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Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Superb Wines from Austria's Judith Beck
Beck Blaufränkisch 2016, 12%,€17.95 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny
This organic wine from Austria is produced by Judith Beck from the Blaufränkisch grape, the second most widely grown red grape in the country but not very well-known outside of it.
Colour is quite an intense red. Aromas of darker fruits (plum, cherry). Those dark fruit flavours are intense, spicy too, excellent acidity; tannins have a noticeable grip (nothing too serious though). This inviting medium-bodied wine, vibrant and refreshing, is Highly Recommended.
Since 2007 Judith Beck has produced wines in accordance with biodynamic principles. The winery is housed in an impressive airy new building in the middle of the vineyards from Gols. Now the emphasis is on refining the style whilst capturing the potential of the grapes. Judith is passionate about the traditional red wine varieties: Blaufränkisch and St. Laurent.
Le Caveau say that Judith is an impressively calm, thoughtful person and that sense of relaxation seems to transmit itself into her wines, which possess a lightness of touch not always apparent in this region.
You can meet her Wednesday 15th May at The Chocolate Factory, King’s Inn Street, Dublin 1, the venue for the “The Real Wine Fair”, a one-day wine fair celebrating artisan growers who farm organically and/or biodynamically in the vineyard and make wine with minimal interventions in the winery.
Beck Chardonnay 2016, Burgenland Austria, 12%, €18.95 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny
Le Caveau, who bring the fabulous Judith Beck wines into Ireland, say the region around Lake Neusiedl is particularly suited to cultivate Burgundy varieties and provides optimum conditions for Chardonnay (most of the Beck wines are red). “Manual harvest, matured for 5 months on its lees, the wine has developed a tasty richness without losing any of its focus and brightness.”
Colour is a light start yellow. Fairly intense fruit on the nose (peach, apple), floral notes too and a mild hint of spice. Lively and delicious, full and creamy, acidity enough, and with a long dry finish. Harmonious from start to finish. Very Highly Recommended.Try with fish or poultry dishes or pasta or on its own.
Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Wohlmuth Klassik Sauvignon Blanc (Südsteiermark, Austria) 2016, 12.5%, €21.65 Karwig Wines
While you may not immediately associate Austria with Sauvignon Blanc, Steiermark, to the south west of Vienna and next door to Slovenia, is synonymous with fresh, aromatic white wines, particularly Sauvignon Blanc.
Here’ll you find the Wohlmuth winery who also produce wine from other grapes such as Pinot Gris, Riesling, Muskatteler, and a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Blaufränkisch, most of which are available via Karwig’s. Wohlmuth, by the way, is regarded by The World Atlas of Wine, as a producer of “some of Südsteiermark’s most elegant wines”.
This Sauvignon Blanc is classed as trocken (dry) and it is. It has quite a light lemon colour. Moderate intense aromas, herbaceous, leafy, hints of mint. On the palate it is light and gently fruity (ripe nectarine, peach, melon) and the lively acidity is a balancing factor. A really pleasant and elegant drop and Very Highly Recommended.
Wohlmuth say it goes well with asparagus with gravadlax salmon; chicken breast with red pepper sauce. Please take note also that they advise serving it at 12 degrees - they know what they are talking about and the advice will help you get the very best out of a top notch wine!
Winzer Krems Blauer Zweigelt “St Severin” trocken (Austria) 13%, €14.45 Karwig Wines
A few focail:
Niederösterreich is the name for Lower Austria.
Trocken is dry, which is the case with many Austrian wines.
Blauer Zweigelt is a red grape variety, widely grown in Austria.
St Severin is the wine name.
This well-priced quality red wine has a dark ruby colour, lighter at the rim. Gorgeous and intense fruit aromas. Also engaging red fruit flavours (cherries, berries, redcurrants), a touch of spice, full bodied and quite dry to the finalé. Overall though this is easy drinking, light and bright, not unlike Pinot Noir, and is Highly Recommended.
The winery, which is situated 70 miles west of the capital Vienna, recommends matching it with game, beef and “a lot of cheese varieties”.
Wednesday, January 9, 2019
Jean-Claude Chanudet La Cuvée du Chat Vin de France 2016, 13%, €23.50 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny
Baudelaire’s cat may well have had “un dangereux parfum” but, while tempting, Chanudet’s La Cuvée du Chat has nothing of menace about it at all. Jean-Claude is highly regarded in organic and natural wine circles and this bottle shows exactly why.
