Showing posts with label Riesling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Riesling. Show all posts

Monday, June 24, 2019

Karwig Wines To Close

Karwig Wines to Close.
Joe Karwig (RIP) and yours truly a few years back.

Not the kind of news, I'd prefer to highlight, but many of you will already know that the Karwig family are in the process of closing their wine business in Carrigaline. You may have seen this statement from Betty and Jurgen:

To all our Karwig Wines supporters,

We would like to announce that after 40 years of business, we will be closing Karwig Wines later this year. Karwig Wines has solidified its reputation for quality wines and personalised service throughout the years. We are proud of what we have achieved as a family business and are thankful for the opportunity to finish well.

There are many people we could pay tribute to for this. We would like to thank our dedicated staff for their work and to our suppliers for entrusting us with their wines. Most importantly, we would like to thank our customers. We could not have achieved any of this without your business and loyalty to us throughout the years.

It has been a memorable journey with you all and we think Joe would be proud of the legacy he has left behind.
All of our wines are now being sold at a reduced price in our shop until closure. We look forward to seeing you all in the coming weeks.

************

Dr Wagner Ockfener Bockstein Riesling Kabinett 2016, 8%, €19.95 Karwig Wine

Two things you should know about this lovely wine from near where the Saar River joins the better known Mosel. It has an ABV of just 8% and it is on the sweet side. Not overly sweet by the way, fairly close to what the French label as Moelleux.

It is a very pleasant aperitif and Karwig’s suggest pairing it with fruity desserts, creamy cheese varieties, chutneys of pineapple and fig, vanilla ice-cream with red vineyard peaches, shrimp steaks with fruity and spicy sauces as well as the general Asian cuisine.

It has a very light straw colour. White fruit (peach, citrus) in the aromas, along with a hint of diesel (that more or less vanishes as you sip). Sweet-ish on the attack but finish is good and dry. In between, enjoy the balance of fruit and acidity in this light white. Juicy and refreshing, it is indeed a very pleasant wine to sip and is definitely Recommended.



Chatelard “Cuvée Les Pentes” Brouilly (AOC) 2015, 13%, €19.25 Karwig Wines

Brouilly is the largest and most southerly of the Beaujolais crus and this bottle, from plots located at the heart of the appellation, has quite a lot going for it. 

Colour, a mid to dark ruby, is a bit darker than some other Beaujolais wines. In the aromas you’ll find ripe red fruits (berries and plums), typical of the region. Really vibrant flavours, tannins close to smooth, good acidity too and a long dry finish. Highly Recommended. Karwig Wines have relied on Chateau du Chatelard for years now and I’ve always liked this Brouilly, an excellent expression of the Gamay grape, the dominant one in Beaujolais.

* The prices quoted above come from a month or two back, so it's probable that you'll get a reduction if you call to Karwig's over the coming weeks.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Superb Riesling and Chenin Blanc from Karwigs.


Superb Riesling and Chenin Blanc
from Karwig Wine.

Carl Ehrhard Rüdesheim Riesling (Rhinegau) 2017, 12%, €16.90 Karwig Wine

I’ve long been a fan of Carl Ehrhard’s wines. I met the man himself at a Ballymaloe wine event a few years back and there he described Riesling as “the most fantastic white variety”. This particular bottle is one of his everyday wines but an above average one, well priced too.

The Rheingau is the spiritual heart of German wine, the birthplace of Riesling, according to the World Atlas of Wine. The area in general is well known for its dry Rieslings - “full bodied with racy acidity”.

Colour is a light straw with greenish tints and you'll note micro bubbles clinging to the glass. Aromas are a gentle mix of apple and citrus, with the slightest hint of diesel. There is that trademark tingle on the palate. Intense fruit, now led by citrus, and that bracing and refreshing acidity combine well all the way to a long and satisfying finish. This dry wine is Very Highly Recommended. 

