Showing posts with label Mary Pawle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mary Pawle. Show all posts

Monday, April 22, 2024

A true blend of the Dão! Casa de Mouraz Tinto (DAO) 2020

Casa de Mouraz Tinto (DAO) 2020, 13.5% ABV,
 Mary Pawle

A true blend of the Dão!

According to the label, there are no less than nine different grape varieties in this blend, coming from assorted vineyard plots of different ages, heights and exposures. A true blend of the Dão indeed.

The label for this 2020 vintage lists Touriga-Nacional, Tinta-Roriz, Alfrocheiro, Jaen, Rufete, Caramate, Trincadeira, Tinto Carvalho and Baga. The grapes for this excellent red come from several vineyards of Casa de Mouraz “some of which are mentioned in documents from the 16th century”. They were no doubt organic then and are organic now.

It has an intense red colour with a violet hue and the legs are in no hurry to clear even though 13.5% ABV is not over the top. The aromas, with ripe rich red fruits, are quite intense. It is smooth and spicy, with a lovely kick of acidity, and a lingering finish. A serious drop indeed and Very Highly Recommended.

All the grapes are co-fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel tank, followed by a long maceration. And 20% is aged for 8 or 9 months in used French oak barrels. Delicious with roast beef or barbecue, duck, rice and magre de canard. Also delightful with soft cheeses.

In 1997, Casa de Mouraz became the first biodynamic winery in the Dao. All went well until  October 2017. Late at night, their phone rang: Your warehouse is on fire! According to the excellent Foot Trodden, “savage forest fires.. had reached Dāo, thanks to Hurricane Ophelia…” Not only was the warehouse almost totally destroyed but the equipment around the yard and more than half of their 20 hectares of vines were also burned. A local news outlet put the cost at not less than €700,000.

Antonio and Sara were down. But not out. Helped by crowdfunding (from December 2017) they got back up and running and were soon producing this and other marvellous wines.

Monday, April 15, 2024

A delicious Vermentino by Domaine Bassac, a family estate of several generations standing

Domaine Bassac Le Vermentino de Grand Mur Parcelles Cotes de Thongue (IGT) 2021, 14% ABV

Mary Pawle Wines 

Domaine Bassac is a family estate of several generations standing

The colour of our organic Vermentino is quite a light straw, shimmering bright in the glass. Light fruity and herbal notes in the aromatics. Rich fruit flavours follow, citrus mostly with hints of tropical, and also the expected (but certainly not over the top) acidity that ensures balance. Best drunk when young, this dry and fruity wine should pair well with pasta, vegetarian dishes, poultry, lean fish, and also as an aperitif. 

Vermentino is generally associated with the Mediterranean, grown mostly in Italy (all over the country but most notably in Sardinia, check out Atzei, and Tuscany) and France (in Provence and the Languedoc-Roussillon) along with some excellent examples from Corsica where Le Bois Du Cerf  is well worth looking out for.

Our wine here, part of which has been barrel fermented, comes from the Côtes de Thongue in Languedoc-Roussillon. The vineyard is situated at Puisalicon, a small medieval village in the heart of the Languedoc not too far from Beziers, a town that rugby fans will be familiar with. Domaine Bassac is a family estate of several generations standing and much of its wine is exported. Pioneers in organic farming, current operators François Delhon (family member) and Jean-Philippe Léca have been doing it organically since 1987. 

Friday, March 29, 2024

This delicious red carries Vin De France on its label but is none the worse for that! Famille Hubert L’Atypic de Peybonhomme.

Famille Hubert L’Atypic de Peybonhomme (Vin de France) 2021, 12.5% ABV

About €22.00 retail. Stockists: Sonas in Newcastle West, Co. Limerick & Wunderkaffee in Cork along with Mary Pawle

The delicious L'Atypic carries Vin De France on its label but is none the worse for that! 

The Cabernet Franc and Malbec blend may be well regularly used in Argentina but not so much in Bordeaux. And so we get the name, “The Atypic”. This atypical blend also means that it doesn't qualify for AOC and so is sold under the Vin De France designation. None the worse for that!

