Showing posts with label O'Brien's Wine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label O'Brien's Wine. Show all posts

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Enjoyable Lifeboat Inn Wine Dinner. Fabulous Food. Superb Wines. Best of Company!


Enjoyable Lifeboat Inn Wine Dinner
Fabulous Food. Superb Wines. Best of Company.
Monkfish and Ripasso de Valpolicella 

I think many of the customers at last week’s superb Rizzardi wine dinner in Courtmacsherry’s Lifeboat Inn had Amarone on their minds. And when the 3CRU 2013 came, it didn’t disappoint. It was introduced, like all the previous wines, by Giuseppe Rizzardi and he gave us a few tips.

“Don’t decant,” he said. “By all means, open it a few hours in advance but don’t decant! Also, don’t serve it too warm. It is our most prestigious wine. Amarone is not a grape, not a region, it is a method, a process. The grapes are picked and then put into boxes that hold 4 to 5 kgs. Some 15,000 to 18,000 boxes are left to dry out in a large room in a method known as appassimento. It takes 2 to 3 months and you end up with less fruit but with more concentrated tannins, more colour, more sugar. It then spends two years in barrel.”

The Rizzardi version, a 2013, was excellent and fantastic match with the Beef Cheek and the pairing was heartily endorsed by the winemaker. But Giuseppe told us that not all Amarones are the same. “Too often is it very sweet and that sweetness covers the lack of other qualities.”

Giuseppi, enjoyed the craic
in Courtmac
Giuseppe is quite familiar with Ireland and did a few summer jobs here in the 1990s and of course he's a regular visitor now to O'Brien's Wine, his distributors here. On arrival the guests were treated to a glass of Rizzardi Prosecco, the famous sparkling wine made from the Glera grape. “This one is smooth and dry, with a little bit bit of character.” He told us they use it as a base for cocktails, “especially Bellini.”

The Italian enjoyed the food and was intrigued by the local Mozzarella in our starter. Pinot Grigio is quite a well-known Italian white and we started our meal with that. “It is not barrel aged, is quite light, made with fruit from the region of Soave. It’s ideal as an aperitif and will go well with soups.” And it went very well indeed with our delicious opener.

Indeed Giuseppe, like the rest of us, was every impressed with the starer, surprised to hear that the cheese was locally sourced “very interesting texture, very impressed”. He told us that a lot of Soave, our next wine, is made but much of it is just for everyday. Theirs comes from a beautiful fortified village in the Classico area and the Gargenega vines are grown on volcanic soil. “Again it is unoaked, a little bit of Chardonnay is blended in.” And he advised against serving this too cold. “You get more flavour as the temperature goes up.” It was paired with the scallops, local and absolutely superb.

So don’t serve the Amarone too warm, don’t serve the Soave too cool. What next? Well a red wine with fish! And the Roast Monkfish paired with the 2013 Ripasso de Valpolicella was a match made in a Courtmacsherry heaven. Again, Ripasso is a method with the grapes “refermented on the skins of the Amarone and then 12 months in big barrels”. “This is a red wine that can be poured cool, at about 14 degrees,” he advised. “Great freshness and acidity and it provides a link between simple Valpolicella and Amarone.” 

And it did indeed go very well with that splendid Monkfish dish. Front of house here is David O’Halloran and he had been giving us some extra details on the dishes. He told us it was a “purposeful decision” to pair the Ripasso and the Monkfish “to show that fish and red wine will go together”. Referring to the Amarone he said that here, in a reversal of the norm, they picked the food to go with the wine, not the other way round. Chef Martin Buckley got out later on and thanked Giuseppe, saying “it was special to have him here tonight”. 

And there was another surprise when it came to the dessert, an excellent chocolate offering as the wine was, believe it or not, a Merlot, the 2016 Clos Roareti. An unusual choice. And an unusual project, according to Giuseppe, that began in 1999 in a region near Verona where there was no Merlot. But they succeeded and produced their first bottles in 2006. “Now (we were drinking the 2016) the vines have matured, there is a good richness and concentration but not too much. It has spent 12 months in barrel and this 2016 is still a baby. Production is limited and the bottles are individually numbered.”

