with that fresh fruit again, a little bit of pepper, nice mouthfeel and good finish.

Fleurie is one of my favourite crus but the Chateau Gaillard 2017 is not showing great at the moment. It has potential though and Jamie reckons it will age well.

Chateau Thivin, in conversion to organics, has “a high reputation, really solid wines” and their Les Sept Vignes 2016 demonstrated that in abundance. This excellent drop has a lovely structure, good fruit of course, very impressive for a young wine. This estate in Côtes de Brouilly is in conversion to organics.

The Chers Vielles Vignes 2017 was grown on schist soils with volcanic blue stones. I liked this, from the Juliénas cru, with its soft fresh fruit scents, its smoothness on the palate, lively acidity and long dry finish. Very Impressive.
Jamie, with Beverley of L'Atitude (Cork's top wine bar)

The Chénas region was represented by Domaine de Côtes Rémont 2916, fresh and bright, slight grip, nice finish and a “good example”.

Morgon would provide my favourite of the day, the biodynamic Villa Ponciago Les Pierres Bleues 2016. The fruit is grown on a mix of blue schist and ancient igneous type rocks. Complex aromas, excellent fruit, some grip, acidity too and a superb finish. Very Very Impressive. In 2016 and 2017 the quantity of wine produced in Beaujolais was down because of hail but the quality was up.

Moulin A Vent is another well know cru and the 2016 wine here came from Richard Rottiers. This was another with potential, one to wait for.

My Tops:
1 - Morgon
2 - Juliénas
3 - Régnié, Côte de Brouilly

Previous Beaujolais masterclasses

The Beaujolais Irish tour continues: Galway and Limerick, details below




Monday, June 25, 2018

Three Whites. Each Highly Recommended.


Beck Weissburgunder Burgenland (Austria) 2016, 12.5%, €18.95 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

This Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc), from eastern Austria, first came to my attention at the Chef Sessions in ORSO in March last and I noted it for an extended trial! It is biodynamic and new to the Le Caveau portfolio. The fruit is hand-picked and the wine spends six months on its lees in oak casks.

It is a pale gold, with lots of micro-bubbles clinging to the glass. There are aromas of white fruit, including pear. A lively tingly introduction to the palate with lots of white fruit flavours following on, full-bodied with a pleasant refreshing acidity and a long finish. Fragrant and refreshing, this is a versatile food wine and Highly Recommended. More to Austrian whites than Gru-Vee!



Wohlmuth Kitzecker Riesling 2016, Sausal Südsteiermark Austria, 12.5%, €21.65 Karwig Wines

The fruit comes the village of Kitzeck where slopes of up to 80% makes it one of Europe’s steepest vineyards.

Light gold is the colour and you’ll note green tints. Aromas are of peach and melon. On the palate it is juicy and fruity, outstanding fresh acidity, it is long, minerally and citrusy, makes your lips pucker. With peach, apricot and citrus elements in the mix, it makes for a lovely aperitif. Great too with seafood, particularly with prawns. Highly Recommended
.


Luigi Righetti Bianco di Custoza (DOC) 2016, 12%, €13.95 Karwig Wines.

This blend, one hundred per cent of the Soave grapes according to the Karwig website, has a light straw colour. It is moderately aromatic, fruity with a dry and delicate flavour, a good mouthfeel and a decent finish. Excellent as an aperitif or with fish or shellfish. Easy drinking and Highly Recommended.

The Bianco di Custoza is a white DOC wine from the Veneto region of north-eastern Italy. Nine grape varieties are allowed, but generally just three are used, the best known of which is Garganega, the Soave grape.

Located in the heart of Valpolicella Classico, the Luigi Righetti estate is a small to mid-sized, family run winery. Since 1909, when Angelo Righetti first earned a reputation as an outstanding winemaker, the family has focused on producing quality wines offering extremely good value as is the case here.


New Zealand 2018 Vintage Latest:
Vintage 2018 benefits from warm summer
A warm summer benefited New Zealand’s winegrowing regions, with 419,000 tonnes of grapes harvested during Vintage 2018.
This is up 6% on the 2017 tonnage, but is still lower than initially anticipated in a season marked by a very early start to harvesting.
New Zealand Winegrowers CEO Philip Gregan says many wineries had been hoping for an even larger vintage, given 2017’s small harvest.
“However, we now expect export growth in the year ahead will be modest. It will be up to wineries to manage any product shortages from the vintage.”
In addition to prompting an early harvest, the warm summer produced fruit with good ripeness levels.
A highlight from Vintage 2018 is the increased production of red wines.
“Production of both Pinot Noir and Merlot has lifted more than 20% on last year, which will be welcomed by both wineries and consumers. These varieties were down sharply in 2017 and it is very positive to see a return to more normal production levels this year,” Mr Gregan says.
New Zealand Winegrowers is confident Vintage 2018 wines will add to New Zealand’s reputation as a premium producer of cool climate wines.
“Every vintage is different and ultimately the final test is the quality delivered in the bottle to consumers. We are certain that consumers will enjoy the benefits of the warm summer when they get to taste the wines from Vintage 2018,” Mr Gregan says.