The colour of this wine is a deep ruby. Aromas are fresh and fruity. And that follows through to the palate, delicious fruity juice (blackberry and cherry) with a pleasant peppery bite. It is well-rounded with soft tannins.

The blend is 60% Cabernet Franc (a grape noted for its freshness) and 40% Malbec. The percentages may not be the same in every vintage. Highly Recommended.

L’Atypic is organic and fermentation is with natural grape yeasts. They say it is bottled early to “keep all the freshness of the fruit”. L'Atypic is raised entirely in concrete (and bottled unfiltered so expect some natural sediment at the bottom of the bottle). Cultivation here, since 2000, follows biodynamic practice. Lots of "hands-on" work involved.

It is not recommended to accompany fish but is otherwise quite versatile at the table (including with Charcuterie platters and tapas) and very enjoyable at the barbecue. Serve slightly chilled at 17-18°C.

The winery itself can be found in the Premières Côtes de Blaye on the right bank overlooking the Gironde estuary. If, like many Irish people, you have holidayed in the Royan area, you may well be familiar with these Famille Hubert wines from Peybonhomme as the vineyard is just 75 minutes or so away.


Friday, March 22, 2024

A gorgeous Verdejo from the South. Robles Piedra Luenga Montilla - Moriles (DO)

Robles Piedra Luenga Verdejo Montilla - Moriles (DO), 2022, 13% ABV

Stockists: Mary Pawle Wines

A gorgeous Verdejo from the South.

This gorgeous Verdejo comes from the little-known Denominacion Montilla-Moriles in Andalucia (in the warm south of Spain). Limpid gold in the glass and with a fresh and fruity bouquet, light fennel notes too, rising towards your nose, this is quite a temptation. 

The attraction grows on the palate, intense and complex, a powerful bunch of flavours, raisins and other dried fruits in the melange and a touch of citrus.

Once gross lees are removed, the wine is aged on its fine lees with weekly “bâtonnage”. This provides, among other things, complexity, intensity, and persistence. Mild and juicy and balanced with a small kick of refreshing acidity, it is not easy to let this Verdejo from the South out of your sight.

The Robles family has been dedicated to wine-making in Montilla (Southern Spain) since 1927. In the late 1990s, “the third generation takes over the winery and understands the need to incorporate organic viticulture and work with indigenous yeasts into the tradition of the winery”.

Pairings recommended, mostly from Spanish sources, are:  excellent as an aperitif and as an accompaniment to fresh and complex dishes such as cod and orange salad. It can be served with seafood, trout and fish in general. It can also accompany fresh, lightly aged cheeses, and even slightly smoked ones, making brie-type cheeses especially pleasant. Serve at 7 to 9 degrees.

Very Highly Recommended.

The ecological care that the vineyard receives is vital, so important: “it is a nursery for yeasts and is ultimately responsible for our wines being able to express their identity: the faithful reflection of the soil and the grapes. The Verdejo grape adopts the identity of the Córdoba countryside.” And this example can be truly called a “Verdejo from the South”.

Verdejo is mainly grown in northwest Spain, in Castilla y León and particularly in the Denominación de Origen Rueda, which is just south of Valladolid.

Friday, March 1, 2024

A balanced, complex and elegant Douro red: Antonio Lopes Ribeiro Douro

Antonio Lopes Ribeiro Douro (DOC) 2020, 13.5% ABV,

RRP €25.00; stockists: Sonas, Newcastle West. Mary Pawle


A balanced, complex and elegant Douro red

The spectacular Douro region in Portugal (a World Heritage Site),  is well-known for its port and the area’s red still wines are produced from much the same grapes. This excellent Antonio Lopes Ribeiro includes Touriga-Franca (60%), Touriga-Nacional (10%), Tinta-Roriz (10%), Tinta-Barroca (10%) and Sousão (10%).

