Showing posts with label Le Caveau Kilkenny. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Le Caveau Kilkenny. Show all posts

Monday, June 26, 2023

Varietal Verdejo has its challengers but this Casa Maria is a good one!

Varietal Verdejo has its challengers but this Casa Maria is a good one!

Cuatro Rayas Casa Maria Verdejo Vino De La Tierra De Castilla Y Leon 2019, 13% ABV

RRP €12.85. Le Caveau, 64 Wine, Greenman Wines, Bradleys Cork

The label tells us that this Verdejo wine is from a careful selection of the indigenous grape variety, and harvested when perfectly ripe.

The colour is an attractive pale yellow. Aromas are also pleasant, of apple and lime. And that combination, with herbal hints (the slightest whiff of fennel), also appears in the smooth and fresh palate, followed by a dry lingering finish. 

With its high acidity and a suggestion of bitterness, Verdejo makes an excellent food wine but is noted mostly for its compatibility with fish so pair this light-bodied wine with shellfish and fresh fish (importers Le Caveau suggest a simply grilled piece of fresh mackerel).  Should be excellent as well with the Fish Tacos that I've enjoyed from time to time in Cork’s Good Day Deli. The label also recommends it as an aperitif with olives.

Highly Recommended


Check out the Good Value Wine List here


Bodega Cuatro Rayas is the largest and arguably the most important producer of wines in the Rueda DO. Established in 1935, the cooperative has evolved to become a state-of-the-art winery, where the focus is to make quality wine, in an environmentally-friendly manner. 

Most of the world’s Verdejo is grown in Spain and most of that in Rueda. Nevertheless, its prominence in Rueda is being challenged by the international Sauvignon Blanc. Furthermore, Chardonnay and Viognier were added to the DO regulations in 2020. continues: Before this a generic Rueda DO still white wine had to feature at least 50 percent Verdejo. Now it must include the same minimum of Verdejo OR Sauvignon Blanc. 


Click here for our growing list of top wines for 2023


Sunday, January 8, 2023

Semplicemente Vino Bellotti Rosso. A Vibrant red. Simply the best!

Vino Bellotti Rosso. A vibrant red. Simply the best!

Semplicemente Vino Bellotti Rosso 2021, 13.5% ABV

RRP: €23.95. Stockists include 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny


Best Value Wines 2022 Under €18.00. With Reviews & Irish Stockists. 


The late Stefano Bellotti, the producer, described this as a frank and direct wine. “It doesn’t pretend to be anything that it’s not. It doesn’t get you into any trouble. Pasta’s best friend!”

This red blend, of mostly Barbera (c 80%) and Dolcetto, is mid to dark ruby in colour. Ripe red fruits in the aromas, herbal notes as well, even a hint of undergrowth (someone here mentioned dirty boots!). Vibrant and friendly on the palate, tart fruit flavours prominent. Fresh and juicy too with a spicy dry (very dry!) finish. A simple country wine to enjoy with charcuterie and or cheese, or just as an aperitif. Very enjoyable indeed and Highly Recommended. The white Semplicemente  is terrific too.

Cascina degli Ulivi, according to the website, is a family winery established on a farm. Stefano Bellotti was the person who ran it until he died in 2018. He is considered one of the fathers of biodynamics in Italy. He started making natural wines in 1977 and cultivated his vineyards following biodynamic principles since 1984. His daughter Ilaria took over the reins from her father and seeks to preserve and transmit his legacy. 

They suggest pairing the red with Rice (with meat), Roasts and as Aperitif; serve at 16 degrees. Beef filled ravioli would be another good pairing as would the Rigatoni with Ragu Napoletano (with six-hour braised beef) that they serve in Cork’s Bella Napoli.

Ragu Napoletano at Cork's Bella Napoli

Le Caveau are strong on this one: “The first sniff I took brought me back over ten years to a month spent in Piemonte where this kind of unpretentious, simple, but utterly delicious wine was served as a foil to the hearty and rich food of the Langhe hills……Quirky, authentic and a real vino per gli amici. Would be great to share over a plate of charcuterie, cheese and good prosciutto."


Top Wines 2022. With Reviews & Irish Stockists. 


Monday, September 13, 2021

Two hard to resist. A Gamay from Brouilly and a Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero.

Two hard to resist. A Gamay from Brouilly and a Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero.