New Zealand wine exports are currently valued at $1.71 billion, up 3% in the past year. Wine is New Zealand’s fifth largest export good.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Larkin's Brewery of Wicklow. A Family That Brews Together.


Larkin's Brewery of Wicklow.
A Family That Brews Together.
Unusually, for a craft brewery, the main focus in Larkin’s County Wicklow Brewery is on lager. Maybe it is a Wicklow thing as Mont, known for their lager, are also based here.

Just a few years ago, the Larkin family beer enterprise was confined to the domestic kitchen. Decision to “go” in 2015 was backed by the whole family and a year later equipment was ordered. Great feedback at the 2017 Irish Craft Beer Festival saw the Larkins schedule a full launch early this year and now, with a trio of lagers front and centre, they have arrived.


Larkin’s Pale Ale 4.5%, 440ml can €3.75 Bradley’s Cork

Essentially this is a pretty serious Pale Ale, refreshing, with low to moderate bitterness. Colour is a mid-gold (hazy), white head is long-lasting. Might be of moderate bitterness but the twice used Lemondrop and Cascade hops make their presence felt as this well-made beer heads to a dry finish.

Larkin’s Märzen Lager 5.7%, 500ml bottle €3.50 Bradley’s

The Märzen style originated in Bavaria. It was brewed in March (hence the name) and served during the Octoberfest. “Dark brown, full bodied and bitter” is the description of the original.

Larkin’s is pretty close to that: malty, good flavour and a clean finish. Colour may not be quite a dark brown, closer to amber. The off-white head, thin to begin with, lasts longer than expected but that’s a minor detail. This is a highly enjoyable lager and well worth a try.

Larkin’s Doppelbock Lager 7.6%, 500ml bottle €3.95 Bradley’s

“There’s eating and drinking it” is a Cork saying and it could well be applied to this strong lager. Traditional bock is a sweet, relatively strong beer and the name doppelbock indicates even more strength. It was originally brewed by monks for nourishment during Lenten fasting. Cute boys, those German monks.

The Larkin’s Doppelbock has a dark brown colour with a coffee-cream head that vanishes fairly quickly. It is aromatic, with concentrated sweetish flavours including caramel that disguise the high alcohol. Strong yes but fairly well balanced and with a satisfactory finalé. The Märzen is the easier drink though but if you are fasting, then that Doppelbock’s your only man.

Larkin’s Baltic Porter 7.0%, 500ml bottle €3.95 Bradley’s


Baltic Porter comes originally from the Baltic states, usually stronger and sweeter. By the way, a lager yeast is normally used and indeed, you read “lager” on the Larkin’s label.

It has, as you'd expect, a black body; also a coffee coloured head that doesn't last long. Toasted coffee and caramel type flavours, a touch of that sweetness too; flavours are concentrated and the finish is soft and pleasant. A rather nice porter but not that easy drinking. Might use it as a warm-up for a stout session!

* They also produce a Helles lager but I didn't get my hands on one - yet!

Larkin's Brewing Company
Unit 2, Renmore Business Park, Kilcoole, Co. Wicklow.
info@larkinsbrewing.com
+353 (1) 281 1640


Saturday, June 23, 2018

Amuse Bouche

So Johel stressed over the menu: huge platters of fried plantains,
Scotch Bonnett Chili by Temaciejewski

mountains of griot marinated in lemons and Scotch bonnet chilis; beef tassot made the way his grandmother liked it, soaked in orange juice for a night, then boiled and fried; and tray after tray of deep-fried akra. Everything was drenched in piklis, so spicy the waiters carrying the platters out from the kitchen kept rubbing their eyes with the back of their tuxedoed sleeves. Not to mention the drinks: vats of Prestige in big steel buckets, and on every table a bottle of five-star Barbancourt and pitchers of cocktails made from Haitian grapefruit, available at a Haitian greengrocer in Flatbush.


from Peacekeeping by Mischa Berlinski (2016). Very Highly Recommended.


Thursday, June 21, 2018

Summertime Lift-off at Cask. Cocktail Champ. Music. Food. New Elevator


Summertime Lift-off at Cask
Cocktail Champ. Music. Food. New Elevator
A cup of punch to welcome the sun.

The start of the summer season in Cork’s leading cocktail venue, Cask, was well celebrated in the McCurtain Street venue on Wednesday evening. Guests galore were on hand for the evening. And the sun came too!


Owner Richard Evans and Arthur Little made us all feel welcome. And the biggest welcome, well the biggest applause, was reserved for Carl d’Alton who, earlier the week, was crowned the Irish World Class Cocktail Champion in Dublin, taking over the title from Andy Ferreira, his mentor in Cask.

