Showing posts with label Findlaters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Findlaters. Show all posts

Monday, July 8, 2024


press release 




Forbes Street by Gareth Mullins is delighted to announce the next wine dinner in their exclusive series on Thursday, 25th July. This prestigious event will be run in association with Findlaters & Co. and will celebrate the heritage and craftsmanship of the Champagne house AYALA, an esteemed family-owned establishment founded in 1860 by Edmond de AYALA. Nestled in Aÿ, in the

Monday, October 16, 2023

This Celeste Tempranillo, from the highest vineyard in Ribera Del Duero, is that little bit closer to wine heaven

This Celeste Tempranillo, from the highest vineyard in Ribera Del Duero, is that little bit closer to vinous heaven

Pago Del Cielo Celeste Crianza Ribera Del Duero (DO) 2019, 14.5% ABV, €19.95 Bradleys.

Made with the Tinto Fino variety, Celeste has been aged in French and American oak barrels for 12 months in the winery at 895 meters of altitude.

Tinto Fino is the name by which Tempranillo is known in the Wine region of Ribera Del Duero, a region in which it gets some great results. This Celeste has the familiar yet fascinating dark cherry robe, with a lighter rim. Intense concentrated aromas are a mix of fruit (dark berries), plus a whiff of cocoa and spice. The fruit and spice you meet again in a light and velvety palate. The wine is surprisingly easy-drinking with an elegant and pleasing finish.

Very Highly Recommended.

The winery, owned by the Torres family, is well pleased: “Celeste Crianza is an opulent, fruit-filled, full-bodied wine with intense colour that possesses the freshness, passion, and intensity of a star-filled night. This wine is aged for 12 months in French and American oak barrels and 12 months in the bottle. The flagship wine from the Pago del Cielo winery is one of DO Ribera del Duero’s most internationally famous wines.”


Check my growing list of top wines for 2023


Check out my Good Value Wine List here


I mentioned the altitude of the winery in the opening sentence and there’s a good reason. Torres again: “In Ribera del Duero, the winery is located in Fompedraza at 895 metres above sea level, the highest elevation in the DO. This privileged location, with its spectacular landscape, boasts the ideal climate for making intensely aromatic red wines….it is one of the highest vineyards in the northern hemisphere, a high-altitude, complex land whose harsh climate produces exceptionally high-quality grapes.”

Given its smooth, silky tannins and fruit concentration, the wine pairs beautifully with all kinds of red meat, chorizo, and aged cheeses. Serve at 14–16ºC.

Pago Del Cielo, a Torres company, is a wine project that spans two privileged Spanish wine regions steeped in tradition, committed to quality, and with a deep passion for winemaking – Ribera del Duero and Rueda. Ribera del Duero is located in the Meseta Central or central plateau of the Iberian Peninsula.

Taking the opportunity here to repeat a few lines I used when reviewing the same company’s excellent Verdejo a few weeks back.

The more we care about the earth, the better our wine. That is the Torres motto that I first heard in 2015 and it was underlined in this Verdejo. So whether it is improving sustainability (turning vine cuttings into a source of energy), using solar panels or organic viticulture or their long-time commitment to fair trade, Torres contribute wherever they are, from Chile to California to Catalonia. The earth could do with more families, more companies like this.

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

The more we care about the earth, the better our wine. Torres talk the talk, walk the walk.


The more we care about the earth, the better our wine. Torres talk the talk, walk the walk.

Superb Tasting at Bradleys

Busy tasty for Findlater's Adrian McAleer (right)

In Dublin in 2015 Miguel Torres, one of the family’s fifth generation, tipped off a small attendance at a tasting in the Westbury about a new wine on the horizon:  “Penedes is our hometown and by the way, watch out for a new wine from here next year. It will be called Purgatori, not because we are sinners!”

Purgatori (29.95) is from a historic estate in the heart of Les Garrigues (Lleida)  and the wine was an unlisted bonus and the star of the excellent tasting, led by Findlater’s Adrian McAleer, in Bradleys, North Main Street, Cork, last week.

It is an intense, beautiful cherry red colour. Seductive floral (red rose) and fruit (black cherry jam) aroma with notes of spices (clove) and exquisite undertones characteristic of the Mediterranean terroir (pine, carob, dried fruits). Warm and nervy, with a finish that is more vibrant than long, this blend of Cariñena and Garnacha is smooth and so well balanced.