One word you don’t see on the labels is Beaujolais even though this 100% Gamay comes mainly from the cru area of Morgon. Vin de table indeed! Some table wine for 23 euro.
Colour is the typical light ruby. Pleasant, even modest, aromas of cherry and raspberry. But, like the cat of the poem, it does have something of a sexy backbone. Life in the old cat yet, the fruit harvested from vines of 80 years old.
Superb soft and deep flavours, nice acidity too and a persistent finish. Eminently digestible, easy drinking, full of palatable pleasure and Very Highly Recommended. Sediment noted by the way so might be worthwhile decanting as young wines often are.
The label by Maurice Sinet (died 2016, aged 87) always brings a smile. He was better known as Siné and was a columnist for Charlie Hebdo.
Beck Ink Austria 2016, 12.5%, €16.95 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny
The label is dominated by an octopus expelling ink. Not much else though two key words appear: trocken (dry) and Bio-Wein. Not much on the outside then but quality all the way inside this Austrian bottle.
Colour is ruby with a beautiful healthy sheen. Warm and fairly intense aromas (cherry mainly). Soft and juicy flavours (cherry, raspberry) envelop the palate, attractive spice notes too. This lovely wine has an excellent balance. Loads of character and very quaffable. Very Highly Recommended.
There was some sediment so probably best to decant. No big deal either way.
Ink is a fresh, juicy, vibrant and delicious blend of 80% Zweigelt and 20% St. Laurent. Both are traditional Austrian varieties and the former is the most widely planted red-wine grape in the country - by the way, most of wine-growing is done in the eastern part. Judith Beck is based in Burgenland and has produced wines in accordance with bio-dynamic principles since 2007.
Interestingly, St Laurent was one of the “parents” (the other was Blaufrankisch) when Zweigelt was created in 1922.
Les Champs Libres Lard Des Choix, Vin de France, 2016, 12.5% abv, €21.35 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny
Anything goes in the fields of freedom, especially if you have two experienced conductors, well-known vigneron Hervé Souhaut and René-Jean Dard (Dard et Ribo), at the head of the fun. Here, they offer a “chillable and eminently gluggable blend of Gamay and Syrah”, an unusual blend that works to perfection.
It is a mid to dark ruby. Aromas are intense and intriguing, dark fruits and something too from those fields where the fat pigs roam. Dark fruit flavours too, berries and cherries, spice also. Gluggable juice yes but with an exceptional grippy finish.
With a name like Lard Des Choix, there are lots of tongue in (pig’s) cheek and puns of course in the notices of this wine, a newcomer to the Le Caveau range. The producers are certainly highly regarded, best known for their Rhone wines. This lively Ardèche number is Highly Recommended. (The verdict was not unanimous: CL gave it Very Highly Recommended).
Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Gitton de la Vigne du Taureau Sauvignon Blanc Couteaux du Giennois (AC) 2014, 12.5%, €19.50 Karwig Wines
Giennois is one of the lesser-known appellations in the Loire area, but it is just a few kilometres north of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. This crisp Sauvignon Blanc doesn’t let the neighbours down, far from it. It suits perfectly seafood and grilled fish, goats cheese too.
Colour is a light straw with green tints. It is moderately aromatic, white fruit, floral notes too and minerality. That distinctive minerality is immediately obvious on the palate where the excellent white fruit flavours (citrus prominent) combine well with a super acidity for a refreshing drop that also finishes well. Highly Recommended.
Diwald Fucksentanz Riesling Wagram (Austria) 2016, 12%, €18.30 Mary Pawle Wines
Diwald are regarded as pioneers of organic wine in the Wagram region and they interfere as little as possible in the cellar. Winemaker Martin Diwald has called this wine “a typical cheeky Riesling of the Wagram region". Just in case you were wondering, Fucksentanz, the name of the wine, translates as fox dance.
Colour is a light gold, bright and clear. There are rich and fairly complex aromas: pear and peach, notes of honey, floral too. There is a tingly sensation on introduction to the palate. The fruit is pure, outstandingly fresh with exuberant acidity, exquisite balance with a long lip-smacking finalé. Minerality and character help make this Highly Recommended.
