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

Monday, July 29, 2019

Two Gems from Classic French Regions


Two Gems from Classic French Regions

Chateau Vincens “Prestige” Cahors (AOC) 2013, 13%, €23.50 Vanilla Grape Kenmare

Recently, while reviewing a different bottle from this independent South of France producer, I remarked that while Argentina Malbec is popular, the expertise of centuries in Cahors has not suddenly vanished. My point, hardly original, is once again illustrated with this latest Chateau Vincens that I found on the ancient shelves (over 100 years old) of the Vanilla Grape wine and card shop in Henry Street, Kenmare. Alain was delighted that I picked this wine from his neck of the woods.

It is a blend of 80% Malbec and 20% Merlot and has been raised (70% of it) in oak casks. The producers recommended that their  award winning “well balanced wine, with the wood well integrated” be served at 17 to 18 degrees and paired with red meats and duck breasts.

In 1947, a few growers founded this cooperative in Parnac. Their goal was to revive the Malbec, the grape of Cahors. They succeeded and were still going strong a few years back when I called.
Colour is mid to dark ruby. Rich dark fruit on the nose, notes of liquorice too. On the palate it is plump and luscious, a hint of spice, great depth of flavour, smooth and elegant, and a cherry led acidity helps towards a very pleasing harmony, mellow tannins too playing a role in a long satisfying finish. Very Highly Recommended.

Cahors was famous for its “black wines” even before Bordeaux became established as a producing area. It has had its problems, including phylloxera in 1883-1885. There was a rebirth for Malbec with the founding of the Parnac Coop in 1947. But trouble again in February 1956 when frosts wiped out almost all the vineyards of the region, which thus needed to be replanted en masse. In this replanting, Malbec became more dominant than it had been before. Cahors was awarded AOC status in 1971. Most of the vineyards are planted close to the River Lot.

Parize Givry 1er Cru (AOC) “Champ Nalot” 2017, 13%, €28.30 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

This tempting and aromatic wine is a vibrant Givry gem. A subtle and warm wine that will go wonderfully with red meats, small game, and cheeses. Or on its own. This is Very Highly Recommended. Aged in 1-year old oak barrels, Le Caveau themselves are excited: “A brilliant Pinot Noir, very expressive…”

Mid ruby is the colour. Cherry and plum in the seductive aromas. Vivacious, absolutely delicious in the mouth. Smooth rounded red fruit, superb acidity, spices too, refined tannins and an excellent lingering finish. Not too much more to be said. Just go and buy one.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Cafe Paradiso. World Champion Farm-to-Plate


Cafe Paradiso. World Champion Farm-to-Plate
Aubergine parcels (Paradiso pic)

If I put my all too infrequent visits to Café Paradiso together, the common carrot would be the common thread. 

Maybe I shouldn’t say the common carrot as there is nothing common about the way the vegetable is treated here. You can get it in any state from raw baby (with leaves attached) to roasted as we did last Friday evening. Besides, these carrots come from Gort na Nain Farm and the long-standing combination of that farm and this leading Irish restaurant has seen Denis Cotter of Paradiso and Ultan Walsh of Gort na Nain win the Collaboration of the Year prize at the recent World Restaurant Awards in Paris.
Baby carrots (2013)

I think my first carrot experience on Lancaster Quay was  Baby Carrots with buttermilk yoghurt and the kombu. Last Friday’s was Roast carrots, Macroom buffalo mozzarella, burnt aubergine, honey, pickled fennel, ras-el-hanout crumb. Being a country boy, I’m partial to carrot, have grown and eaten a lot of them, but this was exceptional, soft and sweet and so well enhanced by the other bits and pieces.

That was one of our starters - we were sharing them as it’s a great way to extend the excellent experience here in this busy, buzzy room, a very popular place even before world recognition! 
Roast carrots (2019)

Our other opener was Kohlrabi, asparagus and daikon salad, pickled rhubarb and radish, lamb’s lettuce, black garlic, hazelnut, sheep’s milk labneh. An entirely different dish, more colourful, full of crunchy texture, one to crunch and savour each delicious biteful. Just as with the carrot, you can feel the freshness. 

