Friday, March 31, 2023


press release

Darren Looney of Cahernane and the menu

The luxurious, four-star Cahernane House Hotel in Killarney, Co. Kerry is fast becoming known as a food lover’s heaven and with new chef, Cormac Vesey at the helm the cooking is as skilful as it is tantalising, offering patrons an elegant yet uncomplicated dining experience. With Cormac leading the charge the main hotel restaurant is taking a new direction, now called ‘Herbert’s’ the menu retains all of the best of the sea and the land and offers gourmet cuisine but without any fussy embellishments.

Cormac’s focus on food provenance and seasonal ingredients lies at the heart of everything he does and is the cornerstone of his cooking. Speaking to guests at a recent eight-course tasting menu evening he said, “Great dishes start with great flavours, it’s my job to make the ingredients sing, it’s not my job to over complicate the best that mother nature has already provided.”

“I don’t subscribe into the idea that there has to be all of these extra flourishes such as gels and foams to make a dish impressive, great dishes don’t need that. I like to start from the beginning, and to look and see what’s in season. What’s growing now is going to be the very, very best thing on your plate. It’s incredible how something as simple as a spring cabbage or a carrot can become something extraordinary with careful and thoughtful cooking. Ingredients don’t need to be pimped up and made into something they aren’t they just need to be complemented and matched carefully and thoughtfully”

Emer Corridan, the General Manager of Cahernane House Hotel hosted the eight- course tasting menu in Herbert’s Restaurant (Friday, March 24th). The fabulous dining experience, called ‘A Taste of Cahernane’ saw guests enjoying a spectacular menu which was inspired by an old 1960’s menu which chef Cormac Vesey found in the old store kitchen at Cahernane and which inspired the team to look to the past for future culinary inspiration.

The original 1960’s menu inspired such new dishes as organic salmon with nori and pickled cucumber, asparagus cream soup with a delicate and perfectly formed quail’s egg, lobster au gratin with Kells Bay Dilisk Cheddar and charred leak. The meat dish was just a joy to behold, noisettes of lamb were served with a tarragon jus and delicious Pommes Dauphine. The tropical fruit parfait with roast pineapple and coconut sorbet provided a refreshing taste revival before diners enjoyed a chocolate marquise with burnt apple gel and calvados ice cream. This was reminiscent of old fashioned, ‘fizzy apples’ and was the focus of lots of chat around the restaurant.

The evening provided the kitchen team with the opportunity to showcase the new culinary offering at Cahernane and gave diners the chance to experience the dishes in an elegant and relaxed setting. Each of the courses were beautifully presented and executed and ultimately each dish was a celebration of the best locally produced seasonal produce.
Chef Cormac Vesey

The complete culinary experience finished with homemade Petit Fours, served with teas and coffee. Cormac Vesey then went out to the dining room to chat to the guests about the meal and the produce which was used.

A native of Dunshaughlin Co. Meath, Cormac is a graduate of the Waterford Institute of Technology where he studied Culinary Arts. Over the years he has honed his skills in kitchens in New Zealand, England, Canada and the South of France where he worked as a private chef for a high-profile client in the glamourous location of St. Tropez. He also worked at several well-known restaurants and hotels in Ireland including the Cliff House Hotel which has 4 AA Rosettes and 1 Michelin Star, the Five Star Killarney Park Hotel in Killarney and Waterford Castle Hotel among others.

Herbert’s Restaurant, The Cellar Bar and the Drawing Room at Cahernane House Hotel all offer various dining options for guests and visitors. Herbert’s is a fine dining restaurant while the Cellar Bar serves casual fare, cocktails and artisan gins and beers. The Drawing Room, overlooking the mature garden is an elegant space to relax in front of the fire and read while enjoying a glass of something lovely. All of the dining outlets are open to both hotel residents and non-residents alike.

Cahernane House was originally built in 1877 and was restored to its former glory by owners, the PREM Group. The stunning 48- bedroom hotel is set on 6.4 acres on the edge of the Killarney National Park and lakes yet is just a short stroll into Killarney Town Centre. The house is filled with original antiques, artwork and the beautiful original features of the property have been sympathetically restored such as the feature staircase and original stucco ceilings. For more information on Cahernane House Hotel or to make a booking see or call (064) 663 1895.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

CorkBillyBeers #17. Craft Session with Brehon, Kinnegar, Third Barrel, Ballykilcavan.