The Menu
Heritage Tomato, Macroom Mozzarella, Hazelnut, Balsamic Dressing
Pinot Grigio 2018

West Cork Scallops, Parsnip, Gubbeen Chorizo, Blood orange
Soave DOP Classico 2016

Roast Monkfish, Risotto Nero, Parma Ham, Confit Tomato
Valpolicella Ripasso 2013

Haulie’s Beef Cheek, potato, Wild Garlic, Grilled Sprouting Broccoli and Carrot
3CRU Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2013

Guinness and Chocolate Cake, Salted Caramel Ice Cream
Clos Roareti Rosso Veronese (IGT) 2016
The Lifeboat Inn
Courtmacsherry
Co. Cork.
For more on the Rizzardi wines, please check the O'Brien website

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

CorkBilly’s Drinks Digest. Wines, Spirits and Beers Events


CorkBilly’s Drinks Digest
Wines, Spirits and Beers Events

Silver Spear Gin Tasting at The Woodford. Date has been changed and is not on this Friday.



West Kerry Take Over Bierhaus Taps

It’s time to get shouting about @CorkAleTrail 1st monthly event next Saturday16/02  7.30pm  @BierhausCork with @westkerrybeer #taptakeover #meetthebtewer 5 Beers pouring! @GrandCruBeers @Cadastrophe @bradleys_offlic @HouseAbbot @FranWellBrewPub @the_friary_bar #CAT


Meet the Alternatives - Wine Tasting
by Woodberrys 3 Middle Street Mews
Middle Street
Galway
Thu, 21 February 2019
17:00 – 19:00 GMT
We have selected 12 wines we think every adventurous wine lover must try! These are wines that you will love but may have overlooked when buying a bottle of your favourite Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio or Malbec! Call in a try these wines your guaranteed to find one you like.
THIS IS A FREE INFORMAL TASTING.
PARTICIPANTS MUST BE OVER 18. ID MAYBE REQUIRED
Book here


New consumer website for Australian wine. Packed with info.
The new consumer website will engage consumers with rich content that is educational and user-friendly. It highlights Australia’s 65 premium wine regions with winemaker profiles, stories, regional events and insights into some of Australia’s most popular wine varieties.
Content will be updated regularly and a simplified Chinese version will be published shortly.
Visit www.australianwine.com to explore this new resource for global consumers.

Wine Academy Weekend at Sheen Falls


Gallery Westport A Special Event!


The Cork Wine School Spring Dates


Valentine’s Night at The Rising Sons

Our beer & food pairings have always been popular with you rising sons and daughters and for this reason we're showing some love this Valentine's Day. Introducing our Beer and Dessert pairing - a guided tasting of our award-winning beer and a selection of sweet delights made in-house, paired perfectly for your Valentine night. All for the sweet price of €10.
Thursday, February 14, 2019 at 7 PM – 10 PM

Spanish Wine Week 
ICEX Spain Exports and Investments and the Economic and Commercial Office of the Embassy of Spain in Dublin organize the IV edition of the SPANISH WINE WEEK (SWW), the biggest Spanish wine promotion event that takes place in Ireland between the 8th and the 14th of April. The main objective of the actions organized in the framework of that week and simultaneously in various cities in Ireland, is to give the greatest possible visibility to Spanish wines and their different regions, in addition to showing their diversity and high quality.

The different activities organized include tastings, dinner paired, discounts on the purchase of wine and promotions in stores and media, as well as raffles in the press and social networks. This aims to give the public the opportunity to taste a wide variety of wines through different experiences, while encouraging the consumption and purchase of Spanish wine throughout the week, precisely because of the offers and discounts offered by the stores , bars and restaurants.

The Cork Beer Mile with CAT
https://www.facebook.com/events/2177699485814114/ 
Thursday, February 21, 2019 at 6:30 PM – 11:30 PM
Get your walking shoes on and join us on a walk around Cork's must prestigious craft beer bars! 

This time we're in cahoots with two outstanding Irish breweries DOT Brew & Larkin's Brewing Company! More details to be announced soon! Who are the lads? 
​Dot :
Dot Brew is a gypsy micro brewery brand with roots strongly cultivated in Dublin 8. Specialising in uniquely designed barrel aged and blended beers for an evolving Irish and International palette. Dot adopts maturation and blending techniques from the Whiskey and Wine industries and applying them to break the boundaries of beer production. Dot has been rated one of the top 10 Irish brewers by Untappd users for 2018. (Placed 6th) 
Larkins :
Launched in 2018 after dipping their toes into the brewing market at the RDS Irish Craft Beer Festival the previous year, Larkins has already been rated one of the top 5 Irish brewers by Untappd users for 2018. (Placed 3rd) An independently family owned  brewery based in County Wicklow, Larkins set their focus on making lager style beers as good as they can be along with working on other styles of beers from IPA’s , Saisons to Pale Ales. 