These vegetables haven’t travelled far! Just from the farm in Nohoval - by the way, their vegetable stall was due to open this month. Check the Gort-na-Nain facebook for updates here.

Paradiso has a superb wine list. The lower end and the slow-moving higher end were chopped from the list about three years ago and what remains is packed with quality, great choices, between approximately thirty and fifty five euro a bottle. By the way, all the wines are available by the glass, by 250ml (quartino) and 500ml (mezzo) carafe and by the bottle.
Corn pancakes

We had started with the Domaine Séguinot Bordet Chablis 1er Cru 2016, bright and vivacious, harmonious from start to finish. And our second wine - we knew we had to have this even before we left home - was the superb Jean Foillard Morgon ‘Cote du Py’, 2016. This natural wine, intense and soft, from Beaujolais is one the very best expressions of the Gamay grape you are likely to come across. 
Kohlrabi


Corn pancakes of leek, parsnip and Dunmanus cheese (by Durrus), potato-wild garlic terrine, fennel-caper salsa, smoked tomato is a delightful main dish, very highly recommended if you get an opportunity to call in.

Again we were sharing and we both enjoyed the Aubergine parcels of spinach and Knockalara sheep’s cheese, miso gravy, walnut crumb, beluga lentils, broad beans, purple potato. Thought that the potato was beetroot at first - all those coloured vegetables nowadays makes it hard to keep up!

One of my friends, who travels widely in the hospitality industry, told me a few years back: "It is not alone the best vegetarian restaurant in Ireland, it is probably the best restaurant in Ireland”. I wonder has the Michelin man ever called to Lancaster Quay.


16 Lancaster Quay
Cork
Tel: +353 21 4277 939
Opening Hours: Monday - Saturday, 17:30 - 21.30

Monday, March 11, 2019

Le Caveau Tasting in the 'Hood. Port Shines in Old Apple Market


Le Caveau Tasting in the 'Hood.
Port Shines in Old Apple Market.

Chef Takashi Miyazaki (left) with Pascal Rossignol of Le Caveau in the Old Apple Market
Chris Forbes is a man on the move. Chris, export manager at The Fladgate Partnership, representing Port wines from Taylor Fladgate, Fonseca and Croft, spent close to six months on the road, on the train, and in the air, traversing the globe last year and expects this year to be much the same. Port keeps him on the move and he was in Cork last Thursday for the Le Caveau Portfolio Tasting in the Old Apple Market in Barrack Street.

The demand for the Portuguese wine - Port is a wine, a good one and a good value one too - may be surprising to some of us here. The fortified drink may be hundreds of years old but you’ll still find it in the best of places. Chris hosted a Boston dinner in January ($135 Per Person, not including tax and gratuity) and, at the recent Oscars, Taylor’s Ruby Port was used in a classic Paloma cocktail!


Nearer to home, I’ve come across the Taylor’s Chip Dry White Port (introduced in 1934, so a relative youngster) in cocktails at Cask and also in what is cheekily called an Irish G&T in a Wexford restaurant (Aldridge Lodge) where the port takes the place of the gin as they don’t have a spirits licence.

And it was with a sip of that Chip Dry that I started my amble around the many wines, most of them organic, many of them natural, at the very interesting portfolio tasting. It is delightful as an aperitif, may also be used, one to two, with tonic water, and of course in those cocktails.




Le Caveau are well-known for their excellent house wine range and quite a few were on display including the Cantina Tollo pair of Madregale and Ciello (check out their reds too) and also the Menade Verdejo. The Burgundy whites impressed, of course, the Ambroise, two by Larue (St Aubin 1er cru and Chassagne-Montrachet) and also the Bachey-Legros Puligny Montrachet.