Amastuola Bianco Salento Italy (IGP) 2015, 12.5%, €13.69 Mary Pawle Wines
Fiano and Malvasia are the grapes used to make this Italian white. Production is organic with “a strong propensity for innovation, sensitive to the environment, culture and knowledge” The wine has been vinified and aged in stainless steel.
Light straw is the colour. There is an interesting melange of scents, white fruit combined with herb and floral notes. It is smooth and fresh, excellent mouthfeel, superbly balanced and with a persistent finish, the fruit still going strong. Highly Recommended and good value too by the way.
Monday, September 10, 2018
Reds may outnumber the whites by about two to one in the ongoing annual sale at O'Brien's but there are some excellent whites to consider. We tasted the first three over the past week while the two at the end were tasted a few months back. All good, but we do advise putting the Sophie Bertin Sancerre at #1 on your shopping list!
La Côte Blanche de Sophie Bertin Sancerre (AOP) 2016, 13%, €14.95 (down from 21.95).
Of the three whites tasted this past few days, this is the star. Not that you’d know it from the pale straw colour, much the same as the Waiheke. The magic starts with the aromas, a degree or two more intense, white fruit and floral notes, minerality and more, full of promise.
And that promise is handsomely delivered. The palate has extra intensity, more body, rounded and flavourful, perfect balance between fruit and acidity, plus quite a long and satisfying dry finish. Very Highly Recommended. An ideal pairing with seafood, salad, or simply by itself. The winery recommendations are Goat's cheese, Risotto, Salads, Shellfish, Smoked fish.
This top class Sancerre benefits from the Domaine’s “fantastic soils (chalk and clay, and flint)" and a policy of reducing yields to increase fruit flavours. In the cellar, the wine is matured on its lees for several months.
Rabl Grüner Veltliner Löss Kamptal (Austria) 2017, 12%, €14.95 (was 18.45).
This light straw coloured wine has aromas of white fruits, light pepper in the background. The purity of the fruit (peachy) is exceptional - the Grüner Veltliner, known for its aromatic fruity wines, gets on very well with the local Löss soil - no shortage of minerality and you have a dry refreshing finish. Highly Recommended. Well priced too - especially now!
The Rabl Winery in Langenlois, Austria’s largest wine-producing city, has three guiding principles: 1. Only perfect grapes can yield a top wine. 2. Must from perfect grapes allows minimal intervention. 3. No fear of powerful wines! Rabl are well regarded and they recommend pairing this generous and refreshing wine with light starters or as an aperitif. Should go well too with simple fish dishes and salads.
Man O’ War Sauvignon Blanc Waiheke Island (New Zealand) 2016, 12%, €16.95 (was 19.95).
Very light straw is the colour of this Waiheke Island Sauvignon Blanc. The island, known for its beaches and vineyards, is a short ferry ride to the east of Auckland on the North Island. Aromas tend to citrus as does the fairly intense palate of this fresh and crisp wine. Acidity is not shy at all and, with a hint of grapefruit, there’s a pleasing refreshing finish. Recommended. By the way, it is not entirely Sauvignon as there is five per cent Semillon in the blend.
Winery note: The 2016 Sauvignon blanc, with 5% Semillon, is a stylish vintage with typical herbaceous aromas, tight acidity and ample texture. Typical of Waiheke Sauvignon blanc, our 2016 Estate Savvy is perfect with a year or two of age allowing the wine to mellow and showcase the wines structure and longevity.
Two Others to Note
Gaia Assyrtiko Wild Ferment €22.95 (was 24.95).
The grapes are grown high up in circles around the top of the craters on Santorini, one of the Greek islands. Sometimes wines from hot climates lack acidity, but that is not the case here. Try it with shellfish. The grapes are soaked on the skins after crushing for a long period. This gives the wines their excellent structure and complexity of flavour. Well worth a try!
Terredora Greco di Tufo Loggia, 16.95 (was €18.95)
Colour is a light straw and the intense aromas feature white fruits and blossoms. The intensity is also on the palate, citrus notes here too and a rich minerality also prominent in this elegant and full-bodied wine. Definitely has that strong personality and a long dry finish. Greco di Tufo is the grape and you’ll find it difficult to get one better than this!