CorkBillyBeers #17

Craft Session with Brehon, Kinnegar, Third Barrel, Ballykilcavan.


Brehon Seisún Pale Ale, 3.5% ABV, 500 bottle

The name of this brew, Seisiún, is inspired by the Irish for rousing songs, great drinks, good company and craic.  “We are delighted to bring you this light ale loaded with citrus flavours.”

Colour is a gorgeous mid to dark amber colour with red tints and a soft white head. Grapefruit seeps out of the aromas and leaps out on the palate, a dry and refreshing palate with a clean and dry citrusy finish. Even at 3.5%, this one packs quite a flavoursome punch.

Brehon tells us (and the evidence is here) that pale ales “tend to be lighter than standard beers. They tend to be malty, medium-bodied and are easy to drink. Some say they bridge the gap between dark stouts and lighter”.

Very Highly Recommended.


Kinnegar Brewers at Play #29 Session IPA, 4.0% ABV, 440ml can Bradleys

This is the first new beer of 2023 from Kinnegar and extends their Brewers at Play series to number 29!

It is a hazy pale gold with a soft white head that sinks slowly. Aromas are of the citrus variety, of moderate intensity. And so it continues on the palate where it is light and refreshingly dry. Very well made indeed, maybe not as innovative as some in the Brewers at Play Series but one that could well outlast some of the others.

They are pushing it as a good one to take us through dry January. But I see it as good company for a much longer period. Be glad to enjoy a few on an easy going summer evening, sun or no sun.

Significantly, it is less hoppy than the Third Barrel and that will suit quite a few punters.

Highly Recommended


Third Barrel Boom Session IPA, 4.5%, 440ml can Bradleys

Clean, crisp and proper refreshing, this Session IPA bursts with aromas of grapefruit and lime from a heavy does of Mosaic and centennial hops. That’s the intro to this Session IPA from Third Barrel

Colour is a mid gold, hazy, with a white head that stays a bit.  Nose is full of hoppy aromas and you meet the characteristics of Mosaic and Centennial again on the palate. Crisp and clean and happily refreshing, this is one for the short list.

This was the flagship beer “of our founding company @stonebarrelbrewing has now been taken under our wing and given a full Third Barrel makeover”.

Very Highly Recommended.


Ballykilcavan Millhouse Session IPA, 3.5% ABV, 440ml can CraftCentral

A light refreshing Session Ale, double dry hopped, for maximum taste. That’s Ballykilcavan’s intro to their Millhouse Session IPA.

Colour is a hazy gold, with a fairly short-lived white head. Aromas speak of hop bitterness -it has been double dry-hopped. And that double kick is also to the fore in the flavour and also in the finish. Yet the hops (IBU48) are not allowed to upset the balance too much, the more exotic flavours are tamer than you’d expect, and this flavoursome Pale Ale is a welcome addition to session choices.

Ingredients are Water, Malted Barley, Wheat, Oats, Hops, Yeast. The Barley and Water is sourced from their own farm where the family has been since 1639. The hops used, all from the USA, are Citra, Amarillo and Mosaic.

The brewery say the organic oats from the neighbouring farm, The Merry Mill, are also credited with the “lovely balance”. Oats are usually credited with helping give a fuller body and a silky mouthfeel, traditionally in stouts, but now in other styles as well. Hard to generalise though as there are variations. Unmalted oats - and it seems this is unmalted - are more known as a body-builder component and as potential contributor of some hazy compounds for styles.

Lots of breweries are now watching their environmental responsibilities and Ballykilcavan are no exception. Here are a couple of their alternatives to glass containers when out and about at festivals.

1- Cut out the plastic with this stainless steel, reusable, festival pint cup. Keeps your beer colder for longer and helps the environment at the same time.

2- Our replacement for single use plastic pint glasses for all the events and festivals we attend from now on. Reusable, dishwasher safe and easy on the eye, it's perfect for festivals or camping.

Highly Recommended

Best local produce finds a fine home at Harrow in Killarney’s High Street.