On the Loire side, I very much liked the “Mademoiselle M” by Alexandre Bain and Sauvignon Blanc from Frantz Saumon, cheekily titled Vin de Frantz! Meyer-Fonné seldom disappoints and his Alsace Pinot Blanc Vieilles Vignes is a gem. Another beauty was the Rhone white by Dard et Ribo from Croze-Hermitage.



Stepped on the gas then and headed for Italy and the excellent Semplicemente, a 100% Cortese from the late Stefano Bellotti’s winery. I’ve been working my way through the Judith Beck wines from Austria and added another to my to-do list when I tasted her Koreaa. Further afield I recruited another three for my shortlist: the Iago Chinuri from Georgia, the Pebble Dew Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and the Radford Dale Chardonnay from South Africa.

Lots of lovely wines in the less expensive reds section including old friends like the Tour de Gendres “Le Classique” and Chateau de Cedre “Heritage de Cedre” from Bergerac. Also fancied the Antica Enotria Rosso from this bunch.

Then crossed the room and really struck it rich on the Burgundy shelf. Started well with the Ambroise Pinot Noir “Lettre d’Eloise” and moved up a notch with Bachey-Legros Santenay 1er cru. Thought it couldn’t get any better than the Regnaudot Maranges 1er cru “Fussieres. It didn’t but the Parize Givry 1er cru “Champ Nalot” matched it!



The three Beaujolais, including Foillard’s Morgan Classique, matched my high expectations and I found the Bornard Ploussard Point Barre very interesting and will have to explore it further and the same note was made about the Nicolas Reau Anjou Cabernet Franc “Pompois”.

Despite a recent tip from Jean-Frédéric Hugel during the recent Findlater Tasting in the Montenotte Hotel, I was still very much surprised by the Binner Pinot Noir “Beatrice” from Alsace. M. Hugel told me of a huge improvement in Alsace Pinot Noir over the past twenty years and this is another outstanding example. If I must ever chose just one wine for the desert island, this will certainly be on the shortlist. As Rex Pickett wrote in Sideways I "was vertiginously winched up to a more rarefied plateau".

Always worth keeping an eye on is Beauregard-Mirouze from Corbieres in the South of France for well made wines at attractive prices and their “Ciel de Sud” is certainly one. And, in the same category, check out Maule’s “Masieri Rosso” from Italy. Other Italians to note are the Foradori IGT Vigneti delle Dolomiti and the Ampeleia Coste Toscana IGT.


Spain didn’t disappoint either. The Peza do Rei Tinto Ribera Sacra is worth checking out and so too is the Alfred Maestro El Marciano Garnacha (just note the 15% abv!). The New Zealand Pebble Dew Pinot Noir hit the spot too, just like its Sauvignon Blanc earlier. I’m something of a Gamay fan but have never seen one as light-coloured as the Radford Dale “Thirst”. Interesting also was their Syrah “Nudity”. Just might be buying a bottle of each.

My finalé to a very pleasant couple of hours - we had some lovely local producer bites provided by Jack Crotty who has made this old building the base for Neighbourfood - was another drop of port and another chat with Chris. The finalé, sweet and conversation stopping delicious, was provided by the 2013 Late Bottled Vintage. I hadn’t had a drop of Port since Christmas and this reminded me in the nicest possible way of what I had been missing. If you’ve not been sipping Port lately, why not give it a try. It is just too good to leave out of your personal portfolio!



Port galore. Chris (right) with Colm (Le Caveau, Dublin)

You can get quite a lot of very interesting information on port here.
And you can see Chris on video here at the Californian Wine of the Month Club.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Flirty Nouveau’s on her way but here’s some Beaujolais that will stay around.


Flirty Nouveau’s on her way but here’s some Beaujolais that will stay.

