Showing posts with label Barossa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Barossa. Show all posts

Friday, March 9, 2018

A Couple of Decanter Winners for you!

A Couple of Decanter Winners for you!

Les Closiers Lirac (AC) 2015, 14%, €15.00 Marks and Spencer.

On the Rhone, a town called Roquemaure,
Drank some Lirac in a noisy bar.
After lunch of Poulet l’Estragon,
On the river, I saw the Ragondin.

Lirac, on the right bank, is, since 1946, one of the 16 crus of the Rhone and Roquemaure is one of the towns in the appellation. Marks and Spencer winemaker Belinda Kleinig says this is “an opulent example” made from Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsault and recommends trying it with steak and sausages. One thing that struck me while drinking it, not on the Rhone but here in Cork, was the reliability of Rhone wine.

Decanter are also impressed and made it a winner in last year’s awards saying it was exquisite. “Lirac is often overshadowed by better known rivals but is a source of outstanding value wines.”

This has a beautiful deep ruby colour. Aromas are also enticing, mainly black fruit with spice and herb notes. Not at all shy on the palate, generous, well balanced. Try this lovely Lirac with red meats and game and you may well become a fan as did Avignon popes John Paul XX11 and Clement V. Blessed be the winemakers. An excellent drop and Very Highly Recommended. Very good value too. 

And the Ragondin? A relatively recent import, a kind of a cross between a rat and an otter, from South America. The French don't have much regard for them; you can't eat them, though one lady told me that someone had made a passable paté.

La Fête du Baiser ("festival of the kiss") is a festival celebrated in Roquemaure on the Saturday after St. Valentine's Day. The town also claims to be the place where Hannibal and his army (including elephants) crossed the Rhone in 218BC.

Torbreck Marananga Dam - Roussane, Marsanne, Viognier - Barossa Valley, Australia, 2015, 14%, €22.00 Marks & Spencer

This is another of the Platinum winners from the most recent Decanter awards. The Mediterranean grapes each add to the excellent blend. The Roussane provides structure and finesse. The Marsanne gives palate texture and richness while the Viognier offers a pure floral lift and finishes the wine with refinement and elegance. It is certainly a winner and Very Highly Recommended.

You immediately note the bright and beautiful light gold colour. White fruits and floral notes mingle in the nose. It is rich and fruity (apricot, citrus), hints of honey too, flow across the palate, no shortage of finesse in this medium to full-bodied wine. And there is a persistent finish, the dry finalé still with pleasant echoes of the fruit.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

O’Brien’s July Sale. Three to Consider

O’Brien’s July Sale
Three to Consider

The monthly sales at O’Brien’s are always worth a look. I’m afraid I was a little late getting to Douglas this time. But the bottles I wanted were still there and here are three of them, from a great selection of close to one hundred! Check them out here.

Tons de Duorum, Douro (DOC) 2014, 13.5%, €15.45 (11.95 in July sale) O’Brien’s

The name is inspired by the bright colours that result from the reflections of the sun on the Douro creating different tones in the vineyard. Local grapes Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz are used; they are hand-harvested and the wine goes on to spend six months in oak.

Intense dark and red fruit aromas greet you from this ruby to violet coloured wine and the legs are slow enough to clear. No shortage of ripe fruit flavours on the elegant palate, refreshing with a little spice there too, fine tannins and a lovely soft finish. Another good value wine from the Douro and Highly Recommended.
Brocard La Boissoneuse, Chablis (AOC) 2013, 12.5%, €24.95 (22.95 in July sale) O’Brien’s

You really don't have to wait to get this light gold wine into your glass to appreciate the gorgeous aromas. The white fruits and some floral hints emerge from the bottle the minute you extract the cork.

The cork has a wax coating. A bit of a nuisance I thought - until I looked up this You Tube demo. Suitably instructed, I warmed the top of the wax with the palm of my hand and then extracted the cork as normal, the wax top breaking off cleanly as the cork emerged.

There is true harmony on the palate, those white fruit flavours (apple, citrus) and a charge of bracing minerality giving a superbly clean combination and a long and very satisfying finish.