O’Brien’s themselves rave about this one: “Tasted by the wine team against two other major names in the region (Campania), this wine won hands down and was immediately listed for us. Simply amazing mineral driven, rich, complex white. Utterly irresistible!”
The recently published The Modern History of Italian Wine also has high praise for Terredora. “The vineyards are… among the best in Irpinia. Terredora cultivates indigenous grapes only.”
Monday, June 25, 2018
Beck Weissburgunder Burgenland (Austria) 2016, 12.5%, €18.95 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny
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.
Monday, January 8, 2018
Three of the Best. From Beaujolais to Italy to Austria.
Dominique Morel Fleurie (AP) Vieilles Vignes 2015, 12.5%, €23.99 JJ O’Driscoll’s Cork, Manning’s Emporium Ballylickey, Wine Online, World Wide Wines
Fleurie, like all ten crus, is in the east of the Beaujolais region. Here Gamay, always refreshing and never short of acidity, thrives on the granite soil. Fleurie is an excellent partner for a wide variety of lighter dishes.
Here the colour is mid ruby. Very aromatic with delicate cherry scents, floral notes too, an inviting melange.The silky palate is bursting with fruit flavours and tannins close to velvety, very elegant indeed with no shortage of the concentration expected here, more heft indeed than you'd expect, and with a long and satisfying finish.
This is an excellent example of the expressive Gamay, no doubt helped by the fact that the fruit was well ripened in the good 2015 vintage. Serve at 15 degrees to get the best from this Fleurie. I found it easy to make my mind up here. No need to wait for the second glass - though that did come - Very Highly Recommended.
Loimer Langenlois Loiserberg Grüner Veltliner Kamptal (DAC) 2015, 13%, RRP € 23.99 JJ O’Driscoll, Cork; Wine Online
The first thing I really noticed* about this bottle was its glass closure; plastic is also used in the seal. It is marked trocken (dry) and made by Fred Loimer in the Kamptal area of Austria. Kamp is a river, a left bank tributary of the Danube which it joins near Krems, about 45 minutes north-east of the famous monastery of Melk.
They have been organic since 2006 and admit to having been inspired by the natural scientist Rudolph Steiner. “this has brought us, we admit, criticism from some quarters”. Their wines though have not, on the contrary. You’ll find the typical Gruner characteristics of herb, spice and apple here in this refreshing example.
There is a good yellow colour and a mixed nose of fruity and herbal notes. There is a peppery touch on the lively palate, along with mellow fruit flavours (2015 was a warm vintage), nice acidity too and excellent balance. A mineral character is prominent in a good long finish. Highly Recommended.
* One of the last things I noticed was the cheeky little fellow embedded in the glass closure!
Alpha Zeta Valpolicella Ripasso (DOC) Superiore 2015, 13.5%, €19.99 Bradley’s, Cork; JJ O’Driscoll, Cork; McKeoghs, Killaloe; Wine Online; World Wide Wines.
I know quite a few of you are Ripasso fans and this is another fine mouth-watering example of the technique and indeed has been described as a “mini-Amarone”. Grapes used are Corvina/Corvinone (70%) and Rondinella (30).
Ruby is the colour. Aromas speak of cherry and you may note the slightly raisin-ed notes familiar from Amarone. It has a rich concentrated palate, the cherry staying prominent, spice too, well balanced though with a fresh and dry finish, long too. Highly Recommended.
Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Wagner and Strauss.
An impressive duet in red and white.
Wagner Stempel Riesling Rheinhessen (DQ) 2015, 12%, €19.95 Bradley’s Cork.
Nine generations of the Wagner family have been involved in wine-making here since 1845. Daniel Wagner has been the wine-maker since the early 90s and under him they have converted to organic production methods.
According to the Finest Wines of Germany, he has proved that “forgotten or previously unconsidered terroirs can be of exceptional quality when they are interpreted properly”.
Harvest is late (October/November) and the wines are kept on their lees until the end of May.This one, labelled trocken, is imported by the Wine Mason.
Harvest is late (October/November) and the wines are kept on their lees until the end of May.This one, labelled trocken, is imported by the Wine Mason.