Four wines were listed for the Bradleys tasting and I had tasted three of those in that Dublin event, including our starter wine, the Celeste Verdejo (17.95). That grape is one of my favourite whites and this is a modern-style wine, fresh, and intensely aromatic. “The estate-owned vineyards, close to the river Duero, are handled with great care and respect in order to give this wine greater complexity and highlight the character of the variety from this particular zone in DO Rueda.” A very good start indeed!

And it kept getting better.  The second white was the Pazo Das Bruxas (19.95), an Albarino that pays homage to the folklore and landscape of Galicia (the Celtic Spain). It tells the tale of the Galician witches said to have gathered in the woods, which surrounded some pazos or manor houses, to conjure up spirits with their dances and spells. Nourished by their energy, the sap or lifeblood then coursed through the vines, in the same way the Albariño grapes give life to this wine today. 

Aromas are seductive, floral (honeysuckle) and fruit (lemon rind, tangerine). Silky and juicy on the palate with exquisitely elegant, fragrant fruit persistence. Long and intense with a little bit of Torres magic!

Michael Creedon (right, Bradleys) and Adrian McAleer (Findlaters)

On to the reds with the Celeste Crianza (19.95) from Ribera Del Duero with its fascinating deep, dark cherry red colour. Intense, concentrated aromas of black fruit (blueberry jam), revealing notes of ripe figs and an exquisite smoky, mineral (graphite) streak. Velvety and flavourful on the palate with noble, fine-grained tannins. Oak aging endows the wine with fine notes of spices (bitter cocoa) and toast (roasted coffee).

Celeste Crianza is an opulent, fruit-filled, full-bodied wine with intense colour. This wine is aged for 12 months in French and American oak barrels and 12 months in the bottle. The flagship wine from the Pago del Cielo winery is one of DO Ribera del Duero’s most internationally famous wines. The grape is Tinto Fino, better known to most of us in Ireland as Tempranillo.

In Dublin in 2015, Miguel spoke of how they were recovering or recuperating forgotten grapes, not always successfully. “We have recuperated ancient Catalan varieties, 38 in all. Not all are good but six are top quality, very well adapted to a hot and dry climate”. Torres are also experimenting with growing vines at higher levels.

One of the successes, called Moneu, was part of the blend that made up our final “regulation” red at Bradleys. The other varieties in the Clos Ancestral (21.95) are Tempranillo and Garnacha. A very impressive wine indeed, delicious and elegant, the finesse and versatility allow for a variety of pairings with medium-aged cheeses and charcuterie, lean cuts of meat like sirloin or rump steak, and fish in cream or butter-based sauces. Ideal serving temperature: 14–16C.

The more we care about the earth, the better our wine. That is the Torres motto that I first saw in Dublin in 2015 and it was also displayed in Bradleys. So whether it is improving sustainability (turning vine cuttings into a source of energy) or using solar panels or organic viticulture or their long-time commitment to fair trade, Torres contribute wherever they are, from Chile to California to Catalonia. The earth could do with more families, more companies like this.

Lovely evening for it!

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Memories of Paris return with this classy Pinot Noir from the Southern Cone.

Memories of Paris return with this classy Pinot Noir from the Southern Cone.

Cono Sur Ocio Pinot Noir DO Val de Casablanca Chile 2017, 14% ABV, €60.00 Bradleys

I have a little history with Conor Sur and Ocio, dating from a Friday night in November 2014:

The private boat trip on the Seine was a surprise. We started more or less at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, cruised under the bridges of Paris, the illuminated buildings adding to the magic. A lovely meal and Cono Sur wines enhanced the pleasure. The focus was very much on three reds that evening: the 20 Barrels Syrah and the 20 Barrels Cabernet Sauvignon and, perhaps (even then) my favourite, the Ocio Pinot Noir.

The day had started with the European final Bloggers Recipe cook-off in L’Atelier Beaubourg (close to the Pompidou) with Clare and myself representing Ireland, Anna for Sweden and Johanna for Finland. Some gentle bubbles to ease us into it - loved that Cono Sur rosé - and, with lots of friendly chats going on, there was no pressure.

When the winner was announced late that night on the boat we, the Ireland champions, were pipped for the trip to Chile by Finland. But we did have the most fabulous night in Paris. And we met the Chileans again in Dublin on the following Monday when there was more Ocio, though the focus then was mostly on the launch of their fantastic Silencio Cabernet Sauvignon.

Docking, but still rocking on the river.