Best local produce finds a fine home at Harrow

 in Killarney’s High Street


Killarney's Harrow has just reached the 12-month milestone on the town’s High Street and is making quite an impression. It is an impressive building, both inside and out, very comfortable and spacious, with a very friendly staff and, very importantly, local produce is supported and well handled here.

Harrow (where Gabys was)

The culinary team of John, Christian & Zvonimir are bringing all their experience to bear and local producers supported and listed on the menu include Poppadom’s Farm Killarney - Star Seafood Killarney - Spillane’s Seafood Killarney - Tim Jones Killarney - Fenit Veg Tralee - Wild Kerry Game - Terra Foods Tralee - Irish Hereford Prime - Our Chef’s Garden. Local brewers and distillers also feature in Harrow.


The main restaurant, well decorated and lit, is a split-level ground floor room and off to the right and upstairs is a separate party room for around 30 guests. Service is friendly and efficient from welcome to goodbye.

We were soon seated and checking the menus. Some very tantalising dishes here. The produce may be local and Irish but there are some different touches from the continent and beyond. They offer A La Carte and a 3-course set menu (for forty euro where you choose from starred items on the A La Carte).

There is a long wine list here, quite a few by the glass. They have a full bar of course so no scarcity of spirits, cocktails, and beer. Some non alcoholic options too. I often look out for the local beer and we enjoyed bottles from Killarney Brewing (Devil’s Helles) and 9 White Deer (Stag Bán Pale Ale).


After tasting and enjoying their smoked butter on their crispy bread, I started with Hay Baked Celeriac (Salt and Hay Baked Celeriac with Truffle Dressing, Pickled Cranberries & Toasted Pistachios). You don’t see this too often. I enjoyed it very much, light, flavourful and colourful. Happy sounds too from the other side of the table where the Mussels served with Garlic Bread Curried Lemongrass and Ginger went down well. They also had a Garlic and Parsley Cream sauce available for the more cautious.

CL went for a more traditional main course: Chicken Supreme. It was stuffed with Black Wild Garlic, Mushroom & Spinach Arancini, Grilled Butternut Squash, Pickled Chanterelles, Roasting Jus. A splendid dish indeed, packed with flavour and accompanied by Crispy Potato dressed with Confit Garlic.

I haven’t had Pork Schnitzel in a long long time and the Harrow version was excellent in both quality and quantity and served with a very tasty German Potato Salad. The full description is Pork Schnitzel, Celeriac Purée, Herb and Parmesan Dressing, Celeriac Slaw with Jus. A hearty flavoursome dish to watch out for if you visit.


The dessert list is short, shorter than the list of sweet wines (including ports). Our pick, for sharing, was the Vanilla Crème Brûlée lightly flavoured with Pedro Jiménez, served with Boozy Armagnac Prunes & Cinnamon Biscuit. Yum.

You may be wondering where the restaurant name comes from. Not from the London borough of that name nor from any grand palace or family. It is from the humble farm implement used to break up the soil after ploughing. Apparently, the people behind Harrow have an agricultural background and that shows also in the names on their sophisticated cocktail list. Here, among the classics, you’ll find The Plough, The Hoe, The Oxen, and The Iron Harrow. A haggart full of cocktails then but no sign of the Scuffler! Cheers.

Monday, March 27, 2023

New Stars & Awards in the MICHELIN Guide Great Britain & Ireland 2023

New Stars & Awards in the MICHELIN Guide Great Britain & Ireland 2023

Discover all of the new Michelin Stars, Green Stars, Bib Gourmands and Special Awards in the MICHELIN Guide Great Britain & Ireland 2023
Dessert at Dede

Editor's PickGreat Britain & Ireland 2023Launch EventMichelin Guide CeremonyMichelin Stars

Having already released many new restaurants in our monthly Live Additions, and then taken a sneak peak at the 20 newly awarded Bib Gourmands (which were announced on Wednesday 22nd March), we are now delighted to announce all of the new Michelin Star, Green Star and Special Award winners in the MICHELIN Guide Great Britain & Ireland 2023. These were unveiled on Monday 27th March at the MICHELIN Guide Ceremony which, this year, was held at the iconic Silverstone Circuit in Northamptonshire.