I’ve known for a while now that the annual Nouveau affair is not meant to last very long. She’s certainly a palate pleaser, with "more of a floral bouquet" this year, and even those wine-merchants who talk her down during the year are all so eager to sing her praises while she’s on the premises. By all means enjoy the date. But, when the one-night stand is over, it will be time to take a look for a more long-lasting relationship with Beaujolais and I've got a few mature suggestions from my little black book!

Chateau du Chatelard Brouilly, Karwig €19.25
Karwig Wines have relied on Chateau du Chatelard for years now and I’ve always liked their Brouilly (19.25). There are ten Crus in Beaujolais and Brouilly is the largest. This bottle has concentrated aromas and flavours. It may throw a little sediment so no harm in decanting it. Enjoy and look forward to a longer acquaintance!
Jamie Goode gave a
Beaujolais masterclass in
Cork earlier this year.

Juliénas, Domaine de la Conseillère, €20.95, O’Brien’s
This is pretty much faultless: expressive fruity aromas, well rounded, ripe fruit, long finish.

Chateau des Jacques Moulin À Vent 2012, €28.00 Mitchell & Son
A challenging vintage from the best known cru. Vineyard owned by Louis Jadot since 1996. This is a Burgundian style, oak included, the colour is towards Pinot Noir. At a Louis Jadot tasting with Findlaters earlier in the year, I found it very approachable, fruit driven with a refreshing acidity. In Moulin à Vent, the Gamay grape thrives on the granite soil and this spends 12 months in barrel!

Domaine Jean Foillard Cote du Py, Morgon 2013, €34.20 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny
This, from the second largest of the crus, is a standout wine.

Colour is a light ruby. Look closer and you’ll see a little cloudiness - no worries, this is a natural wine. Aromas hint of red cherry, berries too. The palate is out on its own, red fruits and a little spice, that typical balancing acidity again, tannins are fine and then a superb finalé.

The fact that the vines are grown on “one of the best sites of the entire Beaujolais region”, on an extinct volcano, plus the use of minimum intervention (the use of oak is minimal), makes this a rather unique expression of the Gamay. You could well settle down with this single vineyard Beaujolais gem.

Dominique Morel Fleurie (AP) Vieilles Vignes 2015, €23.99 JJ O’Driscoll’s Cork, Manning’s Emporium Ballylickey, Wine Online, World Wide Wines

In Fleurie, 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.

Beaujolais rocks



Villa Ponciago Les Pierres Bleues Morgon 2016, Searson's 21.95

The fruit is grown on a mix of blue schist and ancient igneous type rocks. Complex aromas, excellent fruit, some grip, acidity too and a superb finish. Very very impressive. In 2016 and 2017, the quantity of wine produced in Beaujolais was down because of hail but the quality was up.





Saint Amour, Maison Jean Loron, Domaine Des Billards, Classic Drinks.

If your love is on the serious side rather than flirty, then this Saint Amour is the Beaujolais for you and him/her. Colour is a youthful ruby with aromas of small red fruits combined with a spicy note of chocolate is unveiled quickly. In the mouth, the attack is round and supple, then a pleasant and persistent. A beauty from the most northerly Cru. The 2017 edition earned 16.50 from 20 from Jancis Robinson.


Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Catalan Take-over at the Castle Cafe. Chef Sessions Number Four!


Catalan Take-over at the Castle Cafe
Chef Sessions Number Four!
Dessert

Every now and then the young chefs of the Market Lane group get a chance to shine. The latest came on Monday evening at the Castle Café at Blackrock Castle where, under guidance from Executive Chef Stephen Kehoe, Sara Movilla Cobo, Jose Emilio Escobar Garcia Prieto, Marc Montserrat Vila and Marc Oliveras Duran, cooked a Catalan meal for a full house.
The four have become a core part of the team at the group (which also includes a micro brewery and city restaurants Elbow Lane, ORSO and Market Lane itself) as a result of the excellent recruitment programme that the group has had with CETT (Campus de Turisme, Hoteleria i Gastronomia) University in Barcelona since 2017.