Might be no harm, I say to myself, to get a few of these in for the summer evenings in the back garden. Perfect for aperitif and with seafood and Riesling is regularly recommended for Asian food. The vinification is directed towards preserving the natural fruit and, not for the first time, Mr Ehrhard succeeds. One of the most reliable winemakers.

Some helpful German wine words:
Rüdesheim is the town.
Riesling is the grape.
Trocken means dry.
Rheingau is the wine district.
Ehrhard - you’re on a winner!

Bourillon Dorléans “La Coulée d’Argent Vouvray” (AOC) 2015, 13%, €21.50 Karwig Wines

We’re on a good thing here. I’ve given the 2013 vintage a big thumbs up in the past and this 2015 is also Very Highly Recommended. I have the guys at Grape and Wines “behind” me as the book lists Bourillon as a leading maker of Chenin Blanc and, in addition, lists this Coulée d’Argent as one of the top five classic dry Loire wines. 

Chenin was first planted in the Loire in the 15th century and still the best Chenin wines come from here. Quite a range actually as the grape is used to make sparkling wines, dry wines, even sweet ones. But this one is dry, very dry, you’ll note the sec on the bottle. You’ll also see the words Vieilles Vignes (old vines) on the label.

It has a mid straw colour. Moderate aromas, with quince, apple and pear to the fore. On the palate, it is bone dry with mouthwateringly high acidity. That expected minerality is not shy either though it is moderated by the fruit and even a touch of sweetness. It has quite a strong character, the body having a little more heft than expected, and also an invigorating finish. It is made from those old vines and has been aged on its lees for six months. This bracingly dry Chenin Blanc, from what is regarded as the homeland of the variety, is excellent and Very Highly Recommended.

Monday, May 27, 2019

A Riesling to remember and a Chardonnay with a difference



Let the drums and trumpets sound for this outstanding German Riesling. The label does it well: A Riesling dry in style and well balanced like its Rheingau predecessors from the glorious age of Riesling a century ago: a contemporary classic and a perfect partner for many foods.

Don’t know anything about the Rieslings of a century ago but this light gold coloured wine is a gem for sure. Intense aromas of apple and pear indicate a good year in the Rheingau, a year for the grape to flourish. And that’s soon confirmed on the palate with its crisp acidity and yellow stone fruit (peach, apricot), a striking minerality too maintained to the persistent finish. Very Highly Recommended. No wonder Wilhelm Weil considers it as one of the best he has produced in 30 years (reported by none other than an enthusiastic Robert Palmer). 

You can hardly talk of Riesling without mentioning acidity and minerality. In his book Reading Between the Wines, Terry Theise says "Acidity is innate to the berry". "Minerality, " he continues, "is inherent to Riesling, because the variety is, in its essence, more mineral than fruit. The Riesling genre is one of a mineral-tasting wine into which are woven various strands of fruit, depending on site and vintage."

Fruity, tangy, yet charming and harmonious, you’ll find it this Weil typically versatile at the table. A couple of suggestions, one “a merry table companion to a wide range of cuisines” and another, this via Google Translate, “goes brilliantly with fried fish, poultry and Asian dishes. But even without banqueting - he can sip excellent …"


The Mornington Peninsula, just over an hour south of Melbourne, in the state of Victoria, is perfectly suited to growing Chardonnay and “a foremost region” too for Pinot Gris”. Chardonnay here though, according to Halliday’s Wine Atlas of Australia, “is markedly different from any other Chardonnay produced in Australia”.

Stonier was established here in 1978 and are noted for their Burgundian style cool climate wines. The vineyards overlooks the ocean. Chardonnay is a signature wine for Stonier and this is a gem.

It has a yellow colour, with green tints. The aromas are gentle, of exotic fruits. Even the background flavours are delicate with melon and citrus to the fore. There is excellent texture, a pleasant creaminess, and complementary acidity. And it boasts a long and distinctive finish too. Delicious and satisfying, this is well made, harmonious and Highly Recommended.


Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Wines from the Edges. Tasmania and the Chilean Coast.