Cask, as you probably know, is situated across the lane-cum-courtyard from its big sister Greene's and their hotel Isaac’s. Arthur is MD of the busy complex and had another reason to be happy on Wednesday as their new outdoor lift was unveiled for the first time. The glass walled structure has quite a low visual impact on the old architecture of the place and I’m told there is a quite a view from the top.

With the short speeches over, it was time for Karen Underwood (right) and her talented backing musicians and they played long and played well as the food came in waves. No shortage of drinks either. Cask were launching their summertime menu under both headings and again renewed their commitment to local and seasonal. 

Sustainability in bars is about a lot more than paper straws and using up your manky lime wedges. It’s about creating an environment where every possible product you use is produced close to you, or at least the majority of them. 

The reality is though in a world where everyone claims to have ‘small batch, artisan’ products, you still need to be super fussy about what you use. In Cask, if we’re putting an ingredient in our cocktail, it’s because we believe it’s the best possible option to make the drink absolutely banging!”

So if you want Beet, Black & Blue, then this is the cocktail for you: Jameson Black Barrel, Beetroot, Ardbeg, PX sherry, and Orange bitters.

Fancy the Ball ’N Chain? The mix here is Beefeater, Elderflower Pisco, Pine-berry Shrub, Apple water, and Poachers Wild Tonic. Driving tonight? Check out the Fine & Dandy made with Dandelion Jam, Spent Citrus Sherbet, Lilac Soda, Raspberry and Elderflower Sorbet.
A bao, with chicken

Like the titles? I do. Here are a few more: The Whole Shebang, The Udder Wan, Made in Mayfield, Cheeky Sheri’s Cherry Sherry. No shortage of other drinks of course, including sparkling wines, and quite a selection of whites and reds (including a few organic) and all available by the glass. 

And Cask has been getting excellent notices about its food offering, under the wing of top chef Bryan McCarthy (the head chef at Green’s). Start with the Light. About six choices including House Marinated Olives with garlic parsley and also Guacamole, sour cream, Tomato salsa, Lime, Mexican crackers.
World Class Carl

Feel like something from the More. A Tuna Ceviche sounds good to me. Maybe the Salad Caprese? And then there’s the Ballyhoura Mushrooms on toast. And more.

Speaking of more, there’s even A Little More, everything from crispy aromatic Peking Duck to Philly Steak Sandwich to Nordic Bread Pizza. And there are cheese and charcuterie boards to share. Even desserts.

No shortage of choices in Cask. And there is another one. You may dine and drink inside in the bar or outside in the courtyard under the waterfall. And you can be sure that the outside space will be even more popular in summertime. Have a happy one!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Two From Fleurie. Beaujolais Gems From the Granite.


Two From Fleurie
Beaujolais Gems From the Granite
Granite from Beaujolais
Fleurie, like all ten crus, is in the north east of the Beaujolais region. Here the Gamay grape, thrives on the granite soil, the wines always refreshing and never short of acidity. Fleurie, with delicious cherry scents, flavours of red berries, is an elegant and excellent partner for a wide variety of lighter dishes.

Did you know that the Gamay grape is an exile in Beaujolais? In 1395, it was outlawed by Royal decree as being “a very bad and disloyal plant”. Sixty years later another edict was issued against it. And so it was pushed out of Burgundy and south into neighbouring Beaujolais where it has thrived on the granite based soils.

In Beaujolais generally, there is a continuity of quality, almost a guarantee of it, if you move up a step or two to the ten crus and the Villages that ring them.

In 2016, May and June, it wasn't at all pleasant in Beaujolais. In the area where the crus are situated, the hail came with a vengeance and, according to Decanter, Beaujolais authorities reported some plots in the appellations of Chiroubles and Fleurie were completely destroyed. But that fickle spring was followed by a splendid summer and a friendly autumn and the result, with less fruit, was a very fine vintage indeed.

By the way, the ten crus that produce the flagship wines are: Chiroubles, Saint Amour, Fleurie, Régnié, Brouilly, Cote de Brouilly, Juliénas, Chénas, Morgon and Moulin-à-Vent.

Dominique Morel Fleurie (AP) 2016, 12.5%, €23.99 JJ O’Driscoll, Cork; Wine Online


Dominique Morel has set himself a target: “I make wines that I like to drink, with lots of fruit, good colour and a rounded mouthfeel". And this light ruby coloured wine, with delicate cherry aromas, also floral notes, is silky with superb fruit, just as M. Morel would have wanted. Silky and with terrific concentration and lovely velvety tannins. Very Highly Recommended.

Bastion De L’Oratoire Chanson Fleurie (AC) 2014, 13%, €14.95 in sale (was 18.95) O’Brien’s

Colour of this beauty is a bright mid-ruby. Abundant aromas of cherries and spice. Juicy in the mouth; no shortage of red berries (strawberries, raspberries) and sweet cherry in delicious combination, smooth and well balanced, refreshing too with excellent length. Impeccable and Very Highly Recommended. It is, of course, 100% Gamay and no oak has been used by Chanson who are both négociants and winemakers.