That full house included Market Lane’s Conrad Howard. He was excited as any of the guests as he welcomed us and looked forward to the evening, the fourth in what has become known as the Chef Sessions. Neither he nor we would be disappointed.
We got off to a good start with a glass of Kir. Soon the breads were on that table and soon we were trying them. The selection of Spanish and Irish breads were accompanied by some lovely butters, one featuring beetroot, another garlic and kale, the third mushrooms. And they went down well with a glass of the Elbow Lane red ale.
Black pudding, scallop
Next up was the Salmorejo, a cold tomato soup with olive oil. It was served with cured Spanish ham (on top) and a boiled egg (at bottom). Enjoyed that and also the Black pudding, scallop and pickled carrot tapa.
Eel and apple
There were no less than five “units” in the next serving session. The highlight for me was perhaps the Courgette cannelloni with Cashel Blue cheese, a beautiful combination. The most unusual was the Kokotxas al Pil Pil. Kokotxas is goats neck in garlic oil, with an emulsion of olive oil and garlic and basil.
Also included was a cube of Foie Eel Apple, layers of eel and thinly cut apple with a caramelised top; a Croqueta de L’avia (traditional); and a Seafood Paella.
Cannelloni

All the while, we were sipping our wine, two organic gems imported by Le Caveau. The red Almate has been described as “as outstanding within its type and style” and it certainly lived up to the Spanish Wine Lover description. The white, Château Beauregard Mirouze Campana blanc from Corbieres, was aromatic, elegant and with a long finish.
We were getting to the serious end of the evening now and our fish course was Hake with five sauces. I particularly liked it with the fennel. The meat was a well cooked piece of pigeon, served with pack choi and pear. 
Getting full now! But dessert was on the way and a nice one it was as you can see by the top photo. And then there was a selection of petit fours to sample: a Hazelnut Financier, Bailey’s Bombon, and a Panellet. The latter is  the traditional dessert of Catalunya. I think with all the delicious food displayed by the chefs at the Castle, a move to the north east of Spain would be no hardship at all. Meanwhile, we can all look out for the Spanish influence on the menus of the Market Lane group.




Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Out of Africa: A Wine and A Novel. “Inspiration” from the Rhone


Domaine de la Zouina Volubilia Rouge Classic Morocco (VDQS) 2012, 13.5%, €18.45 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

In 2001, two French golfers went to Morocco to play. A few stray shots later and they bought this estate. Gérard Gribelin (Chateau de Fieuzal) and Philippe Gervoson (Chateau Larrivet-Haut-Brion) knew their stuff, invested in their new 85 hectare vineyard and soon their Bordeaux experience was reaping rewards in Africa.

This Volubilia is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (50%), with Syrah, Mourvedre and Tempranillo and has a mid to dark cherry colour. Nose is fairly intense with cherry, blackcurrant, meat and smoke. Big supple palate, juicy and fruity and just a hint of soft tannins, a touch of spice also. A velvety soft red with a long dry finish. 

Volubilis, a partly excavated Berber and Roman settlement and an UNESCO heritage site, is 45 minutes away from the vineyard and in this series of wines you’ll also find a white, a rosé and a gris. And that gris featured in the 2017 novel There was a crooked man  by Irish writer Cat Hogan. Both the wine and the thriller are Highly Recommended.

Domaine de la Ville Rouge “Inspiration” Croze-Hermitage (AP) 2015, 13%, €22.95 

This gorgeous youngish Syrah is organically produced, matured 12 months in stainless steel (80%) and in oak (20%). Try it, they say, with poultry, red meats ad cheese. I had it with a fairly young cheddar and it was perfect.

It has quite a dark red robe. Plum and spice on the nose, rather ripe plums. Fresh and medium bodied, that plum is an assertive character on the concentrated palate, good acidity though, close to smooth tannins, approachable and easy-drinking, yet with a certain elegance. Young or not, this is a fairly serious wine and Very Highly Recommended. By the way, no guarantee that a glass of Inspiration will lead to a novel!