Wines from the edge. Tasmania and the Chilean Coast. 
Pinot Noir and Riesling.


Lo Abarca Riesling 2017, 12.5%, €12.00 Marks and Spencer.

This wine is exclusive to M&S and they call it quirky on the label. It comes from cool climate vineyards in Chile’s San Antonio valley. Here in Casa Marin, the sunny vineyards are cooled by nearby Pacific breezes (the ocean is just a few kilometres away) and that makes them perfect for ripening Riesling grapes with excellent balance.

Wines of South America (2014) described the Lo Abarca area as “unofficial” noting just two producers there, Undurraga and Casa Marin.

This wine has a very light straw colour, tints of green, very clean. Pleasant aromas of circus (lime) and also floral notes. Crisp and refreshing on the palate, yellow fruit plus lime, an impressive natural acidity and a long dry finish. Very Highly Recommended.

Food Pairing 
Winery: Excellent as an aperitif with a delicious fresh ceviche or any type of seafood. Furthermore, it is the best friend for spicy food, like for example a delicious Thai Curry.
M&S: Enjoy this wine chilled with spicy southeast Asian curries or sweet and sour Chinese noodles. 


By the way, in the 2018 awards, Decanter magazine awarded this Riesling its Gold Medal.

Pure South Pinot Noir Tasmania 2015, 13.5%, €16.45 Marks and Spencer

Marks and Spencer say this “this lifted fruit driven style” suits dishes such as pan-fried duck with Asian spices or baked wild salmon. Didn’t do too badly at all with the more accessible (at the time) Christmas turkey. The winery suggests Sushi, charcuterie and lighter red meats.

Colour is the typical light ruby. Aromas are interesting, a little bit savoury, a wee bit smoky, herbs and vanilla too. Bright and vibrant flavours of strawberry, and raspberry and notes of dark cherry combine with a wash of spice to give this elegant wine more heft than you’d expect from the colour. Southern attitude from a very southern latitude gives it a vibrant sense of place.

This one which, according to M&S winemaker Belinda Kleining, has subtle integrated oak to complement the generous red fruitgrew on me. Highly Recommended.


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, September 26, 2018

Three Highly Recommended Whites from across Europe


Gitton de la Vigne du Taureau Sauvignon Blanc Couteaux du Giennois (AC) 2014, 12.5%, €19.50 Karwig Wines

Giennois is one of the lesser-known appellations in the Loire area, but it is just a few kilometres north of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. This crisp Sauvignon Blanc doesn’t let the neighbours down, far from it. It suits perfectly seafood and grilled fish, goats cheese too.

Colour is a light straw with green tints. It is moderately aromatic, white fruit, floral notes too and minerality. That distinctive minerality is immediately obvious on the palate where the excellent white fruit flavours (citrus prominent) combine well with a super acidity for a refreshing drop that also finishes well. Highly Recommended.


Diwald Fucksentanz Riesling Wagram (Austria) 2016, 12%, €18.30 Mary Pawle Wines

Diwald are regarded as pioneers of organic wine in the Wagram region and they interfere as little as possible in the cellar. Winemaker Martin Diwald has called this wine “a typical cheeky Riesling of the Wagram region". Just in case you were wondering, Fucksentanz, the name of the wine, translates as fox dance.

Colour is a light gold, bright and clear. There are rich and fairly complex aromas: pear and peach, notes of honey, floral too. There is a tingly sensation on introduction to the palate. The fruit is pure, outstandingly fresh with exuberant acidity, exquisite balance with a long lip-smacking finalé. Minerality and character help make this Highly Recommended.

Amastuola Bianco Salento Italy (IGP) 2015, 12.5%, €13.69 Mary Pawle Wines

Fiano and Malvasia are the grapes used to make this Italian white. Production is organic with “a strong propensity for innovation, sensitive to the environment, culture and knowledge” The wine has been vinified and aged in stainless steel.