20 restaurants were newly awarded One Michelin Star, 3 restaurants were awarded Two Michelin Stars and 4 restaurants were awarded a Michelin Green Star. Five Special Awards were also announced.

Alex Dilling at Hotel Café Royal - New Two Star

New Two Star Restaurants
Alex Dilling at Hotel Café Royal, London
dede, Baltimore
The Ledbury, London

New One Star Restaurants
Àclèaf, Plymouth
Ben Wilkinson at The Pass, Horsham
Cycene, London
Gidleigh Park, Chagford
Grace & Savour, Hampton in Arden
heft, Newton in Cartmel
Heron, Leith
Luca, London
Lumiére, Cheltenham
Pentonbridge Inn, Penton
Restaurant Twenty-Two, Cambridge
sō–lō, Aughton
St. Barts, London
Store, Stoke Holy Cross
Taku, London
Terre, Castlemartyr
The Samling, Ambleside
The Tudor Pass, Egham
Timberyard, Edinburgh

New Green Star Restaurants
Apricity, London
Crocadon, St Mellion
CULTURE, Falmouth
Osip, Bruton

Crocadon - New Green Star

New Bib Gourmand Restaurants
Blaise Inn, Bristol
COR, Bristol
EDŌ, Belfast
Emilia, Ashburton
Evernight, London
Flint House, Brighton
Hām, London
Kushi-Ya, Nottingham
Marmo, Bristol
Plaza Khao Gaeng, London
Queen of Cups, Glastonbury
Root Wells, Wells
Saint Francis Provisions, Kinsale
Six Bells, Witham on the Hill
The Chequers, Bath
The Galley, Topsham
The Pelican, London
The Spärrows, Manchester
Waterman, Belfast
Yr Hen Printworks, Cardigan

Root Wells - New Bib Gourmand

Special Awards 2023

Chef Mentor, sponsored by Blancpain – Michael Deane from Eipic in Belfast
Young Chef – Sarah Hayward from The Coach in Marlow
Welcome and Service – Declan Maxwell and the team from Spitalfields restaurant in Dublin
Sommelier – Tara Ozols from SO|LA in London
Exceptional Cocktail, sponsored by The Craft Irish Whiskey Co. – Makis Kazakis and the bar team from Park Chinois in London

SO|LA - Tara Ozols Wins the Sommelier Award 2023

Click here for the quick links to the full online listings for the UK/Republic of Ireland or download the free MICHLEIN Guide iOS/Android app.

Sign up to our newsletter to keep up-to-date with all things Michelin, from new restaurants and Guide launches to chef interviews, recipes and our latest Best-Of Guides.

Written by MICHELIN Guide UK Editorial Team

MICHELIN Guide Ceremony

The Full List of Michelin Stars in the MICHELIN Guide Great Britain & Ireland 2023

Discover every One, Two and Three Star restaurant in the MICHELIN Guide Great Britain & Ireland 2023
Editor's PickGreat Britain & Ireland 2023Launch Event

4 New Green Stars Added to the MICHELIN Guide Great Britain & Ireland 2023

Explore the 4 new awards and view the full list of Michelin Green Stars for 2023
Editor's PickGreat Britain & Ireland 2023Green Stars

20 New Bib Gourmands Announced for Great Britain & Ireland 2023

Discover more about the latest Bib Gourmand winners and view the full list for 2023
Editor's PickLaunch EventGreat Britain & Ireland 2023
All articles of MICHELIN Guide Ceremony


Dublin's Marker Becomes the First Anantara Hotel in Ireland.





Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas has made its debut in Ireland with the acquisition of The Marker Hotel in Dublin, one of the Irish capital's most contemporary and luxurious buildings. The addition of the property in Dublin represents the expansion of the luxury brand’s footprint into Europe, while it will become the very first Anantara property in Ireland.


A major project has now commenced which will see the famous Dublin property become known as ‘Anantara The Marker Dublin Hotel’, while significant capital works are also well underway.  The renovations at the property are significant, with multi millions being invested at the iconic Dublin hotel which is a member of Leading Hotels of the World,


All of the 187 bedrooms have now been refurbished while the lobby and bar have been refreshed with the addition of new soft furnishings, bespoke cabinetry, and custom furniture.  Meanwhile, work has started on the creation of a new restaurant, ‘Forbes Street by Gareth Mullins’, a destination restaurant, due to open this spring. The new restaurant will feature the very best of local and Irish products served in a contemporary way but with a uniquely Irish twist.