Gin Tasting!!
Friday, March 1, 2019 at 7 PM – 9:15 PM

Sol y Sombra Tapas Bar & RestaurantOld Church of Ireland, Lower Bridge Street, Killorglin 6
see pic downloads..
On the night, we will present a selection of 6 superior gins, a selection of premium tonics and explore the different herbs and botanical's used in the distilling process of creating craft gins.  Info here https://www.facebook.com/events/236122720613873/ 

A welcome G&T will be served at 7.15 pm to allow the group to mingle before the tasting, the tastings itself will begin at 7:30 pm (sharp) in the upstairs Mezzanine.

You also have the option to have a meal if you so wish before or after the tastings.

We will be sampling lovely gins, its will be a unique night you won't want to miss

Tickets are €25 plus booking fees they are available through www.ticketstop.ie

There are only 24 spaces available so book early to avoid disappointment!












  


Monday, February 4, 2019

Two Long-distance Crackers via O'Brien Wines



The province of Marlborough has long been recognised as ideal for the growing of Pinot Noir and here winemaker Simon Waghorn takes full advantage of the local advantages: leafy vineyards, ripe fruit and cool climate growing. 

“Almost Burgundian Pinot Noir” I read. Why not full Marlborough Pinot Noir? For this is what it is, as it sings its way “across the palate and lingers beautifully”. Conductor Waghorn takes the fruit from his valleys, with the aim of allowing the flavours and aromas of the region come through. “I seek to maintain svelte plushness and good length in my Pinot Noir, built around a natural vibrancy of fruit.”

And, happily, he succeeds with this mid ruby coloured wine (you will see lighter Pinot Noirs). Aromas are cheerful, ripe fruits (cherry and berry). Full bodied, flavours of plum and brambly fruits, well balanced, the oak (11 months of it) harmoniously integrated, supple and silky in a long and totally satisfying finish. Very Highly Recommended.

Food pairing suggestions:  Venison, lamb, wild game and game fowl, Asian-style duck, seared tuna and swordfish. 

And the name? Astrolabe was once a navigational instrument and also the name of the ship in which French adventurer Jules Sébastien César Dumont d’Urville explored the province’s coastline in the late 1820s. The Waghorns also produce wines called Durvillea. 


Dry, with a lime enhanced finish, this American wine is new to O’Brien’s, the fruit sourced from cooler climate sites in the world class vineyards of the Columbia Valley.

It has a light straw colour. Peach, apricot and citrusy aromas. On the palate it is dry and crisp with zesty fresh fruit flavours (lime now in the mix). It has an engaging acidity and a very decent finish indeed. Very refreshing and Highly Recommended. 

Wendy Stukey, a winemaker at the chateau says, on a website video, that it is an incredibly versatile food wine, as are most Rieslings, and her favourite pairing is with oysters. They also recommended scallops, mild cheeses, Asian dishes, Indian curries. Chateau Ste Michelle, since 1999, has been involved in a cooperative local venture, Eroica Wines, with famous German winemaker Dr Loosen, a acknowledge master of Riesling.

We don’t get that many US wines here, mainly because they are at quite a high price point (not the case here!). I’m not that familiar with Washington vineyards so did a little research. “Today,” according to World Atlas of Wine (2013), “Washington is the second most important wine-growing state in the US….producing some of America’s most admired Cabernet, Merlot, Riesling, and, especially, Syrah.” And, by the way, O’Brien’s also have the Syrah from Ste Michelle. Must try that!

100% Vinafera Rootstock is printed on the front label. Puzzled? More research: ‘I’ve seen this phrase most often on bottles of Chateau Ste. Michelle wines from Washington. Columbia Valley’s dry summers and chilly winters make the region phylloxera-resistant. I asked winemaker Bob Bertheau of Chateau Ste. Michelle what makes vinifera rootstock wines so special, and he said, “Having vines on their own roots helps us maintain the health and longevity of our vineyards and preserves the grape variety in its natural state, with no influence from the grafted roots.”’ 

