Showing posts with label Massaya. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Massaya. Show all posts

Thursday, November 29, 2018

CorkBilly’s Drinks Digest#2. Wines, Spirits and Beers. Pinot Noir a little off-colour? You need Rubired.

CorkBilly’s Drinks Digest
Wines, Spirits and Beers

Recent arrivals at Bubble Brothers
“In the last few weeks we've received wines from the grand cru champagne house of André Clouet, a sublime organic Nero d'Avola, a bold Spanish red from Toro and too many more to fit in here.” More info online. 

Christmas at The Franciscan Well
“We are gearing ourselves up for the Christmas holidays here in the Well! 

Once again we will be turning our award winning beer hall into a winter wonderland. Through out the month of December we will have live music, cocktails & hot drinks from the MONK cocktail bar (as well as a new seasonal menu ) and Christmas markets! 

The market will run on Saturday the 8th and Saturday the 15th of December from 1-6pm. They will be run by local artists who will be selling original handmade gifts such as hats, cards, ceramic pieces, wooden cheese boards and much more! Admission is free.” More info on their Facebook.

Christmas Gin Festival
The Revolution Bar, John Street, Waterford.
November 30th from 8.00pm
Check the bar’s facebook page for tickets.
“as with Harvest Festival we have invited some of the best Gin Companies in the Country to showcase their products for you. Your Ticket will entitle you to a lovely Gin Glass (to take home). 4 Gin & Tonics of you Choice. We will also have some nice Christmas drinks to try. ALL GIN COMPANIES WILL HAVE BOTTLES OF GIN FOR SALE FOR THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS PRESENT.”

Heart of Spain 1st birthday 8th December 

Lebanon’s Massaya 
I met Massaya’s Sami Ghosn in Cork a year years back, not long after he had returned from the US to help revive the family vineyards. You’d think the family would have enough on its plate with the uncertainties of the region without worrying about the future of the planet. But they do and they do something about it:

“For years now we have been treating our waste water, we have made our compost, recycled waste, encouraged our team to reduce their carbon footprints, given preference to local producers, chosen ingredients and material that were as natural as possible, planted our kitchen garden, planted bamboos to recycle water, prioritized organic treatments of vineyards, reduced to minimum the use of sulfur, oxygenated water for use in irrigation, and followed the moon calendar to filtrate and bottle our wines.” For more on the remarkable Massaya vineyard, read here   

The Rain in Spain. 
There was a late Late Harvest in Spain for 2018 following an early on in 2017. Ripening was delayed and picking times have turned out to be the major headache of the vintage. But it wasn’t the same all over the country. Terrific insight here  from Spanish Wine Lover with no less than eight stories from around the country.

Labels Battle as California winemaker used labels that carried the Oregon AVA. Then there’s the Rubired concentrate that gives Pinot Noir more colour!!

The Feds have stepped into the middle of a simmering battle over wine provenance by ordering a California winemaker to change labels that carried the Oregon AVA, even though the wines were made in Lodi. Read more here. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sami at Star Anise

Sami at Star Anise

Sami Ghosn wasn't taking much credit for the splendid set of wines he shared with a packed Star Anise at last night’s Wine Dinner, part of the 10th anniversary celebrations of the excellent Bridge Street restaurant.

Sami, Chairman and General Manager of the Massaya Company, based in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, said it was easy to make wine there. The local conditions, no rain from April to September, but still moisture in the soil from the snow melt in the nearby mountains, the same mountains that hold back the rain clouds, plus the blue sky luminosity (a major factor in promoting growth) and the soil itself, lead to grapes of outstanding quality. He maintained that ninety per cent of the work is done for the winemaker.

Still Massaya does have some work to do and does it well in this surprisingly small country, some 200 kilometres by 50. They can wait for the proper time to pick, citing this as a major difference between his wine and “supermarket wines” which are produced to a schedule. But, in Massaya, everything, including the picking for example, is done “at the optimum time”, the schedule being laid down by nature.

Our first bottle was the Massaya Blanc, a blend of Clairette, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and the indigenous Obeidi. This was fresh, elegant and well balanced, almost velvety on the palate.

Then it was reds all the way. First came the Classic Red, a blend of Cinsault (60%), Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. “This is very approachable”, he said. “The door opener to the Bekaa. Cinsault is the Southern Rhone grape and we have French partners working with us. It has good fruit and spice and is very versatile.” Just to underline that latter point, we enjoyed it with the monkfish course.

The Silver Red was another Rhone type, a bit more serious, maybe not as versatile. “But more classic. Goes well with lamb, which we have to-night”.

We finished with the Gold Reserve Red, a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Mourvedre and 10% Syrah. This is the top one. He advised dressing up for this serious bottle. “It has spent two years maturing in new French oak casks and will keep maturing nicely. It may need decanting and is to be enjoyed with red meat, chocolate and maybe a big cigar!”

It has 14.5% abv. “You are not supposed to sense the alcohol. ..if you is unbalanced.” No danger of that with this full-bodied gem. Tasting notes on all the wines are here.

The excellent wines proved a challenge to Star Anise but one they welcomed and met by providing a brilliant matching meal. Each course was top notch, almost impossible to pick one over the other but, if pressed, I’d go for the Monkfish and the exquisite Madeleines. But I really wouldn’t want to miss any of them. Well done to Virginie and her team and a big congrats to Conor and Virginie on their ten years in business. Long may they continue!


Gazpacho with Celery Cress and Goat’s Cheese crostini


Scallop tartare with Shaved Fennel, Chilli and Orange


Monkfish, wrapped in Prosciutto, with Romesco Sauce, Courgette, and Toasted Almonds


Canon of Lamb with Tabbouleh, Sweet Potato Puree & Pomegranate Yoghurt


Madeleines with lemon Curd and Strawberry Salsa


Tea & Coffee

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Happy Birthday Star Anise

 Happy Birthday and Joyeux anniversaire Star Anise

Time to say Happy Birthday or Joyeux anniversaire to Star Anise, one of the better restaurants in the city. Next month, Virginie and Conor celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Bridge Street venue and will do so in some style. And so can you.

Conor has just told me they plan to hold a wine dinner as part of the celebrations: “Can't believe it has been ten years in May. We are delighted to have Sami Ghosn all the way from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon coming to talk about his Winery Massaya Wines on Wednesday the 16th of next month.”

“I have been chasing him for over 2 years to come and do an event with me so I must say I'm delighted. He's a wonderful speaker and really great craic, so I reckon it should be a great night.”

The format for the night will be a 5 course dinner with matching wines and a sparkling wine reception for €65.

The wines we will be showing on the night are all from Massaya :

Massaya Silver Selection White

Massaya Classic Rouge

Massaya Silver Selection Red

Massaya Gold Reserve (pictured above)