Our Ocio, lovingly crafted by a Chilean winemaker and a Burgundian consultant, comes in a beautiful crimson robe, slightly lighter around the edges. Cono Sur’s iconic Pinot Noir has an arresting aromatic intensity expressing fresh notes of red berries, plum and cherries with a touch of spice and tobacco and hints of its 14 months in French oak. In the mouth, it feels velvety and elegant.  Acidity and balanced tannins play key roles in bringing it all together for a lengthy finish. 

This is one of those gorgeous wines that goes well beyond second glass appeal. Very Highly Recommended.

Ocio is a red wine that can be enjoyed slightly chilled, at 14°C. Enjoy it, Cono Sur say, with fresh salads, with red fruit sauces, soft cheeses such as brie, duck, tuna or preparations with mushrooms. We celebrated our 54th wedding anniversary recently and Ocio was the chosen wine and we paired it, quite successfully I thought, with the French dish Boeuf Bourguignon. Both the dish and the wine brought back happy memories of days and nights in La Belle France.

All aboard on the Seine

Cono Sur itself was born around the first Pinot Noir vines were planted in Chile, more specifically in Colchagua Valley. “In the 60s, the region was considered an area with a cool climate and suitable for variety. Being around the first vines inspired us to adopt Pinot Noir as our flagship variety and the goal of producing the best Chilean Pinot Noir was born.” 

Sunday, November 6, 2022

A Duo Of Excellent Whites From North-West Spain. Monterrei and Rias Baixas

 A Duo Of Excellent Whites From North-West Spain

Via Arxéntea Godello Y Treixadura Monterrei (DO) 2021, 13% ABV, €17.80 MacCurtain Wine Cellar

This is a Spanish white wine with a marked varietal character. Made with Godello and Treixadura, both native Galician varieties, to transmit those aromas and flavours that our land, climate and fruits are capable of producing. 

That’s part of the info on the label of this blend produced by Via Arxéntea in Monterrei in North West Spain.

It has a bright yellow colour and it is certainly aromatic, apple, peach (especially) and mango to the fore; notes of citrus also. The intensity is also evident on the palate where flavours are bold but balanced by an excellent acidity. There is a long and fruity aftertaste, with a faint sweet sensation never too far away. 

Serve at 8-11º degrees and pair with cooked fish, grill, seafood rice, squid a la plancha and vegetable dishes. Very Highly Recommended. 

The DO Monterrei is in the province of Ourense, close to the Portuguese border. Most of its wine is white and most of that is based on Godello (which is also called Verdello); other varieties of white grapes here are the autochthonous Doña Blanca  and Treixadura.

Godello is quite possibly the most scented of the newly fashionable white varieties in Spain’s far north-west, according to Grapes and Wines. “Almost extinct in the 1970s, it is now flourishing in Valdeorras.” Valdeorras is also in Ourense.

Early ripening Treixadura is one of the grapes that blends well with Godello. In Portugal, where it is called Tradajura, it adds crisp, citrus characters to Vinho Verde.

The MacCurtain Wine Cellar, owned by Trudy Ahern and Sean Gargano, is essentially a wine shop where you may select your purchases from a huge wall of wine. Don't worry though, you'll have lots of excellent advice, given with knowledge and a rare enthusiasm, not to mention charm. 

If you wish to drink on the premises, that is no problem in the evenings. And while wine is their priority, they also provide some very tasty small plates and sharing boards as well. Such a poremises is known as a Cave à Manger in France.

There is a the fantastic range, all organic, biodynamic or natural. I picked the Godello and Treixadura blend from Monterrei while Sean suggested the Celler del Roure Cullerot Blanco (toi feature in a later post!). He was very enthusiastic about this winemaker and about the future of wines from the Valencia area.


Almirante “Vanidade” Albariño Rias Baixas (DO) 2020, 

13% ABV,  €15.95 Bradleys.

Did you know that we Irish are the fourth largest importers of Albariño in the world? It comes from our Celtic cousins in Galicia, in Spain’s Rias Baixas region. It has all happened quickly and relatively recently.  

“It is a young industry,” said Lynne Coyle MW, one of our hosts at a Rias Baixas Tasting in L’Atitude during the summer. “In 1975 there were just 200 hectares of Albariño here, now there are over 4,000, lots of small holdings.

Val de Salnés is the main region. And it is from here and its granite soil that this wine by Vina Almirante comes. That ocean influence is evident in this dry crisp and elegant wine.

The Vanidade has a beautiful and inviting gold colour. Citrus and peach notes in the aromas. Those fruits also feature on the intensely flavoured palate, fresh and zesty, no shortage of acidity,  with a slightly salty tang, plus the starting fruit all the way through to a clean and refreshing finish.  