Read more of what Dr Vinny has to say on the subject here https://www.winespectator.com/drvinny/show/id/Rootstock-Phylloxera-Resistant-Vinny-54401 

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

CorkBilly’s Drinks Digest. Wines, Spirits and Beers Events


CorkBilly’s Drinks Digest
Wines, Spirits and Beers Events

Wine x5 at The Raven Bar with PradoRey!


Green Drinks
Today, Wednesday at 8 PM – 11 PM
at Nana’s 12 Douglas Street.
Sociable get together for people with an interest in the environment and sustainability. 
Cork Environmental Forum's monthly Green Drinks.

This event is free entry. Please send the invitation to your friends, we all want a busy evening!

What is Green Drinks?

Green drinks is an established evening in cities all over the world, once month people meet in a pub, talk and make friends. You will meet people interested in the environment, sustainability, green living, or just making the world a better place, you can make new friends from near and far and share your interests.

There are no particular rules in these events, you can join us and start speaking with whoever you like. Please invite your friends to join this group and attend the evening.

For any further information just like the page and/or contact us by sending a message. You can help by inviting your friends to like the page and sharing the event on your profile.

Hope to see you soon and don't miss out on this great fun & informative night!

Franciscan Well’s Cask Ales and Strange Brew Fest
See the list of brewers and beers  on poster

The Cork Beer Mile with CAT 
Thursday, February 21, 2019 at 6:30 PM – 11:30 PM
Get your walking shoes on and join us on a walk around Cork's must prestigious craft beer bars! 

This time we're in cahoots with two outstanding Irish breweries DOT Brew & Larkin's Brewing Company! More details to be announced soon! Who are the lads? 
​Dot :
Dot Brew is a gypsy micro brewery brand with roots strongly cultivated in Dublin 8. Specialising in uniquely designed barrel aged and blended beers for an evolving Irish and International palette. Dot adopts maturation and blending techniques from the Whiskey and Wine industries and applying them to break the boundaries of beer production. Dot has been rated one of the top 10 Irish brewers by Untappd users for 2018. (Placed 6th) 
Larkins :
Launched in 2018 after dipping their toes into the brewing market at the RDS Irish Craft Beer Festival the previous year, Larkins has already been rated one of the top 5 Irish brewers by Untappd users for 2018. (Placed 3rd) An independently family owned  brewery based in County Wicklow, Larkins set their focus on making lager style beers as good as they can be along with working on other styles of beers from IPA’s , Saisons to Pale Ales. 

Do you know what makes a wine biodynamic?

Biodynamic viticulture could be described as an extreme form of organic farming. With its meticulous attention to soil & vine health, as well as supporting biodiversity in the vineyard, biodynamic wines are growing in popularity. An evening on this fascinating subject will be presented by O'Briens Wine Director Lynne Coyle MW in The O'Briens Wine School, Donnybrook, Dublin 4 on Thu 21 Mar 2019 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm. More detail here https://www.tickettailor.com/events/obrienswines/231667 

Gin Tasting!!
Friday, March 1, 2019 at 7 PM – 9:15 PM

Sol y Sombra Tapas Bar & RestaurantOld Church of Ireland, Lower Bridge Street, Killorglin 6

On the night, we will present a selection of 6 superior gins, a selection of premium tonics and explore the different herbs and botanical's used in the distilling process of creating craft gins.  Info here https://www.facebook.com/events/236122720613873/ 

A welcome G&T will be served at 7.15 pm to allow the group to mingle before the tasting, the tastings itself will begin at 7:30 pm (sharp) in the upstairs Mezzanine.

You also have the option to have a meal if you so wish before or after the tastings.

We will be sampling lovely gins, its will be a unique night you won't want to miss

Tickets are €25 plus booking fees they are available through www.ticketstop.ie

There are only 24 spaces available so book early to avoid disappointment!


Munster Wine & Dine 2019
The Munster Wine & Dine will launch their  2019 programme in L'Atitude 51 on Wednesday February 6th at 6pm and are delighted to announce that the tastes for the launch will be provided by the wonderful Hederman Smokehouse. Lots of visits to restaurants, brewers, distillers, producers on the cards. Interested? Turn up at L’Atitude on the 6th. Entry is five euro!


Spanish Wine Week including Two-day Tapas Competition in Kerry.
Part of Spanish Wine Week 8th -14th April 2019

Brittany at The Friary!
Cider and Crepes

 Let's all celebrate Brittany once again. Sat Feb 9th - 6.00pm! Details https://www.facebook.com/events/2925144140830855/

In a galaxy, not so far away, there is a country, proud and full of culture.
For one night, let's celebrate this wonderful land… Brittany! 

