Showing posts with label Bubble Brothers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bubble Brothers. Show all posts

Friday, September 22, 2023

Scents of the garrigue, sultry heat of a Languedoc summer, make this Fitou a very good one indeed. “Oui, oui! Or should that be “way, way”!

Scents of the garrigue, sultry heat of a Languedoc summer, help make this Fitou a very good one indeed.

“Oui, oui! Or should that be “way, way”!

Cascatel Prieur De Berre Fitou (AOP) 2020, 14% ABV, €16.00 Bubble Brothers.

Fitou is a village close to the Mediterranean coast in southern France's Languedoc-Roussillon wine region. The village name has been given to the red wine appellation.

Carignan and Grenache are the main grapes in Fitou and the duo must account for 60% of any blend.  Syrah (as is the case here) and Mourvedgre may make up to a maximum of 20%. The blend here is Carignan 50%, Grenache Noir 35% and Syrah 15%.

The colour is a dark ruby. There are hot toasty scents of the garrigue, quite intense, red fruits, and some spice too.  Much of that makes it through to the palate which is fresh, full and generous. The finish is elegant, more so than you'd expect.

The producers are thrilled with it. “A modern wine of harmony and perfect balance. This ready-to-drink cuvée will continue to improve for a few years in the cellar.”

Importers Bubble Brothers put it well: ”The sultry heat of a Languedoc summer concentrated into a smooth, beguiling red…. Not quite a holiday in a bottle, but definitely a mini-break!”

Billy Forrester, founder of the Cork company, commented (via Instagram): "We’re very happy to work with @cascastel_vignerons_artisans for just that reason—a flavour of the Languedoc whatever the dish.

Isn’t the decanter great? If you’d said it was a classic from the Wine Geese era I’d nearly have believed you. Bravo @newbridgesilverware." 

Highly Recommended.  And well priced too, just like the decanter!


Check my growing list of top wines for 2023


Check out my Good Value Wine List here


The duck decanter in the top pic was bought during a recent visit to Newbridge Silverware. Be sure and try the restaurant while you are there and also the Museum of Style Icons. More details of my visit here.

Established on April 28, 1948, the Fitou appellation is the oldest and most renowned in Languedoc. The vineyard is made up of a multitude of small plots reclaimed from the scrubland (garrigue). A hot, dry and windy climate allows perfect ripening of the berries and provides excellent sanitary conditions.

“The word 'garrigue' refers to the heady scent of the mix of herbs and shrubs found everywhere in the arid, wild scrublands of the Languedoc. …In our part of Southern France, the garrigue is mostly made up of wild herbs like lavender, thyme, sage and rosemary and the aromas scent the air, especially during the summer months. So can garrigue impart a taste into the red wines, and, if so, how?”

The quote is from the vineyard blog (by Neasa) of Laurent Miquel. More on the garrigue by Neasa here. 

You just cannot miss the garrigue around here: you see it, you smell it, you hear it. I once spent a holiday near Narbonne, quite close to Fitou and, believe or not, our gite owner was a Madame Garrigue.

What you’ll also notice here is the local accent of the people of the Languedoc. You’ll wait in vain for someone to say “oui, oui” but you’ll know everything is okay when you hear a hearty “way, way”!

Friday, August 11, 2023

An Elegant Chilean Sauvignon Blanc From Bubble Brothers. Great value too!

An Elegant Chilean Sauvignon Blanc 

From Bubble Brothers. Great value too!

Matetic Corralillo Sauvignon Blanc (DO Valle De San Antonio) 2021, 13.5%.

€18.00 Bubble Brothers

Elegant, with a long finish

This Sauvignon Blanc comes from the middle (more or less) of Chile's wine-growing region. Chile, as you know, is a long narrow country. The total length is 4,300 km while the vines grow in a strip some 1,000 km long and about 170 km wide. This trip is roughly (very) halfway between north and south but more towards the north.

Certified organic (by Demeter) and working bio-dynamically, Matetic is in the San Antonio region (just ten miles inland from the Pacific and just over an hour west of the capital Santiago). The area has distinguished itself… “with its ability to grow quality Pinot Noir in addition to the critically acclaimed Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay” according to Wines of South America.

Their vines in the Rosario Valley are known for making some of the country’s best examples of this grape (Sauvignon Blanc) “because it gets those all important ocean breezes from the Pacific”. So says Jane Austen (author of Wine Revolution). 

This book tipped me off about the wine and glad to find it locally in Bubble Brothers in the English Market and glad too that it was on offer (down from 20 to 18 euro). Wouldn’t mind trying another few from the range! I note that Wines of South America has included Matetic’s Riesling and Syrah in their shortlists.