The name Antonio Lopes Ribeiro may be familiar to some readers as he co-owns Casa De Mouraz, a small natural wine estate based in the Dao region of Portugal, and “Antonio Lopes Ribeiro” is reserved for their wines from the Duoro and Vinho Verde. Some of their excellent Mouraz wines are also imported by Mary Pawle and are unmistakeable on the shelf as the labels feature the estate’s well-loved pets: Bolinha (Maltese dog), Chibu (goat) and Nina (cat).

Via Pixabay (by Andrew McLeod

Back to our Douro which is quite a dark ruby. Aromas are a heady mix of dark fruits (blackberry and cherry) along with some herbal notes. With more fruit and herbs on the palate, it is balanced, complex and elegant. Perfect all the way to the finish.

Very Highly Recommended. 

Check out  our Top Wines 2024 list (with stockists and short reviews) here 

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The grapes are grown on three vineyards in the Upper Duoro where the soil is mostly schist with some clay outcrops. On these slopes you see plenty of rock roses, thyme and rosemary flowers amongst the stones.

This unoaked beauty is well worth looking out for. The vineyard’s suggested pairings are kid or lamb as well as stewed veal (or cooked in the oven). Also goes well with white meat and game dishes or vegetarian dishes such as mushrooms. Over to you!

Thursday, February 8, 2024

DRINK OF THE WEEK. Vermut de Robles in a class of its own!


A vermouth in a class of its own

Bodegas Robles VRMT Vermut de Robles NV 15%

RRP: €32.00  (1 litre). Manning’s , Ballylickey// Toon’s Bridge Dairy// Good Food Store, Dublin//Wunderkaffee Farran and Connemara Hamper, Clifden. Mary Pawle Wines 

Bodegas Robles and Michelin-starred chef Paco Morales have certainly crafted a vermouth that is as complex and enticing as it is delicious. Combining the aromas and flavours of times past and present. And it is imported to Ireland by Mary Pawles wines. The base is Robles’ 8-year-old Oloroso, and then later a light touch of the PX is added.. 

Amazing aromas with strong hints of the Oloroso sherry base and a “top-up” of Pedro Ximenez, an appealing blend of freshness and maturity. The ten aromatic plants foraged in the locality have their say. An amazing liquid with a superb balance of sweetness and bitterness with the acidity playing a key role as the symphony of flavour plays on and on to the heavenly finalé.

Negroni. Image by eKokki from Pixabay

The aromatic plants add a sense of terroir, and also a burst of freshness and herbal complexity while other Paco additions such as clove and cinnamon echo the ancient cuisine of the Moorish Al-Andalus period (8th -15th century), all adding to the sense that this is indeed a special one. Step into the time capsule and take off!

The producers say it is “A good pairing for nuts, fruits such as orange or lemon, a cheese and raspberry cake., Any seafood and all kinds of fish: tuna, cod, salmon, anchovies., It's perfect with sweet flavors, especially those with more sweet and dark flavour., Olives, cheeses, ham, sausages, smoked meats, mussels, clams.”

It is certainly versatile. Enjoy on its own or with fresh orange juice and ice as an apéritif (try the same with Campari). It can also be used as a base for cocktails, such as the Negroni or the Manhattan. 

Image by 
Gerhard Bögner via Pixabay

Cocktails are one of the first things you think about when you have a vermouth on hand. But I have found that some don't do justice to the Robles creation. I felt I had to change the forever formula for the Negroni. And, after a few experiments, determined that VRMT (40ml), Campari (30ml) and Gin (20ml) worked best for me! 

The Manhattan, this based on the Rye and Malt (raised in Bourbon barrels) at Method and Madness, Irish Distillers' micro in Midleton, worked well with the regular recipe (though I did throw in a cap full of Campari as there were no bitters in the house!)

Get a bottle of the VRMT for yourself and enjoy the experimenting!

Friday, February 2, 2024

This organic and vegan-friendly Sangiovese is ideal for the table. And a refreshing red from Ventoux.