Colour is light straw, tints of green, micro-bubbles cling to the glass. Quite a bunch of aromas, fruit, herbs, even a hint of smoke. A fresh and fruity vibrancy emerges as soon as it meets the palate - notes of melon, spice and yellow apple - all balanced by a keen acidity; the long flavourful finish is lip smackingly dry. Very Highly Recommended.
A superb uncomplicated wine to be enjoyed with or without food. I enjoyed it with Hederman’s smoked mackerel, freshly boiled beetroot from the garden, and salad leaves with some roasted pepper.
Johann Strauss Zweigelt Reserve Austria (QaO) 2011, 13.5%, €20.50 Karwig Wines
Zweigelt is the grape and Kremstal is the area in Austria where this fragrant and elegant wine comes from. The blue/black Zweigelt is the most widespread red wine grape in Austria. A cross between St Laurent and Blaufränkisch, it was developed in 1922 and is said to deliver full bodied wines with tones of morello cherries. The morello is black and a sour kind of cherry.
Our Zweigelt has a mid-ruby robe and a fragrant nose of dark red fruits, hints too of pepper. Rather elegant introduction with soft tannins. Restrained waves of those cherry flavours follow, a touch of spice too and then a lingering finish. A pleasure to drink this one and Highly Recommended.
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Winemakers Since 1803: The Wohlmuth Family Of Austria
The Wohlmuth family have been in wine since 1803, the winery now run by Maria and Gerhard as well as their son Gerhard Josef and his wife Marion. Hand in hand with nature is the motto here “with an uncompromising aspiration for quality”.
Lots of hard work involved, much of it down to the steepness of the vineyards around the village of Kitzech (close to the city of Graz, European Capital of Culture two years before Cork) in Südsteiermark (South Styria). With an average steepness of up to 90%, they are among Europe’s steepest. The soil is slate which leads to deep-rooted vines. Here, they grow mainly white varieties and also Pinot Noir.
The grapes for the Aristos are grown to the east in the Neckenmarkt vineyard in the Mittelburgenland region (a couple of hours east of Graz and close to the Hungarian border) where they have been producing since 2002.
Karwig Wines carry quite a lot of the Wohlmuth wines, including a Chardonnay Sekt. Check them out here
Wohlmuth Aristos Burgenland (Austria) 2010, 13.5%, €20.95 Karwig Wines
Quite a lot of info on the back label: it is a quality wine and a dry one. The grapes are hand-selected and it is a blend of Blaufränkisch and Cabernet Sauvignon, aged in French oak. The vineyard is in Neckenmarkt which has loamy slate and shell limestone. The Blaufränkisch is “our great red wine love”.
It is a light (and bright) ruby colour with aromas of blackberry and blackcurrant and a little pepper too. Pleasant fruit flavours on the palate, medium bodied with a little spice and soft tannins. Nice acidity too, promising a good match with food (lamb cutlet; duck breast on lentils are suggested), and the wine is Highly Recommended.
Wohlmuth Reid Gola Pinot Gris Wohlmuth (Austria) 2013, 13%, €17.80 Karwig Wines
Wohlmuth say this “refined Burgundy-style wine” has “lots of potential”. Gola (the vineyard) is of Slavian origin, the word meaning “naked”, which refers to the meagre slate soil. Here the roots go deep and the “soil” is reflected in the wines. In Gola, they also grow Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Riesling and more.
Light straw is the colour. There are very pleasant aromas indeed, a mix of blossom, white fruit, herbs. It is zingy, peppery and dry. Quite a palate-waking intro with ripe stone fruit flavours, no shortage of minerality and an excellent lingering finish also. Highly Recommended. Food pairings suggested are classic pan-fried chicken and also wild garlic risotto.
The Wohlmuth Winery is well-known for the artwork on their labels; the painting on the 2013 bottles is by Professor Ulrich Gansert.
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Three Delightful Whites
We have been traveling all over to assemble this top notch trio of white wines for you. Maybe just a trio but they amount to quite an orchestra, maybe even capable of a symphony. The traveling has not been done by me personally but by the folks from Wine Mason, Mary Pawle and Le Caveau. They have bought well. So, let us doff the hats and say Chapeaux to the chaps and chapesses!
Turner Pageot Le Blanc 2015, Languedoc (AOP), 14%, €19.95 Bradley’s, North Main Street, Cork.