Light straw is the colour. There is an interesting melange of scents, white fruit combined with herb and floral notes. It is smooth and fresh, excellent mouthfeel, superbly balanced and with a persistent finish, the fruit still going strong. Highly Recommended and good value too by the way.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Two Grand Crus from Alsace


Two Grand Crus from Alsace
Alsace, in north eastern France, has 51 Grand Crus. The system, and not everyone there agrees with it, is terroir based and allows (mostly) just one varietal per wine. So in the pair below, we have Riesling on its own and Pinot Gris also on its own.

The area has never been reluctant to blend though and one such to watch out for is Gentil. Most wine producers have a Gentil in their portfolio. It is a blend of most of their varieties and the Alsatians are quite proud of it. They have to meet a high standard to qualify and Gentils are often reasonably priced. Try Trimbach, Hugel and Meyer-Fonné for a start - it is a very cool introduction to the Alsace wines.

Riesling, used for dry and sweet wines in the general Alsace area, is the king here and the Alsatians are extremely proud of it. And indeed, unusually for France, you will see the grape name (not just Riesling) mentioned on the bottle label. Chateau D’Orschwihr is in the extreme south of the region as are the Grand Crus Kitterlé and Pfingstberg.

Chateau D’Orschwihr Grand Cru Kitterlé Riesling 2008, 12.6%, Karwig Wines.

Yellow going on gold is the colour of this old-stager! Intense nose, the expected petrol aromas almost camouflaged by the fruit. Exuberant on the palate, fruit flavours, minerality and excellent acidity, all in perfect harmony up to and through the long lip-smacking finish, a finish that lingers. Very Highly Recommended. A power packed wine and should go well with spicy Asian dishes, so often recommended for the grape.


It is not often you see Vin Non Chaptalisé (no added sugar) on the label. The practice is still permitted, mostly in northern countries, including in France and Germany, where grapes are produced with low sugar content. It is forbidden in California but producers there can add grape concentrate. Acidification is the other side of the coin. Read more here.

Chateau D’Orschwihr Grand Cru Pfingstberg Pinot Gris 2013, 13.5%, Karwig Wines.
Colour is a mid straw. A fruity nose, hints of spice. Rounded, rich and complex, the merest touch of sweetness, with a very pleasant mouthfeel. Nicely balanced, without the minerality of the Riesling. An easy drinking yet compelling wine, well made, quite elegant and Very Highly Recommended.

Pinot Gris, you’ll read, takes the middle path between “acidic” Riesling and “possibly over-sweet’ Gewürztraminer, and this is certainly the case here. Praise too for the Alsace Pinot Gris, from the World Atlas of Wine: “..the fullest-bodied but least perfumed wine of the region; at table it offers a realistic alternative to a white Burgundy.”


Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Excellent Wines from Franconia in the famous "Flat Bottle"


Horst Sauer Escherndorfer Silvaner Franconia (Germany) 2016, 11.5%, €20.90 Karwig Wine

The vineyard, Escherndorfer, its steep slope open to the south, has been regarded as a special one for centuries, creating wines of a distinctive concentrated fruitiness and great longevity.The producer is a member of the German Premium Wineries and you will see the indicator of this, the initials VDP, on the neck.

The wine, made from the Silvaner grape, in the distinctive Franken Bocksbeutel, is a light straw colour and you’ll note micro-bubbles clinging to the “flattened” bottle. There are intense scents of pear, melon and gooseberry. Aromatic and fruity, with a vivid and refreshing minerality also at play. Not really as “reserved” as the website hints at, as flavours are quite concentrated from early on and the finish is persistent with elegant acidity and that minerality of course. Highly Recommended.

Horst Sauer Escherndorfer Lump Riesling Franconia (Germany) 2016, 12.0%, €23.60 Karwig Wine


Again, the protective south facing slope is a big factor in this attractive trocken (dry), powerful and complex. The producers have no doubt about it: “In these Escherndorfer Lump wines lie our life blood”.