Gorgeous single estate cider and apple liqueur imported directly from Château de Lézergué, delicious salty and sweet crêpes made by the “bretonniest” of the bretons Cyril Kerboul, all of this wrapped with the best music that Bretagne can offer (and obviously with no partiality at all). [*edit DJ Arbraz*: extreme partiality intensifies]

Kentoc'h mervel eget bezan saotret…
Breizh da viken!*
Let's all celebrate Brittany once again.







L’Atutude WINTER WINE SERIES

MOUNTAINS, ISLANDS,
VOLCANOES & COASTS
Thurs Feb 7th 7.00pm

VOLCANOES

The Winter Wine Series focuses on the landscape around where grapes are grown and how it influences wine style. In this second tasting we will look at volcanoes and how volcanic soil structure creates a unique environment that influences grapes. There are many examples of interesting wines produced on volcanic soils – ranging from Etna to Santorini, Tenerife, Chile, Oregon and Madeira, to name but a few. We will present a selection we think really reflect their volcanic origin.

Join us and Pascal Rossignol of Le Caveau , Kilkenny as we taste our way though our selection of favourite “Volcanic” wines.

Tickets €20. Booking Essential





Richy’s BYO Offer
Clonakilty restaurant Richy’s are offering a helping hand when dining out. “Feeling the crunch after Christmas? Why not save some dosh by bringing your own wine to Richy’s! T&C's apply. Available 14th Jan - 28th Feb 2019. Corkage €5.”

  


Thursday, January 10, 2019

CorkBilly’s Drinks Digest. Wines, Spirits and Beers Events


CorkBilly’s Drinks Digest
Wines, Spirits and Beers Events

Wine Course at L'Atitude
The Wine Fundamentals Level 1 Course starts Saturday 19th January at 3.30pm and will run over 4 weeks, finishing on February 9th. 

Each class lasts 2 hours and the programme will cover the following: 

- Week 1: Basic Tasting Techniques, Introduction to Winemaking and the Main Wine Regions
- Week 2: Major Grapes of The World
- Week 3: Influence of Winemaking Techniques, Climate and Regionality on Wine Style
- Week 4: Sparkling Wines & Food & Wine Matching

Each class costs €40, or €160 for the full course (€150 with discount if you sign up or all 4 classes). 

You can enrol by ringing L’Atitude 51 on 021 2390219 or coming directly to the bar or send us an email to let us know you'd like to attend - info@latitude51.ie

Prosecco for two features in Greene’s offer
Happy New year from all at Greenes Restaurant.
We have a very special new years offer for all our customers.
You can enjoy a 40% discount on our Weekend 5 Course Lunch Tasting Menu with Prosecco from now until the end of March. Valid Thursday to Sunday
OR
A 40% discount on our midweek 6 course evening tasting menu until the end of March. Valid Sunday to Thursday.
View these offers on our website here.

AFTER DARK AT THE CRAWFORD
5-7pm Sunday 20 January

“So bring a friend or date, grab a complimentary drink, take a pop-up tour with our inspiring guides, and enjoy a night at the gallery as we celebrate the Eve of St Agnes!

At length burst in the argent revelry,
With plume, tiara, and all rich array...

Join us after dark on Sunday 20 January for our special celebration of the Eve of St Agnes in partnership with Irish Distillers.

For centuries, this medieval tradition has inspired lovers, poets, and artists alike, including John Keats and Harry Clarke. This year, it is the central theme of our new exhibition Dreaming in Blue: Harry Clarke Watercolours, in which star-cross'd lovers Madeline and Porphyro elope on St Agnes' Eve!”


This event runs as part of Dreaming in Blue: Harry Clarke Watercolours (until 14 February). Free event but book your place here.  

Consumer Tasting for Australian Wine


O'Brien's Monthly Sale
A Louis Jadot Fleurie is one of the wines featured in O'Brien's monthly sale. Jadot's reputation as one of the grand old houses of Burgundy is well established and justifiably so, classic wines from Grand Cru to Cru Beaujolais. Fleurie is one of the 10 Cru's of Beaujolais situated between Villefranche sur Saone and Macon. And Louis Jadot Fleurie is currently at €16.95 instead of €22.95. Another worth checking is the d'Arenberg d'Arrys Shiraz/Grenache also at €16.95 (from 21.95).
.
Lucky Irish
I’ve often thought that Irish wine drinkers are blessed because of the huge choice available to us, bottles from all over the world. And that opinion was reinforced when I read this paragraph from a newsletter I get from a winelover in the Languedoc.