Lapalu Vieilles Vignes Brouilly (AC) 2019, 13%

€30.95 64 Wine DublinBradley’s of CorkGreenman DublinLe Caveau Kilkenny

Mid ruby is the colour of this 100% Gamay from Brouilly in Beaujolais. It carries, more or less, the  expected aromas of the grape in the area: red berries and violets. And, on the palate, the fruit and acidity give quite a delicious complexity. Refreshing for sure right to the finish. Some of that complexity no doubts come from the fact that the wine stays at least a half year on its fine lees. I’m always pleased when I have a Beaujolais cru in my hand and particularly pleased with this one.  Very Highly Recommended.

The crus produce the flagship wines of Beaujolais and there are ten cru areas in all: Chiroubles, Saint Amour, Fleurie, Régnié, Brouilly, Cote de Brouilly, Juliénas, Chénas, Morgon and Moulin-à-Vent. Each cru will have its own flavour characteristics thanks to the differing soil profiles across the region. You won’t get the Brouilly minerality in every cru.  

A cru here can be a fairly serious to serious wine but that doesn’t preclude it from being light and refreshing, even easy-drinking! And, by the way, do feel free to cool this one a little before serving, just like they do in France!

Food pairings suggested include: charcuterie, paté, cheese, seafood paella, roast ham, pork chops, roast lamb, roast chicken, chicken tagine, and turkey and with spicy Asian dishes.

Le Caveau say: Brouilly Vieilles Vignes is the combination of two cuvées, one made by carbonic maceration, the other a traditional vinification with destemmed grapes, the cuvaison lasts for 10 to 20 days. The two cuvées are then assembled after their malolactic fermentation and spend the winter in stainless steel tanks. The dark red fruits on the nose and palate can’t disguise a probing minerality; if ever granite was translated into liquid this is the case.

Viña Fuentenarro “4 Mesas En Barrica” Ribera Del Duero (D0) 2018, 14% 

€16.95 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

Tempranillo, in many Irish people’s minds, is the grape of Rioja. And it is. But, since the end of the 20th century, the 300 plus bodegas of Ribera Del Duero are also laying a strong claim to the grape by making some excellent wines with it.

This deep red Fuentenarro (from a family owned winery) is a 100% Tempranillo. Traditional aromas of dark berry fruit, touch of spice. Big intro of fruit and spice, no shortage of acidity either, juicy yet dry. Powerful start eases smoothly down to  super-long finish. One to sip - a little goes a long way - and enjoy your long lunch or dinner as the sun goes down. Even if September (perhaps not this September!) is a little early in the year for it, the Fuentenarro is Very Highly Recommended. That it is well priced is a bonus.

Wine has been produced in this beautiful region since Roman times, though it became well known outside of Spain only in the 1990s. North west of Madrid and south west of Rioja, in the Castilla y León region, the vines grow on a flowing swathe of land that’s approximately 115 kms long and 35 kms wide. 

The vast majority (including Fuentenarro, near La Horra) grow in the province of Burgos but some too in Segovia, Soria (Antidoto, for example) and Valladolid.

Two related factors that make Ribera different are the average altitude of 850 metres and the big variations in summer between the heat of the day and the cool of the night. The heat promotes the ripening, the chill of the night preserves acidity. 

Monday, July 19, 2021

Something different from Alsace and Verona, both wines highly recommended.

Something different from Alsace and Verona, both wines highly recommended.

Vino Nato Disobbediente Monte Dall’Ora 2019 11.5% 

€24.45 (litre bottle) 64 Wine DublinBradley’s of CorkGreenman DublinLe Caveau Kilkenny

This blend, of pergola-trained 60% Corvinone & 40% Molinara, from the hills outside of Verona (think Valpolicella), has a quite light ruby red colour. Corvinone has been previously thought to be of the same group as Corvina but 1993 DNA profiling suggests that it is its own unique varietal.

Aromas here are both floral and fruity (strawberry, raspberry, cherry). The taste is along similar lines, relatively intense. On the palate also, you will find a lively acidity before a dry finish. A very pleasant wine indeed and Highly Recommended. It is a certified organic wine, clean and classy.

Not very much info on the “redacted” label, not even a vintage date! Pretty certain it is 2019 though and that is what is on my invoice. The wine’s name, Vino Nato Disobbediente, means Wine Born Disobedient. 

Two other words that survive on the front are resistente and contadino which Google translates as Hardy Farmer! And there’s a bit of sense to that as this type of wine, light and red (that can also take a little chilling), is made by the farmers for their own family use. And, another thing, it comes in a litre bottle. “A litre of pure joy!” According to importers Le Caveau; I willingly agree with that assessment.

The Venturinis, Alessandra and Carlo, have emphasized traditional and native grape varieties wherever possible to give originality and typicality. All the wines are blends of Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella, Molinara and Oseleta. Fermentation is spontaneous with indigenous yeasts and extraction is gentle giving wines of gentle, cherry-fruited elegance.