Located overlooking the Waterfront on Grand Canal Square in the heart of Dublin City, the property is one of Ireland’s most highly regarded hotels. With its slick architecture and design and its incredible location, the property oozes, five-star international cool.   Set in the heart of Silicon Docks, a nod to Silicon Valley on account of the high concentration of multinational high-tech companies located in the area, the hotel is both striking and eye catching. Close to the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) and the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Anantara The Marker Dublin Hotel is a perfect cultural and business epicentre for travelers’ keen to experience classic Irish hospitality at its best. Anantara The Marker Dublin Hotel is the only five-star hotel in the area, which has recently emerged as one of the most vibrant, dynamic and modern parts of the city for living, working and socialising.


Anantara The Marker Dublin Hotel has a futuristic design and style and now offers 187 renovated contemporary guest rooms over six floors (42 Premier/ Superior, 124 deluxe rooms, 18 junior corner suites and three suites) plus eight state-of-the-art event and meeting facilities. Services such as a Condé Nast award-winning spa, and stylish rooftop terrace with stunning panoramic 360º views across the cityscape stretching to the sea at Dublin Bay are all part of the experience.



Michael Davern, the former CEO and General Manager of The K Club now leads the charge at Anantara Marker Dublin Hotel where he is the General Manager.  A seasoned hotelier and a luxury travel guru, Michael is well known for his attention to detail and for the creation of bespoke visitor experiences which are essential for the Anantara brand and its offering.


“The Anantara brand is synonymous with luxury internationally, particularly in Asia where the brand originates.  Our international guests are discerning travellers and come to stay with us to be truly pampered but to also experience more.  We are not just a contemporary, cool hotel in a European city we have a whole team of specialists who can add real value to our guests’ stay with us. Our guests want to enjoy unforgettable experiences that create lifelong memories and we offer them the chance to explore, discover and experience more through our bespoke visitor experiences.  We offer our guests the chance to enjoy a deep dive into Ireland’s cultural, sporting and historical life.”


“We are thrilled to announce the expansion of our luxury Anantara brand into northwest Europe in the fair city of Dublin. The Marker Hotel is already known as one of the city’s leading hotels and bringing the reputation and luxury touch points of Anantara to the property will further elevate the guest experience,” commented Dillip Rajakarier, CEO of Minor Hotels, parent company of Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas.


Ramón Aragonés, CEO of NH Hotel Group, operators of Anantara in Europe, under the guidance and brand oversight of Minor Hotels, said that this agreement will enable us to bring a truly different value proposition to the Irish market for the first time. The Anantara brand will connect travelers with genuine experiences in a privileged location in the city of Dublin.”


In the surrounding area visitors to the city can enjoy a walk through the culture and heritage of the Docklands, which dates from the eighteenth century, a wide range of options for foodie travelers, including cosy cafés and high-end restaurants, shopping on nearby Grafton Street, boat rides along the River Liffey and in Dublin Bay or sporting activities from a relaxing yoga class to watching a game of Gaelic football at renowned Croke Park.


The Dublin hotel will be the 7th Anantara in Europe, joining Anantara Vilamoura Algarve Resort in Portugal, the Anantara Villa Padierna Palace in Marbella, Spain, Anantara New York Palace Budapest in Hungary, Anantara Palazzo Naiadi Rome Hotel in Italy, Anantara Plaza Nice Hotel in France, Anantara Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky Amsterdam in Netherlands.


press release

Patience Pays For Dunville’s And Echlinville Distillery

Patience Pays For Dunville’s

And Echlinville Distillery

 We were told to expect sherry bombs from Dunville’s Jarlath Watson (right) during Sunday’s masterclass in Cask. No shortage of sherry influences but it seems Dunville are more about patience.

The patience is required to keep their spirit in cask until it is good and ready to go. And then they have a good steady climate (no extremes) in their corner of the Ards Peninsula, more temperate than even areas quite close to them.  