ERA Sangiovese Marche (IGT) 2020, 13% ABV

RRP: €14.60 Stockists include: Quay Co-Op Cork/ Olive Branch, Clonakilty/ Little Green Grocer, Kilkenny/ Mortons of Galway/ Sonas, Newcastlewest.

(Below: Refreshing red from Ventoux).

This organic and vegan-friendly wine is ideal for the table.

You’ll more than likely associate the grape Sangiovese with Italy’s Tuscany where they use it to produce the well-known, well-loved Chianti wine. Immediately to Tuscany’s east is another Italian region called Marche, pronounced Mar-Kay, which has the shores of the Adriatic Sea as its eastern border, and that the region is where this Sangiovese originates.

The aromas of our ERA wine are intense, ripe dark red fruit, floral and herbal notes too, and liquorice also. Flavours are just as bright and intense, full of those red and darker fruits, plus more than just a hint of spice. Tannins are more or less silky and there’s enough acidity to ensure harmony through to the lingering finish. 

An organic and vegan-friendly wine, it is ideal for the table. Try it with Broiled Marinated Pork Chop, Savoy cabbage, Fondant Potato and Mustard Sauce. Winery tips are stewed meat and aged cheeses while other suggestions include Fried chicken livers, Pappardelle pasta with a rabbit and porcini mushroom ragù,  spaghetti bolognese, lamb shank and steak Milanese, and Slow-roasted pork with white bean mash. 

Highly Recommended. Very well priced too, by the way. 


Charm and character in this Ventoux red by M. Jacques

Jacques Frelin Contreforts Du Delta Ventoux (AP) 2021, 14% ABV, Mary Pawle Wines

This organic red wine, another from Mary Pawle, is a blend of Grenache and Syrah, and comes rom the edges of the southern Rhône. 

The vineyard (soil consists of “Gravel and pebbles”) is under the gaze of Mount Ventoux, the mountain famous for its Mistral Wind and its long-lasting association with the Tour de France. I did climb it once myself - by car! The pebbles referred to above by the way are rather large flat stones.

The colour is a light garnet, a little lighter than you might expect by comparison to your regular Côtes du Rhone. The aromas have raspberry and strawberry notes, a bit on the jammy side, with a hint of spice.

It is immediately refreshing in the mouth, soft, supple and fruity, a really juicy blend and indeed one that may be served cool (not chilled though!). Very enjoyable and an easy-drinking style.

As the label promises, this expressive organic wine exudes charm and character. Well rounded and aromatic. Try with grilled lamb with thyme, or goats cheese with fresh figs. Serve at 18 degrees.

Highly Recommended.

Friday, January 26, 2024

A lovely Ferraton Côtes Du Rhone Villages “in the image of Provence”

A lovely Ferraton Côtes Du Rhone Villages

 “in the image of Provence”. 

A Rhone village

Ferraton Côtes Du Rhone Villages Bio (AP) 2021, 14% ABV

RRP: €18.99. Stockists: The Olive Branch in Clonakilty / Mary Pawle

Our Ferraton Côtes Du Rhone Villages comes “from a selection of the best terroirs of the southern Rhône valley. Mediterranean climate. Clay-limestone hillsides and terraces.”

The colour of this youngster is a deep ruby. The dark fruity aromas are laced with spicy notes. That spice is a factor also on the palate where the fruit invites you on - light and smooth, with soft tannins - it certainly has that second-glass appeal. Well-balanced and with a persistent finish, it is indeed a high-quality organic wine.

Very Highly Recommended.


Check my growing list of top wines for 2023


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It is the perfect accompaniment to red meats, mature cheeses and Mediterranean dishes. Really well-priced so no excuse not to get yourself a bottle and enjoy authentic Côtes du Rhône wine! It is elegant and not as robust as some and will also be ideal with duck breast, veal, lamb stews and hard or semi-hard cheeses. Versatile, isn't it?

As you know, most red wines from the Rhone are blends and the major players in this beauty are Grenache and Syrah. The label goes on the poetic side: “It is in the image of Provence: a mosaic of villages and landscapes which offer a unique, rich and inimitable whole.”