“And just for fun I opened a trio of Gimblett Gravels from New Zealand’s Hawke’s Bay, all variations on a bordelais theme, with a very New World taste.    it is virtually impossible to find any New Zealand wines in the Hérault, so our languedocien friends enjoyed being taken out of their comfort zone!”

The Growing Thirst for Exotic Wine
Bored with Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc? Discover some new grapes with Wine-Searcher’s Kathleen Willcox who reports that the heirloom tomato effect is at work in the wine world. The biggest driver of the trend is Millennials, who are seeking not only something pleasing to their palate, but wines that will horrify their parents with their unpronounceability and esoteric country of origin. Read more here


Richy’s BYO Offer
Clonakilty restaurant Richy’s are offering a helping hand when dining out. “Feeling the crunch after Christmas? Why not save some dosh by bringing your own wine to Richy’s! T&C's apply. Available 14th Jan - 28th Feb 2019. Corkage €5.”

Cask Ales and Strange Brew Fest
Our favourite festival of the year....The Cask Ales and Extraordinary Brew Festival running from Jan 31st to Feb 2nd. 
Featuring a range of special brews using curious and interesting ingredients, the festival will showcase the growing experimentation of Irish brewers and their ability to challenge the norms of brewing.

Yellow Belly, Rising Suns, Metalman and West Cork Brewing are just some of the brewers at the festival and will compete in the Beoir Cask Competition to see who can come up with the most extraordinary beer under categories: Best lager, best "pale', best stout and best specialty. Judged by The national Beer enthusiasts club, winners will be announced on the Saturday of the festival. 

Live music, performances & Pompeii pizza! Admission is free

  


Thursday, December 27, 2018

A Sparkling New Year to you. Not forgetting Nollag na mBan



The only grape used in this stunning champagne is the black Pinot Meunier, leaving both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (the other regular champagne grapes) out of this particular equation.

It has an inviting eye-catching light gold colour - the bubbles look even better! Aromas are light and fruity (strawberry). Light fruit on the palate also, refreshing and well-rounded, well balanced with a lip-smacking long finish with typical brioche (biscuity, like Marietta!) aftertaste.

The vineyard is planted on the privileged Epernay soil; Epernay is the capital of Champagne and also a town of artistic and historical importance. And, yes,Granzamy do blends of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.

Here, a small number of growers are concentrating their efforts into bringing Pinot Meunier back into the limelight as a variety which produces quality Champagnes and not just a varietal to compliment a blend. Granzamy is one of those growers.


Akarua Brut NV, Central Otago (New Zealand), 13%, €43.99 Tindal Wine Merchants Limited, Baggot Street Wines, Searsons Wine Merchants,The Corkscrew, Mitchell & Son Wine Merchants WINEONLINE.IE
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are the grapes used here and, yes, it may be New Zealand but this is made in the Methode Traditionelle, that is the champagne way, and it spends a minimum of 18 months ageing on yeast lees. 

A serious contender then with an inviting gold colour and very good small-bubble flow. Aromas are floral, savoury and that brioche is there too. It is almost creamy in the mouth followed by that long crisp brut (dry) finish.

Sparkling wines are a relatively new operation of the vineyard but already Akarua has been bringing in the medals, mainly gold. This Brut NV (non vintage) is a fine aperitif wine and is ideal for celebrating with friends whenever and wherever you get together, be it New Year’s Eve, birthday or anniversary, or Nollag na mBan! If using it as an aperitif (it was outstanding here on Christmas morning), don’t forget to provide some nibbles - these bubbles go to the head faster than still wine!

Here’s another lovely bottle of bubbles from O’Brien’s. This is from Australia and is a rosé. Again, it is made by the Traditional Method (same way as champagne) and is a blend of selected vintages, hence the NV. 

Produced from Pinot Noir grapes, it comes in a gorgeous pastel salmon hue in which fountains of micro-bubbles constantly rise. There are delicate scents of strawberry and pomegranate. The palate is more intense than the nose, strawberry again and now cherry as well, and a pleasing refined finish and, along the way, you come across that bread-biscuit flavour. Another superb and delicious aperitif and, again, don’t forget those nibbles for yourself and your guests! Happy New Year.