And Jarlath also spoke about the land, part of their own particular terroir. “We are a fifty acre working farm… we grow all our own barley… it is floor-malted (not the most economical method!)." And everything is done within a three mile radius. Thanks to their use of various sherry casks (an endangered species, by the way), they have many different expressions from their own micro-terroir.

This is all centered around the Echlinville Distillery. But while you can get Echlinville gin, you’ll have to wait for their whiskey. The makers have patience and that will have to extend to the customers! Maybe something later this year, if they are ready!

Dunville's is a old Belfast brand that they got in 2011 and fills the gap while waiting for Echlinville very own whiskey. All spirits for the Dunville are bought in and finished in sherry casks. Dunville’s has quite a fascinating story. Founded in 1808 and originally produced at the Royal Irish Distilleries in Belfast, Dunville’s was was among the world’s most famous whiskey brands until the distillery fell silent in 1936. Read more here.

Ready to roll in Cask

Now it is back and we started in Cask with their Three Crowns, an average age of 7 years, 70% grain and 30% malt “married after five years”. “It is lazy, mellow, chilled out, a light breakfast whiskey,’ said Jarlath, jokingly or not I don’t know!

Sherry didn't really feature in the next whiskey. This cask sample came via Dick Mac’s in Dingle where the casks had been used to produce the Kerry brewery's Honey & Hemp IPA. When they came back to Echlinville, they were filled and left for an expected six months. But they decided to keep it for another two years. Now they feel it is really finished and you may well be able to get their honey prominent whiskey in a couple of months.

Sample #3 was a favourite of mine, and quite a few others, and it is in bottle but you’ll have to travel to Fairley’s in Coleraine to get it as it was especially made for their “very old bar”. It is a 13 year old whiskey, raised in sherry casks from the bar, weighs in at 57% and is very impressive indeed.

On then to another different take, a whiskey made in a rather special Armagnac cask from Gascony (warning: don’t ask for Cognac if you’re in that area). Again Jarlath is expecting more from this one and is gambling on another two years, knowing that patience pays off sometimes as it did with the IPA.

“The big hitters are coming now,” said Jarlath as he introduced a 22-year old whiskey that has spent its last 6.5 or 7 years in Palo Cortado casks. Palo Cortado casks are very scare. “For every 6,000 bottles of sherry sold, just one is PC.” But going by this gorgeous drop, they are worth seeking out!

A 20-year old followed having spent the last 4.5 years in Oloroso cask and came with all the Christmas cake aromas and flavours you’d expect. And it was here that Jarlath reiterated their patient approach: “We don’t put it out too early. We keep it until ready… and then it should be excellent.”

There was one for the road and it was amazing. It was a 21-year old (finished for 3.5 to 4 years in Pedro Ximenez cask). The sweetness of the PX was a  feature of course but the distillery achieved a perfect balance. One to savour as we hit MacCurtain Street, the home of the superb Cork Whiskey festival 2023. Here’s to 2004!

Two More Highly Recommended Red Blends From Château De Caraguilhes In Corbieres

Two More Highly Recommended Red Blends From Château De Caraguilhes In Corbieres


Château de Caraguilhes Solus Corbieres Boutinac (AOP) 2020, 14.5% ABV, O’Briens Wine 

RRP€23.95 (reduced to 19.16, 10th Mar - 10th Apr)

A blend of Carignan, Mourvèdre and Syrah, makes for a big rich robust red that pairs well with Mediterranean mixed platters. Should be fine too with beef, pasta and veal. Serve between 16-18 degrees.

This deep purple wine is from a fully organic family estate in Corbières and these grapes grow on a rocky clay-limestone hillside in the heart of Corbières' Grand Cru district so there's plenty of berry fruit showing a good depth of concentration.

The aromatics of this deeply purple wine are quite intense - just smell the freshly extracted cork! Ripe blackberry and black cherry are prominent. Lots of different flavours in the mouth, with blackcurrant and plum also added to the mix. Subtle spices, nice rounded tannins too and acidity enough as well. And then comes a fantastic finish.

Very Highly Recommended.