Christian Binner, Côtes d’AmourSchwir Alsace (AOP) 2013, 13.5% 

€28.95 (was 33.50) 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

This light, fruity and fresh blend of white grapes from the Alsace is a traditional selection of mainly Riesling and Pinot Gris with lesser inputs via Gewuztraminer, Muscat and Auxerrois blanc.

Colour is orange-y. It is an intensely aromatic wine, lots of fruit and floral notes also. No shortage of fruit either on the palate, “a fruit basket of apples, oranges, poached pears and grapes” according to importers Le Caveau. Balance is attained though. It finishes long and dry. If you do like to stray off the usual piste, this is well worth a try. Highly Recommended. 

Serve at less than 14 degrees; grilled fish is an excellent match.

Harvest is manual, all grapes pressed together, fermented with indigenous yeast. It is a medium body structured wine. Zero sulfur added, unfined, unfiltered, so you may see a little sediment as I did.

Côtes d’Amourschwir is a selection from the best vineyards on the Cotes d’Ammerschwir. It is a blend of Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewuztraminer, Muscat and Auxerrois. The grapes are blended from the press, fermentation takes place is large oak foudre that are over 100 years old.

The Binner family has owned vines in Alsace since 1770 and today they practice organic and biodynamic agriculture, neither fine nor filter the wine, use only natural yeasts, use minimal sulphur, etc... All the wines are aged in 100 year old big foudres and undergo malolactic fermentation. 

Monday, March 2, 2020

Gentil and Passetoutgrains: Two Less Usual Blends Worth Seeking Out

Gentil and Passetoutgrains:
 Two Less Usual Blends Worth Seeking Out

You find Gamay in Beaujolais, hectares of it. You also find Gamay in Burgundy; not just the village of the same name but also some Gamay grapes growing. It was once a main grape here but, in 1395, the local duke declared this “disloyal grape” was to be replaced, in the Côte D’Or, by Pinot Noir (source: The Finest Wines of Burgundy).

What little Gamay is nowadays grown here is blended with Pinot Noir to make what the above book terms “a refreshing gutsy wine to drink young”. This wine has an appellation of its own:  Passetoutgrains.

The influential wine writer, grower and importer, Kermit Lynch declares that Passetoutgrains is a word based on old local patois and generally meaning “toss it all in”. Gutsy and toss it all in might put you off but the bottle below has nothing rustic or rough about it at all. Au contraire!

Sometimes hyphenated to Passe-tout-grains , it must contain more than 30% Pinot Noir, more than 15% Gamay, and the proportion of other allowable grapes (Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris) must be less than 15%. Not too sure what the exact blend of our bottle is.

I am much more familiar with the Gentil blend from Alsace, an excellent white wine, and have enjoyed superb bottles from the likes of Hugel and Trimbach. Gentil started, about 100 years ago, as a kind of toss it all in white grape blend. Today, the name Gentil is reserved for AOC Alsace wines conforming to the standards of a blend of superior quality. 

This blend must be composed of a minimum of 50% Riesling, Muscat, Pinot Gris and/or Gewurztraminer, with the rest made up of Sylvaner, Chasselas and/or Pinot Blanc. Before blending, each varietal must be vinified separately and must officially qualify as AOC Alsace wine. Gentil must mention the vintage and may not be sold commercially until after quality control certification in bottle.
This Meyer-Fonné consists of Muscat, Pinot Blanc, Riesling and Gewurztraminer.

Meyer-Fonné Gentil Alsace (AOC) 2018, 12.5%, €18.00 

By coincidence, I’ve seen (on the Le Caveau website) that the Kermit Lynch mentioned previously is a major fan of Félix Meyer: “ … Félix Meyer still has humility, still has a sense of wonder, and is still capable of self-criticism. He is a seeker and a perfectionist. Quantities are limited because while he makes several different cuvées, the domaine has only eleven hectares of vines. He is a terroirist, and when he speaks of a granitic soil, the wine in your glass tastes of it.”

And this Gentil, a blend of Muscat, Pinot Blanc, Riesling and Gewurztraminer, is really excellent. Light straw colour, green tints. Quite aromatic, citrus to the fore, touch of ginger too. Fresh and bold on the palate, a passing kiss of sweetness. Quite complex really but it is engagingly fruity, spice in the mix too, excellent texture and a long dry finish. A gem at the price and Very Highly Recommended.  