Exquisite Collection Crémant du Jura (AOP) Chardonnay 2014, 12%, €12.00 Aldi

Got this Brut (dry) at the local Aldi. I was very impressed with it. This sparkling Chardonnay, again made using the same methods as they use in making champagne, is perfect for any celebration (big or small). It is not lacking in complexity, has light fruit flavours, that hint of biscuit and a fine finish. Good price too, bubbles on a budget.

French sparkling wines made by the méthode champenoise but falling outside the boundaries of the Champagne region are termed Crémant. Grapes other than the traditional Champagne varieties may also be used.They are produced in many regions of the country including Bordeaux, Loire, Burgundy, Limoux, Alsace, and the Rhone (known as Crémant de Die).

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Christmas Couples. One White. One Red.


Christmas Couples




A couple of bottles of wine, one red, one white, can go a long way at the Christmas meal. Lots of lovely couples below!







Karwig Double

Cunas Davia Ribeiro (DO) 2016, €21.15 Karwig Wine
It has a light straw colour. And a lovely intense nose where floral and herbal notes mingle with ripe white fruits. Rich, long and balanced on the palate, fruit and fresh acidity in perfect harmony and there is a long citrus led finalé. A pleasure!

Herdade Do Esporão Quatro Castas, Vinho Regional Alentejano 2014, €20.95 Karwig Wine
This deep ruby red wine has concentrated red fruit aromas, also a little spice and a little vanilla. Fresh, fruity and spicy on the palate with a very acceptable balance. Lovely mouthfeel and long finish. Just another beauty from this area of Portugal and Very Highly Recommended.

Two from South Africa

Boekenhoutskloof Wolftrap Red 2016 Western Cape (South Africa), 14.5%, €14.50 Bradley’s Off, Matson’s, Cashel Wine Cellar. JN Wine online

Boekenhoutskloof Wolftrap White 2014 Western Cape (South Africa), 14.5%, €14.50 Bradley’s Off, Matson’s, Cashel Wine Cellar. JN Wine online

This James Nicholson red is a very popular wine and you’ll see it on quite a few restaurant lists. It is a dark ruby colour, the legs slow to clear. Ripe fruits (plums, blackberries) feature in the enticing aromas, also a touch of vanilla. That fruit is also there on the vibrant palate, a drift of spice too, smooth with silky tannins, well balanced and with an excellent finish.

It is mainly Syrah (86%) and the other grapes in the blend are Mourvèdre (13) and Viognier (1). It is fermented in stainless steel and aged in French oak prior to blending and bottling.

The Wolftrap white was accorded Superquaffer of the Year by the prestigious Platter's Guide to South African Wine.

It is an unusual blend of Viognier 48% (for spice), Chenin Blanc 41% (melon) and Grenache Blanc 11% (white peach), all contributing to the experience. The different grapes are fermented and aged partially in French oak before blending and bottling. 

It has a very clean light yellow colour with green tints. Pleasant white/yellow fruits, plus floral notes, feature in the inviting aromas. Fresh and fruity, unexpected depth in this elegant body, a lively acidity all through and then a lip-smacking finish.

Two from Portugal

Herdade do Peso Trinca Bolotas Alentejo (DOC) 2016, 14%, RRP € 19.99 wineonline.ie

It’s a vinho tinto (red wine), a blend of Alicante Bouschet, Touriga Nacional and Aragonez (Tempranillo). It has a vibrant mid ruby colour and intense ripe berry aromas. Fruity and dry, full-bodied, very well balanced with a prolonged finish. Thanks to the equilibrium of tannins, acidity and fruit, this is an excellent food wine and Very Highly Recommended.

After malolactic fermentation, the wines are transferred to French and Caucasian oak barrels, where they are matured for around six months. To maintain its high quality, the wines are bottled without cold stabilisation. It may thus throw a slight deposit during bottle-ageing.

Herdade do Peso Sossego Branco Alentejano (IG) 2016, 13%, 
RRP €16.99, Matson Wine Store 

The local tranquility wasn’t too bad either as I opened the Sossego with its light yellow colour and tints of green. Scents of citrus fruit and blossoms, more floral than fruity, enhance the mood. Lively and fresh on the palate, the fruit flavours are balanced by excellent acidity and a good dry finish follows. Refreshing and flavourful. 

