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Thursday, April 25, 2019
Pinot Noir on the Double!
One from Oregon and one from Burgundy.
Sokol Blosser Estate Pinot Noir Dundee Hills (Oregon USA) 2014, 14%, €46.55 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny
Unusually, this US winery gives a list of “contents” on the bottle: Sun. Rain. Drizzle. More sun, Some fog. The fruits of sustainable farming. Flavours of black cherry and raspberry mingling with earth and truffle. Aromas of the same. 16 m in French oak. Love and Care.
Put them all together and you get an excellent organic wine. The word “Estate” on the label is significant in that the fruit for this wine comes from virtually every parcel of the farm.
Colour is the classic light ruby. Aromas of raspberry and cherry, a little hint of the oak. Amazing flavours, cherry and plum, intense and seductive. Oak is well integrated, tannins retain some grip. And this fragrant, silky and harmonious wine boasts a long satisfying finish. Very Highly Recommended.
“A beverage of pleasure” may be an apt description here. The phrase was used by a certain Mr Robert Parker though he was probably referring to wine that was much bigger and bolder than this elegant Pinot Noir.
Pinot Noir thrives at Sokol Blosser and the exceptional red (volcanic) jory soils of the Dundee Hills provide a good home. The estate vineyards are farmed organically; local organic straw, organic cow and horse manure, grape pomace from the crush and organic rock phosphate contribute to the composting. The insect population is kept in check by a resident flock of bluebirds.
Dundee Hills is an important AVA (American Viticultural Area) in the Willamette Valley and is well established as a centre for top quality wine and the World Atlas of Wine confirms that, “since the mid 1970s, Oregon and Pinot Noir have been inextricably linked”.
Justin Girardin “Clos Rousseau” Santenay 1er Cru 2015, 13%, €33.99 JN Wine
This juicy and fresh Pinot Noir has spent about 15 months in French oak barrels, 20 per cent of which were new. Many organic techniques are used in the Girardin Burgundy vineyard and the wine is bottled “on a favourable lunar day”.
And, yes, I’m tempted to say I’m over the moon about this one, Very Highly Recommended. It has a light ruby colour. There are attractive scents of ripe cherries and strawberries.
Delicate fruit flavours and a modest touch of spice ooze seamlessly together across the palate. Gentle tannins and acidity help make this a food wine. Delicate and modest yes but enveloping all is a seductive harmony that takes it all the way through to a long and very satisfying finish, delivered with finesse.
Suggested pairings: Red meats, game, mature cheeses, Coq au Vin and almost any chicken or poultry dish prepared with mushrooms.
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
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.
Wednesday, October 3, 2018
Sokol Blosser Evolution Lucky No. 9 White Blend (Dundee, Oregon, USA) NV, 12%, €24.95 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny
This is worth trying; it is excellent, in the same way that Gentil from Alsace vineyards can be surprisingly delicious. Gentil are multi-grape blends and so is this non vintage white. The grapes used are Müller-Thurgau, Riesling, Sémillon, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, Muscat Canelli, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Sylvaner. It is a non-oaked wine and was introduced in 1998 and this is the 19th edition.
Evolution No. 9 is a play on the Beatles number Revolution No. 9. Sokol Blosser say the white was created out of the desire to make a fun wine, one that would accompany the modern predilection for "yoking different kinds of food together" and is “very much more than the sum of its very disparate parts”. Pair it with spicy Asian, Indian, Mexican and Caribbean foods. Or with a jambalaya.
Pioneers Bill and Susan Sokol Blosser planted their first vines in 1971 in the Dundee Hills. Their vineyards are farmed organically; local organic straw, organic cow and horse manure, grape pomace from the crush and organic rock phosphate contribute to the composting. The insect population is kept in check by a resident flock of bluebirds.
It has a pale straw colour but the juice looks really good and clean in the bottle and you’re thinking this is a good one, your opinion reinforced by the fairly intense mix of lush and tropical aromas. Again that same amalgam of fruit on the smooth palate, a touch of sweetness early on but there is excellent acidity in there too that ensures a satisfying crisp finalé. Very Highly Recommended. The Evolution Big Time Red, was first released in 2012, and is on my list!
Alfredo Maestro Viña Almate Castilla y León (VT) 2016, 14%, €14.45 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny
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. Le Caveau say the wine is raised for four months in neutral French oak; it is unfined, unfiltered and very low SO2.