Indeed, many Gentils are pretty well-priced and offer an attractive entry to the area’s wines and this entry level beauty enhances the confidence to go and seek out more wines from this Alsace estate which is run on biodynamic principles. Food pairings? The man himself: “It is a pleasure wine, multi-use from aperitif to meal with friends.” Santé!

Domaine Lacour Bourgogne Passetoutgrains (AOP) 2017, 12%, €16.95 

Domaine Lacour, with Fabrice and Antonin at the helm, can be found in Burgundy’s Côte de Beaune, about halfway between Meursault and the village of Gamay.

Here, the Lacour family blend Gamay and Pinot Noir, two of my favourite grapes. I was expecting good things. It turned out even better! Mid ruby colour. Beautiful aromas, mainly red fruits including strawberry. Light, smooth, gentle and elegant, it has rounded flavours, smooth tannins, and deliciously long finish. What’s not to like? Very Highly Recommended. Suggested Food pairings: BeefVealvenisonPoultry

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Six Christmas & New Year Wine Doubles!

Six Christmas & New Year Wine Doubles
In no particular order! 

(Click on the individual wines to see short reviews and Irish stockists.)

I      Gallina de Piel, `Ikigall` Penedès (DO) 2018, 11.5%, €20.99 Liberty Wine
Blackrock Cellar; Baggot Street Wines; McHugh’s Off Licence - Kilbarrack Rd; Bradley's, North Main St., Cork

           Gallina de Piel Mimetic Calatayud (DO) 2018, 14.5%, €20.99 Liberty Wine
Baggot Street Wines; Blackrock Cellar; McHugh’s Off Licence - Kilbarrack Rd; McHugh’s Off Licence - Malahide Road; Drink Store Ltd; Bradley's, North Main St., Cork;

II    Angiolino Maule, La Biancara, Masieri Bianco Veneto (IGT) 2017, 11.5%,               €18.85;  64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny
       Angiolino Maule, La Biancara, Masieri Rosso Veneto (IGT) 2018,  14.0%,               €22.25; as above

III   Diwald Grüner Veltliner “Goldberg” Wagram (Austria) 2015, 13%, €20.75             Mary Pawle
          Domaine de la Bonne Tonne Morgon (AOC) “Cote du Py” 2015,                14%, €28.75 Mary Pawle

IV   De Alberto Organic Verdejo Rueda (DO) 13.5%, O’Brien’s
           De Martino “Gallardia” Cinsault Itata (DO) 2017 , O'Brien's

V    Lo Abarca Riesling 2017 €12.00 Marks & Spencer
       Chateau Vincens “Prestige” Cahors (AOC) 2013, 13%, €23.50 Vanilla                        Grape Kenmare

VI    Castellani Vermentino Toscana (IGT) 2017 €10.00 SuperValu
           Campo Viejo Garnacha Rioja (AOC) 2017 €10.50 SuperValu

Click on the individual wines to see reviews and Irish stockists.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

A Very Good Year. A Short List To Savour. Top Red and White Named. Plus A Top Vineyard

A Very Good Year. Short List To Savour
Top Red and White Named. Plus A Top Vineyard
The folks behind Bonne Tonne in Beaujolais, my "discovery" of the year via Mary Pawle!

It's been quite a year on the wine front. Pick one red and one white was the order, a hard one, even if self-imposed. Here we go. The top red is the Binner Pinot Noir from Alsace while the nod for the white goes to the Cullen Amber from Australia's Margaret River. Both are picked from the short lists below. The long list for reds totalled 42, while for whites it came to a more manageable 16. You may see them here. The short lists below may help you make up your mind when shopping for wine in the lead up to Christmas and indeed well into 2020. Perhaps the vineyard discovery of the year came when Mary Pawle imported the stunning wines of Domaine de la Bonne Tonne in Beaujolais.


Binner Cuvée Béatrice Pinot Noir Alsace (AOP) 2016
Château Peybonhomme-Les-Tours “Energies” Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux (AOP) 2016
Nicolas Reau “Pompois” Anjou (AOC) 2015
Domaine de la Bonne Tonne Morgon (AOC) “Grands-Cras” 2017
Domaine de la Bonne Tonne Morgon (AOC) “Les Charmes” 2017
Domaine de la Bonne Tonne Morgon (AOC) “Cote du Py” 2015
Chateau Mayne-Vieil Fronsac (AOC) 2015
Chateau de Bastet Terram,  Côtes du Rhone (AOC) 2014
Alfredo Maestro “El Marciano”, Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Leon, 2017
Gallina de Piel Mimetic Calatayud (DO) 2018
Tandem “Inmune” Valle de Yerri, Navarra, 2017