The grapes used by winemaker Luis Cabral de Almeida were 75% Antão Vaz, 20% Arinto, 5% Roupeiro. This may be enjoyed on its own or as an aperitif. It pairs wonderfully with various fish dishes, some white meats and an array of salads. 

Australian Pair 

Free Run Juice “Samurai” Chardonnay (Australia) 2016, 13%, €14.95 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

Tastes, they say, like rain on a hot day. In any event, this organic wine tastes very well indeed, is Very Highly Recommended and is also excellent value.

Colour is a light straw. Aromas are fairly classic Chardonnay, melon and peach. A hint of a tingle on the palate as the creamy textured liquid, laden with rich fruit flavours, spreads across. A crisp acidity balances it and a persistent finish crowns it.

Free Run Juice “Samurai” Shiraz (Australia) 2016, 13.5%, €14.95  

“Tastes like Australian sunshine, and ninjas”. Not familiar with either! Conditions were “ideal” for the harvest, giving a delicious richness and intensity. Another remarkable wine, remarkable value too, and Very Highly Recommended.

A crimson red pours from the bottle with that cracking label. Aromas speak of spice and vanilla but mostly of intense plum. Medium to full bodied, flavours of juicy dark cherries and berries, velvety tannins and a finish that reverberates. A rich and delicious Shiraz. Go for it.

Spanish Couple

Dominio de Punctum Finca Fabian Verdejo Castilla (Vino de la Terra) 2016, 12.5%, €12.20, Mary Pawle Wines


This Verdejo is made  from organically grown grapes, night harvested and cold maceration before fermenting. Colour is straw yellow, bright and clear and there are white fruits in the aromas, floral notes too.

It is fresh and a little livelier than many Verdejos, excellent fruit flavours and balancing acidity. A lovely drop indeed with a long and pleasant finish. Highly Recommended. Good value also, by the way. 

Punctum Viento Aliseo La Mancha (DO) 2016, 13.5%, €13.30 Mary Pawle Wines

This joven (young) wine is a blend of Tempranillo (70%) and Petit Verdot. Organically and biodynamically farmed (Demeter approved) and made from “our estate-grown grapes”.

Cherry is the colour. Cherries and blackberries feature in the aromas. And the same fruit too on the full and smooth palate, matched by a lively acidity, the tannins just about in evidence. Quite complex for a joven and Highly Recommended. Good value also.

Gary’s Pair

Haven’t tasted these in quite a while but must say I like the look of this pair from the excellent Luis Canas at Gary O’Donovan’s. The red is the Madurado Tempranillo/Garnacha while the white is Viura/Malvasia. Both are 2017 and the total cost of the presentation two-pack is €25.00. 

The white blend is dense and unctuous on the palate, with a good balance between acidity and alcohol. The aftertaste brings notes of ripe fruit and minerality.

The red blend has spent 12 months in oak, is fruity on the nose, all enveloping on the palate while it finishes well with fruit and acidity.

Duo from O'Brien's

Gaia Assyrtiko Wild Ferment €21.95 (was 24.95).

The grapes are grown high up in circles around the top of the craters on Santorini, one of the Greek islands. Sometimes wines from hot climates lack acidity, but that is not the case here. Try it with shellfish, also smoked fish. The grapes are soaked on the skins after crushing for a long period. This gives the wines their excellent structure and complexity of flavour. Well worth a try!

d'Arenberg Footbolt Shiraz Australia, 19.95 
Colour is a clean and bright purple. No need to nose the glass here as the aromas - attractive dark berries and plums mainly - come up to meet you. Terrific fruit too on the palate with great balance, tannins are fine, lovely and a lingering dry finish. Footbolt is a favourite here and Very Highly Recommended.


The Odd Couple

Elgin Ridge 232 Sauvignon Blanc South Africa (from Le Caveau).
Decanter praise: vibrant, at once savoury and saline, yet ripe and tropical. 

Made by Brian and Marion Smith. Marion’s from Cavan. I’ve sampled this a few times and have a bottle in the house for the festivities. Well worth a try.

Winzer Krems Blauer Zweigelt “St Severin” trocken (Austria) 13%, €14.45 Karwig Wines

This well-priced quality red wine has gorgeous and intense fruit aromas. Also engaging red fruit flavours (cherries, berries, redcurrants), a touch of spice, full bodied and quite dry to the finalé. This is easy drinking, light and bright, not unlike Pinot Noir.