You don’t get many poor  examples of Albariño but this is outstanding and you are thinking straightaway of matching it with seafood and white fish. See for yourself why Albariño became so popular so quickly. Very Highly Recommended.

Vanidade translates as vanity. I’m very happy with this one and so too are the producers: “Very tasty, very good, wonderful. This is Vanidade, a wine of which we are particularly proud. Both because its organoleptic properties and tasting ratings, and because it’s a champion of cultural change in our time.”

Vain? Proud? Not you? Take a look at the producers site where they have a vanity test ready and waiting. Up for a bit of fun? Click here.”

Importers Findlaters tell us that Vina Almirante is one of the most important wineries in North West Spain. “Its properties are in the borough of Portas in the Caldas de Reis region situated in the northern part of Salnes Valley. These legendary vineyards, which extend over the 35 hectares, are treated with tender loving care and in keeping with state-of-the-art wine growing techniques. The wines.., are distinguished by the faithful reflection of a late autumn harvest, giving rise to a macerated wine endowed with brilliant notes of freshness, elegance and an intense flavour that’s sure to please even the most demanding of palates.”

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Top Families. Top Wines. From Torres and Hugel.

Top Families. Top Wines. 

From Torres and Hugel.

Torres, a Spanish family, dedicated to wine for five generations and the Hugel family, that started making wine in the Alsace in 1639, produced our two excellent wines today.

Torres Altos Ibéricos Rioja Crianza (DOC) 2018, 14% ABV

While Torres is synonymous with wine in Spain, it was only in 2005 that they first purchased land in Rioja. This wine, first produced in 2007, is 100% Tempranillo and has spent 12 months in French and American oak. It bears the red crianza sticker (see below).

Not surprisingly, it is regarded as a modern interpretation of Tempranillo. Its amicable aromas, intense and fragrant, draw you in, more so than its 20th century counterparts.

Yours truly with
Miguel Torres.

That “lighter touch” continues on the well-rounded palate, where soft red fruits and sweet spices combine smoothly with the effects of its time in oak. The finish is long with a light spicy aftertaste. Very Highly Recommended.

The Tempranillo grape is Spain’s top variety. Best known for its Rioja expressions but grown in many regions of the country. Older Tempranillo goes well with the likes of steaks and burgers while fresher styles like this are best matched with “baked pasta and other tomato based dishes” according to Wine Folly.

Rioja red wine stickers:

The green label (cosecha) indicates less than one year in oak, less than one in bottle.

The red label (crianza) indicates 1 year in oak, 1 in bottle.

The burgundy (reserva) indicates 1 year in oak, 2 in bottle.

The royal blue (gran reserva) indicates 2 years in oak, three years in bottle.

  • This Rioja was a gift. The wine, imported by Findlaters (as is the Gentil), is widely available, including at Bradleys, North Main Street, Cork for €14.95.



Top Wines 2022. With Reviews & Irish Stockists. 


Hugel Gentil Alsace (AOC) 2020, 13% ABV, €14.95 Bradleys.

Pale yellow with green tints is what you see in the glass. There are attractive aromas (including fruit, citrus and peaches, and floral elements). On the palate, it has a soft and supple feel, is full of flavour, dry and absolutely refreshing, with a great finalé. 

Lots of attractive features yet it is very versatile at the table, doesn’t overpower your food. Natalie MacClean recommends seared scallops, sushi, vegetables, herbed chicken, pork dishes, excellent too as an aperitif says our retailer Michael of Bradley’s. Very Highly Recommended.

Gentil is an Alsace tradition, made from all the white grapes of the estate. And it is done carefully, to a very high and controlled official standard.

It is Hugel’s only blend, dry and the ideal introduction to Alsace wines. It combines the elegance of Riesling, the richness of Pinot Gris, the fruitiness of Gewürztraminer and Muscat with the freshness of Pinot Blanc and Sylvaner. They are all here: “All the Alsace grapes in one glass”.

I’ve been very partial to Gentil in general for quite a few years now (the Hugel one is on sale in Bradley’s). I met Jean Frédéric Hugel in Cork a few years back and he told me it is their best seller. “It is produced from six different grapes. These are blended after the wine-making stage to balance it better. It is super versatile and works well by the glass in restaurants.” I thought that was interesting as I cannot recall seeing it offered around this area. Maybe there’s an opening there - it is delicious and, as Jean Frédéric said, super versatile.