So what do you get from this light straw coloured wine? Firstly, complex aromas of peach and nectarine, apricot and hints of honey. Much the same fruit flavours combine superbly on the rich palate, moderate but effective acidity, intense and well-balanced, minerality too, all the way to the satisfactory dry finalé. Looks well, smells well and tastes well and Very Highly Recommended from the Franconia area. 

Perfect match with spicy and Indian food.

The Bocksbeutel
This bottle shape, according to Wikipedia, is derived from that of field bottles, which were known already in antiquity, and which were manufactured with a flattened shape for practical purposes, for example to keep the bottle from rolling away on uneven ground. 

The Bocksbeutel has been used for wine from Franconia at least since the early 18th century, initially for the wines from the region's most famous vineyard, the Würzburger Stein, and later for other Franconian wines, in particular those of better quality. The city council of Würzburg decided in 1728 that the best wines from the city's own winery, the Bürgerspital, should be filled in Bocksbeutel bottles. 

You probably have seen the same shaped bottle used for Portuguese rosés. Read more about it here  

Monday, July 2, 2018

White Wine Weather. Three of the very best!


Trimbach Riesling Alsace (AC) 2015, 13%, €15.96 (was 19.95) O’Brien’s

Trimbach (not Jean methinks!) sum up their wine story that began in 1626: “exceptional terroirs and fine wines”. And so they continue. This is “a great example of dry Riesling” according to Decanter, talking about the 2014 edition.

It is indeed a lovely wine with a light strawy colour. Apples and a touch of lime in the restrained aromas. Smooth on the palate with terrific white fruit flavours and the amazing dry finish goes on and on. Well made as you’d expect from this producer and Very Highly Recommended (even at the regular price - I got this in a sale).


Gitton Père & Fils Les Montachins Sancerre (AC) 2014, 12.5%, €23.95 Karwig Wines

Colour of this 100% Sauvignon Blanc is a light straw, tints of green. Fairly intense aromas, lime and apple, mineral notes too. Terrific rush of outstanding flavours, citrus now prominent, matched by an equal burst of the most refreshing acidity. And the finish lacks nothing at all, long and satisfying.  No need to say too much about this one, just Very Highly Recommended.

Speaking of the variety, Wine-Searcher.com says the key selling point of Sauvignon Blanc “is its straightforwardness” and that is certainly the case here. Its home land is the Loire and it is now found growing successfully in quite a few countries, notably in New Zealand.

Pair with oysters, crab, delicate white fish, green vegetables and salads, and cheese (goats in particular).

Albet i Noya El Fanio Xarel-lo 2016 Penedes (DO), 13%, now €17.00 Mary Pawles Wines.

Colour of this organic wine is light gold.
Citrus, gooseberry, floral notes too, in the nose.

Lovely creamy mouthfeel here - it had been on lees for six months; herb flavours to the fore, thyme and rosemary and other notes from the local scrub, fresh and lively acidity too make this a very friendly wine indeed, a distinctive one also and Very Highly Recommended. Great value as well.

El Fanio is the name of the vineyard and the grape variety is Xarel-lo, familiar to many of you as a key grape in Cava. The wine is aged in cement eggs (not very romantic!) and in acacia barrels.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Three Whites. Each Highly Recommended.


Beck Weissburgunder Burgenland (Austria) 2016, 12.5%, €18.95 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

This Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc), from eastern Austria, first came to my attention at the Chef Sessions in ORSO in March last and I noted it for an extended trial! It is biodynamic and new to the Le Caveau portfolio. The fruit is hand-picked and the wine spends six months on its lees in oak casks.

It is a pale gold, with lots of micro-bubbles clinging to the glass. There are aromas of white fruit, including pear. A lively tingly introduction to the palate with lots of white fruit flavours following on, full-bodied with a pleasant refreshing acidity and a long finish. Fragrant and refreshing, this is a versatile food wine and Highly Recommended. More to Austrian whites than Gru-Vee!