You may have heard of Corbieres. But Corbieres Boute
nac? Corbieres-Boutenac is a relatively new red wine 
appellation of the huge Languedoc region in France
It is called after the village of Boutenac, whose wines have always been highly regarded and was created in 2005.

Château de Caraguilhes Prestige Corbieres (AOP) 2020, 14.5% ABV

O’Briens Wine RRP €19.95. (Reduced to 15.96, 10th Mar - 10th Apr)

No shortage of blends in the Languedoc-Roussillon and this robust red is another, made with Carignan, Grenache, and Syrah. Serve between 16-18 degrees with Ribeye Steak/Aubergine bake.

Dark ruby is the colour, a healthy shiny one. And the aromas are packed with fresh ripe fruit and the promise of good stuff to come. And it comes. Fresh fruit again on the palate, a warm touch of the garrigue as well, but all that power is moderated by a pleasing softness, good acidity too right through to the finalé.

Château de Caraguilhes is a certified organic estate located in the heart of Corbières, a well-known wine appellation within the huge Languedoc/Roussillon region. Located at altitude, the vineyards benefit from sea breezes on one side and the Tramontane* winds on the other, cooling the vineyards at the height of summer, ensuring an ideal, slow ripening of the grapes, which helps to retain a characteristic acidity and freshness in the wines.

Owned by the Gabison family, Château Caraguilhes is one of France's oldest, and best, organic estates. The 135 hectares of vineyards are strategically surrounded and protected by 500 hectares of scrubland, constituting a rich ecosystem and a unique growing environment.

The pioneering estate, farming their vines organically since 1987, has 135 hectares of vines that are strategically surrounded by over 500 hectares of wild garrigue, which provides a rich and unique ecosystem.

Very Highly Recommended.

*A cold wind that blows from the Alps and Apennines (Tramontana in Italy). Quite a lot of winds in this area have names, the Mistral is perhaps the most famous.


The two wines above are part of a four bottle set that will be featured in an online tasting on Thursday March 30th. Our hosts will be Étienne Besancenot, Winemaker, Château de Caraguilhes and Lynne Coyle Master of Wine, O'Briens Wine Director. The other two, subject of an earlier post, are repeated below. Not too sure if you can still order the wines for the tasting, check here, but they are also part of the company's ongoing French Wine Sale. Details here

Château de Caraguilhes La Font Blanche Corbières (AOP) 2021, 13.5% ABV.

O’Briens Wine RRP: €18.45 (reduced to 14.76, 10th Mar - 10th Apr)

A dry refreshing white, this Corbieres is a blend of Grenache Blanc and Roussanne. Pair with scallops and citrus, also grilled goats cheese with fennel.

This blend is a light straw colour, clean and bright. Floral notes and white fruit (peaches, apricots) and citrus plus a drift of almonds feature in the aromatics. And you meet the same crew (with citrus now prominent) on the palate, silky and rounded and subtle. Some herbal notes also, after all we are in garrigue country. Beautifully smooth though and this dry refreshing white finishes very well indeed. 

Pairings recommended are with scallops (and citrus), also grilled goats cheese with fennel.

Very Highly Recommended.

Château de Caraguilhes Les Jardins Corbières (AOP) 2021, 14% ABV.

O’Briens RRP €18.95 (reduced to €14.21, 10th Mar - 10th Apr).

Carignan, Grenache, Syrah, have been blended to make Les Jardins, a smooth supple red. Match, it is suggested, with duck breast and Comte Cheese (or why not the local Hegarty’s Templegeal), serving between 16 to 18 degrees.

Exclusive to O'Briens, Les Jardins sends out aromas of ripe blackberry and blackcurrant. The complex palate is silky and fresh with fleshy fruity notes, the smoothness is enhanced by ripe tannins. Very well balanced. Quite a dark coloured wine. Lightweight also but with a 14% ABV.

The term tannin comes from the an ancient word for tanner, and refers to the use of tree bark to tan hides. You’ll also find them in grapes (of course!), tea leaves, pomegranates, spices like Cinnamon and Clove and nuts such as Almonds and Walnuts, Barley, even Rhubarb. It is an naturally occurring polyphenol and is more likely good for you. More on tannins from the University of Kansas study here . 

Highly Recommended.