Other Gentils available locally include Meyer-Fonné and Trimbach.

Hugel & Fils, founded in 1639 in picturesque Riquewihr, Alsace, France, is still 100% family owned and managed by the 12th consecutive generation of the family.

Alsace enjoyed a very good year in 2020, so much so that “No late harvest wines were produced due to the ‘too good’ sanitary conditions which forbid the development of botrytis. “A cool and long growing season gives this unique dry wine great finesse and unequalled drinkability.” And that is well confirmed by this bottle, by the way, closed with DIAM “the cork without the risk of cork taint”.

  • More here on DIAM closures.


Best Value Wines 2022. With Reviews & Irish Stockists. 


Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Beaujolais and Vouvray from Barton & Guestier

Beaujolais and Vouvray by Barton & Guestier

The company’s founder Thomas Barton left his native Ireland in the beginning of the 18th century and emigrated to Bordeaux when he was 30 years old. A true adventurer, he founded his wine shipping company in 1725. In 1802 Hugh Barton, his grandson and successor, teamed up with Daniel Guestier, a French trader to create Barton & Guestier, which is today the oldest wine merchant established in Bordeaux. With over three centuries of experience in the wine business, Barton & Guestier is the 1st French brand name known to millions of consumers worldwide.

From the Chartrons area in the center of Bordeaux, barrels and bottles were loaded on board of ships that sailed via the Garonne river to numerous countries, starting with Ireland, England, Holland and the USA to reach over 130 countries at present.

B&G releases wines from across France, produced in partnership with almost 150 winegrowers. It operates on a négociant basis and wines are made at various locations, and are overseen by B&G winemakers. They are very much hands on with their partner winemakers. B&G winemakers monitor all the steps of the process including pruning, harvesting, vinification, ageing, blending and bottling. Of course it has its own vineyards and makes its own wines, most notably at headquarters Chateau Magnol.

Geek Bits

Export to 130 countries;

Bottles exported annually: 16m

Over 150 partner winemakers;

Wines from 23 appellations;

From 20 grape types.

Barton & Guestier “Grand Bouquet” Gamay Beaujolais Villages (AC) 2020,

€16.95 (Findlaters are the importers, the wines are widely available including at Bradleys)

Colour of this Beaujolais Villages from Barton & Gustier is a mid ruby. Aromas are of ripe red fruit (cherry, wild strawberry) with hints of spice and violet in the background. It is also true to type on the palate, juicy and well structured, excellent acidity, those fruits flavours again, and a long finish with liquorice notes. Highly Recommended.

Serve at between 14 and 16 degrees and you’ll find it very versatile. The label recommends pairing with cold meats, grilled poultry and cheese, the winery goes for salads, cold meats, grilled poultry. Fine with steak too by the way. Wine Folly has “all manner of dishes from sweet and sour salmon to beef stroganoff or even sesame tempeh”, on its list.

Beaujolais is just south of Burgundy and the Gamay grape grows well on its decomposing pink granite soils. The crus share most of the granite and their wines (eg Morgan, Fleurie, Saint Amour) are normally best but Beaujolais Villages is often of a very good standard, as you may taste from this one. The fruit for our bottle is from Northern part of the Beaujolais region between Villefranche and Mâcon (about 35 minutes by car), more or less exactly where the crus are.

Barton & Guestier Les Petites Parcelles Vouvray (AC) 2019, 12%, 

€16.95 (Findlaters are the importers, the wines are widely available including at Bradleys)

Very light and bright yellow is the colour of this Vouvray; it is, of course, 100% Chenin Blanc. Delicate aromas of pear and apple as well as even more delicate floral notes. The palate, with fruity flavour (quince and pear), starts a little on the sweet side before finishing closer to dry and reasonably long. A refreshing wine and Highly Recommended.

The makers suggest it as an aperitif and pairing it with smoked fish, Asian dishes, creamy cheeses,  at a temperature between 8 and 10 C. By the way, Wine Folly endorse the Asian tip saying “you cannot failing pairing Chenin Blanc with Thai or Vietnamese cuisine”.

A vineyard in Vouvray (Clos d'Epinay)

The fruit comes from small plots (the parcelles of the name) located on the hillsides and plateau overlooking the Loire, long known as the royal river as the valley (and its chateaus) was a favourite of the royal family.

Quite a lot of Chenin Blanc its grown in Northern France (from Vouvray to Saumur) but South Africa (in Stellenbosch and Paarl) grows more than any other country with the French second and the USA third.