The winery has respect for its ancient soils and notes the cycles of the sun and the moon, all with the aim of bringing the Chardonnay grapes to “perfect harmony”. Their organic principles have been rewarded with this Very Highly Recommended Wine. Two euros off may not be a great draw. Definitely you’ll get bigger bargains in the sale but few better wines than this. O’Brien’s themselves say it “leaves some of the best Premier Crus in its wake... a revelation”. "Not your typical Chablis," says Nicolas, the Douglas manager. But a very good one.
Bethany Creek Shiraz, Barossa 2011, 13.5%, €19.95 (€12.95 in July sale) O’Brien’s

The grapes for this excellent wine come, as is not uncommon in Australia, from their own and a number of neighbouring vineyards. Vintage commenced on 4 March at Bethany Wines, later than usual and a full month later than in 2010; the cooler temperatures resulting in slow, even ripening of the fruit and good flavour development. So, no harm done! On the contrary.

Colour is purple and there are fruity aromas, some spice too. Those red cherry characters follow through to the palate, fruity and spicy with fine tannins, a soft mouthfeel, an elegant wine that has “gained from two years careful oak maturation”. This approachable well-balanced wine is Highly Recommended. So get in quick as stocks, at this bargain price, may not last until the end of the month!

Friday, September 30, 2011


Jane Ferrari with Maurice O'Mahony (left) and yours truly at Ballymaloe


Jane Ferrari, the roving ambassador for Yalumba Wine Company (Australia), was in Ballymaloe yesterday. Despite being in the process of recovery from a recent knee operation, the indefatigable Aussie was in top form.

Busy, busy, busy. In the afternoon she spoke to the Cookery School, early evening she conducted a wine tasting and later a full scale wine dinner. And all that after a hectic few days and nights in Dublin.

Dodgy knee or not, she kept her lively show on the road. She also writes a blog and her latest post concerned the Irish game v Australia. Obviously she likes her sport and, also obviously, her sportsmen, including current favourite Ronan O’Gara.

But back to the wines, all produced in the Barossa area by the long standing family company and available here through Cassidy Wines.

Started off with the Pewsey Vale Riesling, produced in the high country above the valley floor and costing about €13.00. “This Riesling is absolutely spot on with Mediterranean-Asian crossover food,” said Jane. “It is essential to have this well chilled,” added Ballymaloe sommelier Colm McCan.

Jane then moved on to their Barossa Eden Viognier 2009, perfumed and luscious and made from super ripe grapes, handpicked. “This means the yield is halved but the wine is pretty elegant.”

The second Viognier, the Virgilius Eden Valley 2008, comes from the same 22 acre small yield vineyard. At €30.00, it is double the price of the first one. Hints of ginger in the peachy apricot aroma, it is an “unctuous and complex its best with food....complements a wide range of flavours”.

The Barossa valley floor is too hot for Pinot Noir and the Yalumba favourite is Grenache. Jane gave the winemaker’s point of view: “Grenache is easy to get along with. If you’re looking for the Diva of grapes, it has to be Viognier.”

The first Grenache was the Barossa Eden Bush Vine 2009 (€17). The fruit comes from 14 different parcels on the valley floor, mainly river sand. “It is raspberry over rosemary, berry over herb, no heat. The Number One word with Grenache is balance and this medium weight wine is a perfect match for juicy chargrilled pork chops.”

Then we moved on to the Single Site Bowden Vineyard Moppa Block Grenache 2006, darker, more cherry, more intense. This fruit comes from a tiny vineyard and 2006 was a “stellar vintage”. This is a “cracker of a food wine, ideal with roast veal, chorizo and other Spanish, Italian dishes”. Unfortunately, this gem is not available in Ireland.

Next up was their €40.00 The Signature Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz 2005. “This was originally called Galway Claret and is a bit of a specialty with us. It is the old Claret style and we are trying to keep the style alive. The Cabernet dominates the nose while the long lasting palate is down to the Shiraz. This could live forever!”

Then we moved to Shiraz and “into carnivorous territory”. Stared with the €24.00 Barossa Eden Patchwork 2008, an “old school juicy fruity middle weight”.

Next came The Octavius Old Vine 2004, a “serious heavyweight, long lasting in the mouth, great length of power and the flavours remain, ideal with meat off the bone, including venison fillets and also good with vegetarian dishes such as those featuring Shitake mushrooms”.

We finished on a sweet note with the Yalumba FSW8B Botrytis Viognier, Wrattonbully 2009, €18.00. It is a gorgeous dessert wine and Jane said cheese makers and dessert chefs “are going nuts for it. It goes well too with old fashioned desserts such as apple crumble.”