Colour is light gold with slight tints of green. Aromas are grassy and citrusy. It is lively and expressive on the palate with the fruit turning more tropical, papaya and mango along with the citrus. Acidity is fresh and juicy; it has great volume with an elegant and balanced long finish. Very Highly Recommended.


Check my expanding list of top wines for 2023



Check out my Good Value Wine List here


The producers: “The wine is kept on its lees for three months to enhance the smooth texture of this full-flavoured, rounded white that makes a perfect accompaniment for simply prepared fish dishes from sushi to ceviche, and a cleansing foil to richer recipes such as chowders.”

They elaborate saying it is perfect for appetisers or fresh vegetable salads and sea food, especially ceviche (fresh raw fish marinated in lime juice) or fish “a la plancha” (grilled on a metal plate). “A classic combination is Sauvignon Blanc with clam chowder: the acid in the wine cuts through the creaminess of the soup to leave a refreshing, clean feeling on the palate.”

I like Jane Austen’s summing up: “Don't think too hard about this, just crack it open and pair it with a lovely goat's cheese salad. This unoaked Sauvignon Blanc is incredible value - ready to go.”

The grapes are farmed organically and hand-picked, and the vineyards' cool climate and a gravity-flow winery mean that as much as possible of the natural freshness of the fruit is retained. The wine is kept on its lees to enhance the smooth texture of this full-flavoured, rounded white. 

In Brief

  • A great value wine. 
  • Organically farmed and biodynamically produced. 
  • Cool climate grown, gives the wine its refreshing acidity and fruity flavours.
  • Lees-ageing gives it a smooth texture and a complex flavour profile.
  • Pairs well with seafood. 
  • 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes.
  • Fruit grown in the Rosario Valley
  • The wine is bottled at 13.5% alcohol.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Drinking through Portugal wine regions I. An engaging Alvarinho from Minho.

Drinking through Portugal wine regions I. 

An engaging Alvarinho from Minho

Foot Trodden (2021), a book on Portuguese wine that I am currently reading, covers these eight regions: Minho, Douro, Dao, Bairrada, Colares, Ribatejo, Alentejo and Madeira (home of one of the most age-worthy wines). Other regions noted are Algarve, Setubal, Beiras Interior, Tránsmontano, Bucelas, VR Lisbon and Carcavelos. This is the start of an occasional focus on Portugal over the next month or two and I’ll try to get my hands on as many of the wines as I can. Any tips or help will be most welcome!

Quinta de Gomariz Alvarinho, Vinho Regional Minho, 2020, 13.5% ABV, €18.00 Bubble Brothers

I’m starting in Minho (where Vinho Verde comes from ) and I bought this Alvarinho at the Bubbles Brothers stall in the English Market. It has a bright and clean straw colour, no tints of green in this twilight hour. The nose is quite complex with scents of fresh citrus fruits as well as floral hints and a hint of honey. Quite a lively duet of flavour and freshness in the mouth on the way to a lip-smacking finalé. 

Very engaging, Very Highly Recommended.

At a tasting some years ago in Cork, I heard a wine importer posit that it was difficult to find a bad Albarino. 

António Sousa, winemaker at Gomariz would agree. In conversation with Jamie Goode, interview here, Sousa said: 'It's almost impossible to have a bad wine from this..’. He was speaking of Alvarinho, the same grape as Albarino. Gomariz operate in the extreme north of Portugal, close to the Minho River, the border with Spain, (you’ll know the area better as Vinho Verde). 

I thought, for a long time, that Vinho Verde meant green (or young) wine and the most recent World Atlas of Wine seems to agree but I’ve also seen that it refers instead to the wet and green landscape. 

Foot Trodden (2022) refers to Minho (the country’s second biggest wine region after the Douro) as “Portugal’s sister region to Galicia”. Here in the Spanish homeland of the ancient Celts, Rias Baixas, also wet and green, is home to the crisp light and refreshing Albarino.

Amazing how Albarino has taken off in Ireland over the past decade or more but you don’t see that much Alvarinho here. Many wines from Portugal are blends, sometimes with many grapes, and the less experienced customers find it difficult enough. But this one is 100% Alvarinho, surely not more difficult to pronounce than the successful Spanish equivalent. Perhaps the busy label here is off-putting for the casual wine-shopper.

We owe the Irish introduction of Gomariz wine to Bubble Brothers of course but the initial inspiration was provided by baker Declan Ryan. The Ryans had drank these wines while in the area and brought the info home and shared it with Bubble Bros who made good use of it!

Bubbles elaborate: ..the Alvarinho, which bears the legend 'Vinho Regional Minho' ...... The Quinta de Gomariz Alvarinho is a terrifically appealing wine from beginning to end, and it's not hard to see what appealed to the Ryans about this thrilling liquid..Thank you Declan Ryan for a fantastic tip, not to mention all the great loaves from Midleton and Mahon Point market.. .. .. .” 