Colour is a shiny pale gold. The nose, slightly honeyed, is of ripe apricot and exotic fruit. Ripe fruit abounds on the medium-dry palate. This is fruity, rich and round and quite a powerful wine with a long and mineral finish. Very Highly Recommended.
It is an organic blend of Roussane (80%) and Marsanne (20). Turner Pageot, imported by the Wine Mason, produce a range of “gastronomic wines” and say the striking colourful collage on the label suggests exciting food and wine matches.
And the food and wine pairings they suggest are Fish and crustaceans in sauce; Saint Jacques with black truffle; Pike dumplings Nantua sauce; Noble poultry; White sausage. Old-fashioned veal blanquette. Mushrooms with cream.
Noble poultry, how are ye! Well, come to think of it, there was some right royal Irish chicken in the Thai Green Curry from Cinnamon Cottage. I tried the wine with that delicious dish and they got on very well together!
Diwald Goldberg Grüner Veltliner, Wagram (Austria) 2013, 12.5%, €20.75 Mary Pawle Wines
The low-yielding vineyard overlooks the Danube and this organic trocken (dry) white wine has spent 8 months on lees. Importer Mary Pawle recommends matching it with scallops. It is often recommended with Asian also. Indeed, Grüner Veltliner is a very good food wine, very versatile, so much so that sommeliers regularly mention it, especially if a small group is hesitating over which wine to order.
This Diwald bottle boasts an attractive light gold colour. You’ll first meet its light fruit (apples, citrus) and white pepper on the nose. A tingly feel introduces it to the palate, that clean fruit fresh is there too, balanced by a lively and lovely acidity. Very Highly Recommended.
Framingham Classic Riesling, Marlborough 2009, 12%, €22.65 Le Caveau
Colour is an inviting rich yellow. Floral and citrus elements in the aromas and a hint of diesel too followed by a mouthful of delicious complex flavours. It is just off-dry with a little sweetness in the mix - think Mosel rather than Rhine.
Texture has been reinforced by some six months spent on lees. Balance comes from the juicy acidity and the finish is long and drying. Overall quite a rich Riesling and a Highly Recommended one.
Texture has been reinforced by some six months spent on lees. Balance comes from the juicy acidity and the finish is long and drying. Overall quite a rich Riesling and a Highly Recommended one.
The diesel is almost always an unwanted distraction for me in New Zealand (and Australian) Rieslings but here it is just about noticeable and hardly at all with food, especially with that delicious Skeaghanore Smoked Duck Breast.
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Go East For A Classy Pair
Diwald Grüner Veltliner, Grossriedenthaler Löss (Wagram, Austria) 2014, 12.5%, €16.00 Mary Pawle
“We don’t like Coca Cola wines or Glass House tomatoes,” declares this organic pioneer from Austria, their way of saying they prefer to make their wines in the vineyard. Organic it is and it also looks and tastes very much like a well-made classic Gru-Vee.
It is light gold in colour, bright and clean. White fruits in the aromas (apples and gooseberries, I thought). Refreshing white fruit flavours follow with a perceptible tingle, superb body though and excellent balance and a good long finish. Very Highly Recommended.
The vineyard is located north of the Danube, roughly equidistant from Vienna to the south-east and Melk (with its famous monastery, where they serve an excellent sauerkraut) to the south-west.
Kilian Hunn Spätburgunder 2009 (Baden, Germany), 13%, €18.30 Karwig Wines
Lots of talk, including some guff from this quarter, on Pinot Noir from Burgundy, New Zealand, Chile, even Oregon. All good for sure. But do be sure to add Germany to the short-list. With confidence.
And yes it is Germany. Lots of Badens around. More than one in Germany, one in Switzerland and there's even a Baden-Baden in Austria (the only one I’ve visited). Baden means spa so that accounts for the many towns with the same name.
Colour is a youthful red, red to the very edge, despite its relative age. There are good berry aromas, mainly strawberries. Super fruit flavours, dry, elegant, then a persistent finish. Simply excellent and Very Highly Recommended.
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Joe Karwig’s RieslingsReasons to Remember
|Happy days with Joe (left)|
We had joy. We had fun. We had Rieslings in the sun. And in the rain too! It is after all, one of the most versatile of wines and was a particular favourite of the late Joe Karwig as Beverly Mathews reminded us when she introduced an evening of Joe’s Rieslings at L'Attitude Wine Cafe last Wednesday.