A lovely end to a lovely evening with a lovely person who entertained and informed with an abundance of down to earth fact and insight and no shortage of good humour. We cheered her off the stage and I reckon she’ll be cheering for Ronan on Sunday.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Ballymaloe's Colm McCan, one of those who enjoyed last night's wine event in Electric, told me about their upcoming wine event....

Learn about the heritage, culture and wines of Yalumba
with Jane Ferrari, from Yalumba Wines, Barossa Valley, Australia
Thursday 29th September, 2011

The inimitable Jane Ferrari, is simply one of the of the world’s best wine speakers, reflecting her wine knowledge & experience, heartfelt infectious passion, and expansive personality, coupled with that laid back, straight talking, down to earth wit & humour, open soul Australian approach. 

Jane’s interests also include a lifelong passion for horses & racing, and she also makes her own olive oil from her treasured gum-studded block of Barossa land.

Yalumba was founded in 1849 by Samuel Smith, purchasing a 30-acre parcel of land just beyond the southern-eastern boundary of Angaston, Smith and his son began planting the first vines by moonlight. Samuel named his patch “Yalumba” – aboriginal for “all the land around”. Six generations and 160 years later Yalumba is Australia’s oldest family owned winery.

7.00pm Wine presentation and tasting in The Grain Store at Ballymaloe House. Jane will give a wine presentation and tutored tasting on various wines that are made by Yalumba. A great evening not to be missed. €10, booking advised.

8.30pm Wine dinner with Jane Ferrari at Ballymaloe House. After the wine tasting, Jane will give a wine dinner at Ballymaloe House – with the wines matched to the Ballymaloe Dinner menu. Over dinner, Jane will introduce and speak about the wines as they are served with each course. €75, booking essential.

Ballymaloe House, Shanagarry, Co. Cork, Ireland
Tel: 021 4652531
Lonely Planet Top 10 Wine Weekends
Georgina Campbell Wine Award of the Year 2010
Food & Wine Magazine Top 10 Wine Experience of the Year 2010

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Chardonnay winner from Curious Wines

Langmeil Eden Valley Chardonnay 2010 13%, Curious Wines €11.99, 4.5 stars

Not all plain sailing in South Australia (pic by Langmeil)

I liked this one from Curious Wines,  an excellent expression of this widely grown grape from a producer best known for its Shiraz. And it goes straight to my list of 2011 favourites.
Colour is a very pale straw and it has an inviting aromatic nose. With some of the mix spending a few months in French oak, this has a rounded user friendly mouthfeel. It is vibrant, fresh with a fruit tang and that is all carried into the decent finish.
Not too much more to say about it. Well worth the money as there is a 20 per cent discount on Australian wine for the month of August.
The Langmeil winery is based in the Barossa, adjacent to the Eden Valley, and here is some Technical Stuff from the vineyard:
2010 Eden Valley Chardonnay - Sourced from a small vineyard in the Eden Valley, this elegant wine is made from pristine, flavour ripe bunches, gently pressed and cool fermented. Most components remain un-oaked for freshness (70%) while some are finished in French oak (30%) for complexity as well as undergoing secondary malolactic fermentation to soften natural acidity. This wine exhibits fresh, full fruit flavours, fine structure and a dry finish.

Monday, May 23, 2011


Nine Lives Barossa Valley Shiraz 2008, 14.5%, stockists (€16.99 rrp) 

Full ,spicy and dark red, this Barossa has a nose of inviting dark berry. There is a terrific mix of fruit and spice on the palate and the long finish of this lively full bodied wine is along the same pleasant lines. Not surprised that the producer, Rosedale Wines, won a silver medal for this at the 2010 New World Wine Awards.

Probably didn't win any medal though for the originality of the back label which has a string of cat puns. Still they draw a smile or two and I did have a laugh at the final line: drink in moderation – then have a catnap.

Bord Bia played a leading role during the queen’s visit and plays quite a role at all times in Irish food. Picked up a pork leaflet from them about a year back and adjusted one of the recipes for this wine.

The recipe is Pork Fillet with Prunes  and the only real change was to substitute red wine for the white. Must also mention that the pork was top class, a beautiful piece bought recently from Gubbeen   at the Mahon Point Farmers Market . 

Served with a puree of parsnip and potato, I’m glad to say (and this will earn me brownie points) that the dish was marvellous and was enhanced by the Shiraz which is imported by Wine Alliance and available at these stockists.