Portugal mini-series

Part IV (Vinho Verde, Lisboa and Alentejano).

Part III (Alentejo) 

Part 11 (Douro, Dão, Alentejo and Setubal.)  

Part 1 (Minho) 

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Picpoul, queen grape in the coastal vineyards of Pinet in the Languedoc

Picpoul, queen grape in the coastal vineyards 

of Pinet in the Languedoc

Reine Juliette Picpoul de Pinet (AOP) 2021, 12.5%, 

€17.00 Bubble Brothers

Picpoul de Pinet comes from a small area (Pinet) in the Languedoc. It is very reliable and this Bubble Brothers import is one of the consistent ones. If you want something to go with your mussels or oysters, this is a banker.

It has a pale gold colour, is bright, with green highlights, in the glass. There are subtle aromatics, floral, citrus and exotic fruit. Impressively ample bodied, it is a pleaser on the palate, no shortage of citrus fruits and a touch of peach as well plus a refreshing minerality. Well balanced then with a dry finish with light saline notes.

The label suggest pairing with with shellfish, fish dishes, poultry and white meat. Bubbles Brothers also go with seafood and say that it is also an excellent aperitif - I’m can heartily agree with that as I’ve had a few of these Reine Juliette going back to 2010. Wine Folly tell us that the perfect pairing may be fried calamari. Serve at around 10 degrees.

By the way, Picpoul means ‘lip stinger’ but, please, don’t let that put you off. It has indeed no shortage of acidity but nothing extreme (no more than Albarino for instance) and it serves to emphasise the variety’s typical freshness and to help ensure balance.

Indeed, if you can’t get your hands on a Picpoul, then Albarino (or Alvarinho in Portugal) would be an excellent substitute (and vice versa). Other grapes that come close are Assyriko, Melon (the grape for Muscadet), Vinho Verde and Sicily’s Grillo.

Picpoul grows well in sandy soils and is nowadays to be found only in coastal vineyards, between Narbonne and  Montpellier, such as those in Pinet itself and the Etang de Thau (a very large lake with high salinity because of its closeness to the coast).


Wednesday, October 26, 2022

From the Rhone and Med. Two Outstanding Reds For You. Beaujolais Soirée at On The Pig's Back.

 From the Rhone and Med. 

Two Outstanding Reds For You.

Beaujolais Soirée at On The Pig's Back.

Famille Tari IGP Méditerranée Cadet de la Bégude (IGP Méditerranée) 2020, 14% ABV 

RRP €26.99 Neighbourhood Wines; Green Man Wines; Terroirs; The Corkscrew; Pinto Wines; Myles Creek;; MacCurtain Wine Cellar, Cork

This red is a blend of three grapes associated with the Mediterranean: Grenache 35%, Mourvèdre 35%, and Cinsault 30%. It is classed as a IGP Méditerranée, a wide-ranging appellation that covers most of Provence and more. Wine Searcher tells us that this Cadet de la Begude has been ratedas one of the top 5 IGP Mediterranée wines” even though it is also regarded “like a second wine for the estate”. 

Colour is mid to dark ruby. Aromas are quite intense, darker fruit, mostly cherry. And that cherry edge continues on the palate. The balances comes from a fresh acidity and you also get fine-grained tannins, plus a spicy finish. Very Highly Recommended.

I’m not the only one happy with it. The producers are ecstatic, if the almost poetic label is anything to go by: A noble terroir and the signature of the Tart family 7th generation of winegrowers, give birth to this valiant Cadet. A selection with a fragrance of freedom, respectful of its environment, carried by the Mistral wind and the light of the Mediterranean Sea.


Domaine de la Bégude was purchased in 1996 by seventh-generation winemaker Guillaume Tari, Once a stopover for travellers seeking shelter and sustenance – ‘beguda’ means ‘drink’ or ‘the place to drink’ in Provençal – the estate was abandoned and overgrown when Guillaume discovered it. He and his wife set about replanting the old terraces and restoring the buildings. Certified organic since 2006, the vineyards are located at 400m altitude above sea level at the highest point in the Bandol.

Guillaume’s focus now is on producing wines that truly reflect their origins. All the grapes are harvested manually, sorted twice, destemmed and fermented with natural yeasts. The Cadet rouge and rosé are an equal blend of Mourvèdre, Grenache and Cinsault and are produced from the youngest vines at the estate, which have an average age of 10 years. As the vines are not old enough, the range is classified as IGP Méditerranée instead of Bandol AOC.


Top Wines 2022. With Reviews & Irish Stockists. 