Colour is a dark ruby. Aromas are quite complex, ripe red fruits prominent. Red fruit flavours too on the generous palate, while a touch of spice heightens the pleasure of this easy drinking young wine. Highly Recommended. This is Alfredo’s flagship wine and Spanish Wine Lover rates it “as outstanding within its type and style”.
From the beginning, in 1998, Alfredo farmed organically, his mantra: “Wine made with only grapes, well-kept vineyards, and healthy land.” With more land and experience now at his disposal, Alfredo is one to watch as the story of his pure and elegant wines evolves.Look out for more well-made wines from the man "known as the 'magician of the Duero’, a prominent exponent of the natural wine movement in Spain.Wine briefs
SuperValu's current wine sale continues until October 10th and is headlined by their mix and match offer of 6 bottles for €50.00. Plenty of choice so I had quick look and here's my half-dozen, three white and three red.
1 ABELLIO ALBARIÑO
2 ARESTI TRISQUEL SAUVIGNON BLANC
3 BURDIZZO VERMENTINO TOSCANA
4 HOMMAGE DU RHONE VINSOBRES
5 CHATEAU HAUT BERTINERIE RED
6 CASA DE LA ERMITA CRIANZA
O'Brien's have dozens of wines of offer also for the month but what really caught my eye is their Organic Wine Masterclass on October 18th. Details below:
Introduced by expert Sommelier François Pages from Gérard Bertrand, guests will be led through a selection of Gérard Bertrand’s finest wines, including the exquisite single-vineyard, Clos d’Ora. Learn about the organic and biodynamic philosophies that are at the heart of each Gérard Bertrand wine and the meticulous attention to detail in the cellar.
The Masterclass will begin at 7.30pm and a light cheese board will be served to accompany the wines.
Tickets: €25 - Available online HERE
There'll be a discount on the night for any orders placed on Gérard Bertrand wines.
Date: Thursday October 18th
Where: Radisson Blu Hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin 2.
A week earlier, SPIT – out of the Ordinary wines from artisan wineries represented by four independent wine companies, GrapeCircus, Nomad, VinosTito and WineMason - will be held on October 11th in The Chocolate Factory (Dublin). Details here.
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Mountain Cheese and Oregon Wine
Mont D’Or and Riesling. Divine.
One 500gram box of Mont D’Or (AOC) cheese from Bradley’s.
One bottle of Kings Ridge Oregon Riesling 2013 (Willamette Valley), 12%, €15.00 (reduced from 19.99) SuperValu Christmas Wines.
Sharing a half kilo of baked cheese is fun on a winter's evening as we found out this week. It is recommended for four but the two of us managed quite well, thank you!
Our cheese came from Bradley’s in North Main Street, Cork, and was the famous Mont D’Or from France (there is also a Swiss version). Like wine, the French version has its own AOC and is a much prized cheese from the Franche-Comté, made with whole cow’s milk, and is generally available only from October to March.
The rind (inedible) can be peeled back and the runny cheese simply spooned out. But baking it, in its box, is the treat. Again, it is not the only cheese that comes in a box. Camembert is another and that too can be baked. Sheridan’s suggest that both Durrus (360g) and Gubbeen (450g) can get the same treatment but they don't have a box so you’ll have to improvise with a sheet of foil.
Indeed, it was a recipe in the new book, Sheridan's Guide to Cheese, that we followed (more or less) with the Mont D’Or. You simple score the top rind, add in a couple of sprigs of thyme and a clove of garlic and a half glass of white wine and bake in a pre-heated oven for ten minutes. For some reason, the ten minutes was totally inadequate and ours needed double that.
It was carefully brought to the table, the rind peeled back and then we dug in with chunky bits of Arbutus Sourdough (bought at Davidson’s, the local butchers). And then we dug in again. And again… You get the picture! All the while sipping from the Oregon Riesling.
That gold coloured wine proved to be a gem and also quite a match for the cheese. White fruits on the nose and also that petrol but reasonably muted. Palate is crisp and fruity, fresh, light and fragrant, no sign of that petrol, good acidity and a decent dry finish. Some of the fruit used comes from one of the oldest vineyards, planted in 1968, and this “adds depth and complexity to our Riesling.” A Very Highly Recommended Riesling indeed.
So there you have it. Quite a treat. And wouldn’t all three, a box of cheese, a bottle of the Riesling and the Sheridan's book be quite a present for that special someone. They might even share!
- Got a tip too from Daniel Emerson of Stonewell Cider. He suggested having the Mont D’Or as a fondue with potatoes. “It is divine.”