Angiolino Maule, La Biancara, Masieri Rosso Veneto (IGT) 2018
Symington Altano Vinho Tinto Douro (DOC) 2018
Willunga 100 Grenache McLaren Vale 2016
Astrolabe Province Pinot Noir Marlborough (NZ) 2015,
Bodegas Caro Amancaya Reserva Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon (Argentina) 2017
Casa de Uco El Salvaje Malbec Los Chacayes (IG) 2016
De Martino “Gallardia” Cinsault Itata (DO) 2017 



Cullen Wilyabrup Margaret River “Amber” 2017
Château du Coing de Saint Fiacre L’Ancestrale Cru Communal Muscadet Sèvre et Maine 2010,
De Alberto Organic Verdejo Rueda (DO) 
Gallina de Piel, `Ikigall` Penedès (DO) 2018

Bodegas Pinuaga Bianco, Vino de la Tierra Castilla 2018
Angiolino Maule, La Biancara, Masieri Bianco Veneto (IGT) 2017
Beck Chardonnay 2016, Burgenland Austria
Lo Abarca Riesling 2017
Chateau Ste Michelle Columbia Valley (Washington, USA) Dry Riesling 2016,

Bodegas Tandem Rós Rosado Navarra (DO) 2018


Mount Horrocks Cordon Cut Riesling Clare Valley 2018

Thursday, November 21, 2019

A Sterling Trio From Europe. Red Wines to Enjoy.

Chateau Mayne-Vieil Fronsac (AOC) 2015, 14%, 
€19.35 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

Fronsac doesn’t immediately spring to mind when you think of Bordeaux but this is a Grand Vin de Bordeaux.

Colour is a dark ruby. Rich aromas, mainly ripe plums, touch of spice, vanilla. Palate is supple and deep, packed with rich flavours, spice and oak again, a juicy acidity and smooth tannins bring it all to a long finish. Quite a bit of character to this one, drinking well now and Very Highly Recommended. Pair it with red meat, game, and cheeses.

Tried the chateau’s website but backed off when I got a warning about bad bugs. From what I can gather, the blend is 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, though some years it may be all Merlot.

Fronsac red wines are based on Merlot, produced in an area in the east of the Bordeaux wine region. It is located close to the northern bank of the Dordogne river, just a few miles to the west of Libourne – the town that gives its name to the Libournais region. Saint-Émilion and Pomerol lie to the east of the town. And Fronsac (this bottle included) offers an affordable alternative to its better known neighbours.

Antica Enotria Puglia (IGT) 2017, 12.5%,  
Suddenly, you realize that you can't keep exploiting, poisoning and pushing because whatever you do to the land, you do to yourself. The same fate. And you then you begin to respect. Respect for yourself and your land, for time and for life.
These are the words of winemaker Raffaele di Tuccio, echoing the experience of Spanish winemaker Miguel Torres: The more we care about the earth, the better our wine. Raffaele’s family winery Antica Enotria is in Puglia and is part of the Italian Organic Wine Route.
This red (rosso) blend is mainly Nero di Troia with the better known Sangiovese and Montepulciano. Colour is a mid ruby. Reasonably intense aromas show red fruit and floral notes. Very refreshing for a red from this hot region, no shortage of acidity, good fruit (dark berries) too and a little spice, almost smooth tannins. Lively and light with a soft texture, yet with a strong character, this Highly Recommended wine also finishes well.

Alfredo Maestro Viña Almate Vino de la Terra de Castilla y Leon 2018, 14.5%
€15.45 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

Importers Le Caveau trumpet this as: ““A stellar addition to our portfolio.” 

It is 100% Tempranillo from 2018 and, in Spain, young wines such as this are generally called joven.  It has spent four months in neutral French oak, is unfined, unfiltered, and with very low S02. A great one to pair with grilled and roasted meats. No big amount of sediment here but decanting often helps a young wine express itself better.

This Very Highly Recommended dark red wine has rather intense aromas of dark plums and cherries. On the generous palate it has an engaging liveliness not to mention strong fresh flavours and a touch of spice enhances the engaging experience right through to the lengthy finish where you’ll notice the tannins drying your lips.  Another well-made wine from the man "known as the 'magician of the Duero’, a prominent exponent of the natural wine movement in Spain.

The Tempranillo grapes for this wine are grown in Peñafiel in Ribera del Duero but, according to Spanish Wine Lover, it has always been sold as VT Castilla y León. This is Alfredo’s flagship wine and Spanish Wine Lover rates it “as outstanding within its type and style”.