Maison Les Alexandrins Crozes-Hermitage Rouge (AOC) 2020, 13% ABV
RRP €34.99 Michael's Mount Merrion, Pinto Wines, McHugh’s Off Licence - Malahide Road,

“Of all the wines produced in France, none offer more excitingly spicy flavours than those of the Rhone Valley.”*

And that is where our wine comes from. Colour of this 100% Shiraz is a deep purple with a sustained bright hue. It is fragrant with ripe cherry, small red fruit and spicy of course! On the palate it is well-structured, juicy, intensely fruity, spicy also, and fresh, with a wonderful balance, finishing long with velvety tannins. Very Highly Recommended.

The fruit for the Domaine Les Alexandrins wines comes entirely from estate-owned vineyards in Saint Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage. The Crozes-Hermitage Rouge is aged in large 55 – 80 hectolitre wooden vats for 10 months, followed by six months in stainless steel, softening the tannins and maintaining freshness.

The label indicates that the soil here - pebbles* and clay - has been made for Syrah. "Aged in wood for 12 months, our Crozes-Hermitage can be enjoyed young but will also age wonderfully.”

Crozes-Hermitage is the largest of the Northern Rhône appellations, about ten times larger than the neighbouring Hermitage, whose famous hill spreads out behind the town of Tain l'Hermitage 

Both wines are produced from Syrah and, while there are many similarities between the adjacent appellations, Hermitage scores where it counts even if you have to be patient with it as it “needs to be laid down for five, ten, even twenty years to fully open up”. Only some vintages of Croze can be laid down for long periods.  

The writer Alexandre Dumas is the famous patron of Hermitage while the best Croze-Hermitage can come up with is a bandit called Mandrin. I suspect that many of you, like myself, are glad that the less expensive Croze-Hermitage usually represents much better value. After all, some of its best vineyards are situated just behind that famous hill. You don’t have to be a bandit to enjoy.

And speaking of taking things for free….

Pebbles, brought in by the river from Switzerland in the quad-centenary period, is a bit of a misnomer here as the generally flat stones are quite large. Winemakers have to keep an eye on them: “People steal them to finish a calade (stone path) or build a pool wall. They are stealing our terroir!” More here


* from French Wines by Robert Joseph.


Best Value Wines 2022. With Reviews & Irish Stockists. 


Friday, November 27, 2020

Cheers #202711. Clonakilty Distillery, Barry Fitzwilliam- Graham Norton, Blacks Brewery, Blackwater Distillery, Bubble Brothers


Cheers #202711 

Clonakilty Distillery, Barry Fitzwilliam- Graham Norton, Blacks Brewery, Blackwater Distillery, Bubble Brothers

Revival “You Thirsty?” IPA cask finish now available 

Our newest release of our limited-edition, US Brewery collaborations, is now available to purchase from our distillery shop and online store.

United by a shared passion for innovation Clonakilty Distillery and Revival Brewing, Rhode Island, have come together to release a bespoke whiskey.


Revival's ''You Thirsty?'' beer is part of the new era of North Eastern IPA's. With three times the hops, the beer imparts this whiskey some floral notes with a slightly bitter citrus finish.

Just what you need for that unquenchable thirst!


About the Whiskey:


Price: €85.00

Limited Release: 1,600 bottles in total, only 144 bottles kept for Ireland.

Best Enjoyed: With a tall glass of IPA!


Graham Norton
and Invivo are very excited to launch this Frizzante Rosé to add to Graham’s award-winning and expanding range of delicious still and sparkling wines, as well as GiN.
This new release is sustainably produced in Northern Italy by the same partners that make our white Graham Norton Prosecco and Frizzante. It is a blend of Glera and Pinot Noir and the winemakers are Graham Norton and Rob Cameron

Sweetly scented notes of tropical flowers and strawberry define the GN Sparkling Rose. Like its twin the white Prosecco, this blend is crisp yet delicately structured with a delicious strawberry drive through the perfectly balanced palate. Cin cin!

via Barry and Fitzwilliam

Blacks Announce Worlds End 2020

It's here at last Worlds end 2020 edition, and for the first time ever it's available in a 440ml can format!

A rich, dark luxurious Imperial Stout brewed with Fairtrade cacao husks and Madagascan vanilla pods, it’s like an adventure for your taste buds. Waves of chocolate, lactose, caramel and dried fruit will assault your senses. Next up is a touch of smoke and liquorice blended with coconut and coffee. The mouthfeel is full and creamy, balanced fantastically with a berry like acidity that keeps this beer juicy and super drinkable. 

Suitable for ageing but try to drink me before the end of the world!


Gift Sets From Blackwater Distillery
Just one of the suggestions from Blackwater Distillery. More here


We have three terrific wine deals for you this Black Friday weekend: one with three bottles, one with six, and a twelve-plus-one deluxe case at an amazing price.

Offers apply until midnight Monday 30th. Don't wait!

See the offers here