You’ll find the Ferraton headquarters in Hermitage in the Northern Rhone but the Côtes du Rhone appellation is spread across four departments in the Southern Rhone: Ardeche, Drôme, Gard and Vaucluse. Indeed, the vines for this one were raised not too far from the famous Pont du Gard and, like the lively people of that memorable area, the wines are not lacking in character.

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Another super Azul y Garanza Suelovivo, a Tinto from the "living soil"

Another super Azul y Garanza Suelovivo, a Tinto from the "living soil"

Azul y Garanza Suelovivo Tinto Wine of Spain 2022, 13% ABV

(Like its white "cousin", this Suelovivo is also available at Sonas of Newcastlewest)

Another wine, this time a red one (Tinto), from the living soil (suelo vivo) cared for by Azul y Garanza. The vineyards are located in the Bardenas Reales Natural Park in Navarra. A huge commitment to biodiversity leads to wines of pronounced purity and this blend, of Garnacha, Tempranillo and Garnacha Blanca, is another excellent example.

The colour is a light ruby, of the Gamay kind. Aromas are fresh and inviting, think strawberry and floral. The palate is full of uncomplicated fruit, light and lively, and very natural. If the weather is warm, you may even chill it (a little). Certified organic and easy to drink, it is well worth a try. Pairings recommended include tapas, casseroles, grilled meat and grilled veg. But first for me would be as an aperitif and then try one of the others, if you have any Suelovivo left!


Check my growing list of top wines for 2023


Check out my Good Value Wine List here


Another Highly Recommended gem from Azul v Garanza. Importer Mary Pawle knows this winery well and visited there this month. The harvest was in full swing still and there's quite a gathering for that.

 The winery, in Carcastillo, had been built in the 1940s but was closed down in the eighties. Azul y Garanza (Maria, Dani, and Fernando, a dynamic trio) bought it in 1999 and slowly converted the abandoned cooperative building into a fully operational winery.

“It has long, narrow cement tanks with small dimensions, ideal for gentle and delicate fermentations, like infusions, which translate into friendlier and more elegant wines. And having a great many small tanks instead of a few large ones allowed them to separate the grapes by variety and origin in that way preserves the highest quality must.”

That cricket on the label? In the vineyard, you can’t see the cricket, but you hear it.

You can’t see the soul of a living soil (Suelo Vivo), but you can feel it.

We enjoyed the white version a few weeks back. To save you clicking around, I've copied it below:

original post 09.10.2023

Beautiful organic wine from the living soil of the Azul y Garanza vineyards.

Colourful cricket!

Azul y Garanza Suelo Vivo blanco (Wine of Spain) 2022, 13% ABV.

RRP: c. €20.00. Stockists: Sonas NewcastlewestMary Pawle Wines

In the vineyard, you can’t see the cricket, but you hear it.

You can’t see the soul of a living soil (Suelo Vivo), but you can feel it.

That’s the line on the label of this delicious organic wine from Azul y Garanza. Colour is a light straw, quite hazy in the bottle and glass. Aromas are delicate, of the citrus kind, with hints of fennel in the background. Quite a complex palate, with peach, apricot, yellow plum and citrus in the mix, a very refreshing melange indeed.

Highly Recommended

A new wine, certified organic, but already getting praise: “fun summertime wine”, “perfect everyday wine”, “the fruit shines”, “a refreshing beast”, “soft yet generous”, and the beer accolade of “crushable”. You can't see the soul but you sure can taste the body!

It is a blend with 90% Garancha Blanca and 10% Moscatel. The vast majority of Garnacha Blanca (or Grenache Blanc) is grown in Spain (Herencia Altes a top choice) and France (look for Ferraton and Chapoutier). It can produce full-bodied wines that go well with bigger fish such as tuna.

The Azul y Garanza vineyards are located in the Bardenas Reales Natural Park in Navarra. A huge commitment to biodiversity in the vineyards leads to wines of pronounced purity. This particular example is a pure wine from a living soil (Suelo Vivo) that is in harmony with nature.