The rain of the day persisted in to the night on the nearby quays and streets. But the constant downpour failed to prevent a full house. “He was an incredible man,” Beverly continued. “He knew so much about wine and so much about Riesling in particular. He had these wines selected for an Autumn tasting and we thought it would be a shame not to go ahead with it.”
“It is a great demonstration of the styles of Riesling from the very dry to sweet, yet just a small sample of what they have in Karwig Wines, and the proceeds are going to the Cork Simon Community.”
She then introduced us to Joe's son Jurgen and asked him what were Joe’s favourite wines in general. Jurgen: “German whites were his main love and Italian reds. He loved the Old World wines in general.’
Marcus Gates of Karwig’s was introduced as “Cork favourite Australian” by Beverley, and he took us, enthusiastically, though the wines. He too remembered Joe: “I wish I wasn't doing this. I’d prefer to have Joe here.”
Furst Von Metternich Riesling Sekt trocken NV Rheingau
“Creamy mousse...brioche...great with Foie Gras…”, drooled Marcus as we sipped this 100% Riesling sparkling wine. “Made by a man who had 3 wives and 19 children and wanted to unite Europe”. This is genuine, made with the traditional champagne method. That creaminess, the bubbles and acidity worked very well with L’Atitude’s canape of Brie. Goes well too with pork belly, according to Marcus.
Full review (30/12/15) of this wine here.
Wohlmuth Kitzecker Riesling 2013 South Styria Austria
“This is from one of the highest growing areas in Austria,” said Marcus. “Very minerally, for sure. Makes you pucker! With peach, apricot and citrus elements in the mix, it makes for a lovely aperitif. Great with seafood. This is a baby and definitely another few years in it.” Riesling is great with Asian and this was underlined when L’Atitude paired it with prawns. Both the flavours of the wine and the prawn improved when they met on the palate. Can't ask anymore of a match!
Georg Muller Hattenheimer Wisselbrunned GG Riesling 2012 Grand Cru Rheingau
This has the VDP eagle displayed on the neck, “a guarantee of pure wine pleasure”, not a bad start. For many years the winery was a foundation for the benefit of the town of Eltville in the Hattenheim region. In 2003, it came back into private ownership. Peter Winter, a one-time boss and long-time friend of Joe Karwig, is the new owner and kept the existing name.
Jurgen was involved in a recent harvest here. “This vineyard is a top site. ..less juice per vine.. flavours more concentrated. It is more quality, less about quantity.” Marcus enthused: "Very complex, big mouthfeel..I’d like to see it in 15 years time. But it is drinking very well now, a cracking wine and one to watch.” My favourite too!
Woollaston Estate Riesling 2006 Nelson South Island New Zealand
“This is from rainy Nelson,” said Marcus. They are certified biodynamic now and were getting there ten years ago”. The petrol aromas dominated this one even though the excellent salmon ceviche (made by L’Atitude’s Chilean Francisca) helped moderate them.
Dr Heinz Wagner Saarburger Kupp Riesling Kabinett Feinherb 2010 Mosel
Back to Germany for the 5th wine, an off dry, made by the 5th generation of the family who have been here since 1880. “Very steep”, said Marcus. “Even steeper than Patrick's Hill. Some minerality but a little bit of residual sugar means it's off-dry (feinherb). But it is addictive!” Great match here with a skewer of pork, apricot and red onion, very enjoyable pairing indeed.
Willi Haag Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Auslese 2011 Mosel
We would, naturally, finish on a sweet note though this, from the south facing slopes, is not quite a dessert wine. “You have peach, grapefruit, honey. You see very few ausleses in restaurants around here.” It proved quite a match with a piece of Bleu d’Auvergne, the sweet and the salty going nicely together.
Time now for a toast to Joe as Jurgen and Marcus introduced a surprise: a 1988 Schlossgut Diel, Dorsheimer Goldloch. “There is a little bit of oxidation, just showing its age!”, said Marcus. “But still clear, vibrant, a nice little treat. Give it a moment or two for the aromas to open up. Would have been sweeter once but now drying, on its way to fading away.” And then we toasted Joe with the old Riesling and a “chorus” of clinks.