Wohlmuth Kitzecker Riesling 2016, Sausal Südsteiermark Austria, 12.5%, €21.65 Karwig Wines

The fruit comes the village of Kitzeck where slopes of up to 80% makes it one of Europe’s steepest vineyards.

Light gold is the colour and you’ll note green tints. Aromas are of peach and melon. On the palate it is juicy and fruity, outstanding fresh acidity, it is long, minerally and citrusy, makes your lips pucker. With peach, apricot and citrus elements in the mix, it makes for a lovely aperitif. Great too with seafood, particularly with prawns. Highly Recommended
.


Luigi Righetti Bianco di Custoza (DOC) 2016, 12%, €13.95 Karwig Wines.

This blend, one hundred per cent of the Soave grapes according to the Karwig website, has a light straw colour. It is moderately aromatic, fruity with a dry and delicate flavour, a good mouthfeel and a decent finish. Excellent as an aperitif or with fish or shellfish. Easy drinking and Highly Recommended.

The Bianco di Custoza is a white DOC wine from the Veneto region of north-eastern Italy. Nine grape varieties are allowed, but generally just three are used, the best known of which is Garganega, the Soave grape.

Located in the heart of Valpolicella Classico, the Luigi Righetti estate is a small to mid-sized, family run winery. Since 1909, when Angelo Righetti first earned a reputation as an outstanding winemaker, the family has focused on producing quality wines offering extremely good value as is the case here.


New Zealand 2018 Vintage Latest:
Vintage 2018 benefits from warm summer
A warm summer benefited New Zealand’s winegrowing regions, with 419,000 tonnes of grapes harvested during Vintage 2018.
This is up 6% on the 2017 tonnage, but is still lower than initially anticipated in a season marked by a very early start to harvesting.
New Zealand Winegrowers CEO Philip Gregan says many wineries had been hoping for an even larger vintage, given 2017’s small harvest.
“However, we now expect export growth in the year ahead will be modest. It will be up to wineries to manage any product shortages from the vintage.”
In addition to prompting an early harvest, the warm summer produced fruit with good ripeness levels.
A highlight from Vintage 2018 is the increased production of red wines.
“Production of both Pinot Noir and Merlot has lifted more than 20% on last year, which will be welcomed by both wineries and consumers. These varieties were down sharply in 2017 and it is very positive to see a return to more normal production levels this year,” Mr Gregan says.
New Zealand Winegrowers is confident Vintage 2018 wines will add to New Zealand’s reputation as a premium producer of cool climate wines.
“Every vintage is different and ultimately the final test is the quality delivered in the bottle to consumers. We are certain that consumers will enjoy the benefits of the warm summer when they get to taste the wines from Vintage 2018,” Mr Gregan says.

New Zealand wine exports are currently valued at $1.71 billion, up 3% in the past year. Wine is New Zealand’s fifth largest export good.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Two Outstanding White Wines


Carl Ehrhard Rüdesheim Bischofsberg Riesling trocken 2015, Rheingau (Germany), 12.5%, €19.65 Karwig Wines


I’ve long been a Carl Ehrhard fan and that continues after sampling this Riesling trocken from Bischofsberg, one of his vineyards. It has lovely bright gold colour. Apples feature in the aromas. This enticing crisp wine sees apples also in the flavours, a lively acidity too and then that minerally finish. This is a food friendly wine, Asian food and cheese are among the suggestions. Excellent too on its own and Very Highly Recommended.


If you’re new to German wine, you may need help with some of the words on the label:
Rüdesheim is the town.
Bischofsberg is the vineyard, named after a local archbishop.
Riesling is the grape.
Trocken means dry.
Rheingau is the wine district.
Ehrhard - you’re on a winner!



The vineyard has a gentle south-facing slope and the area in general is well known for its dry Rieslings - “full bodied with racy acidity”.


Yves Cuilleron á Chavanay “Les Vignes d’a Coté” Marsanne 2015, 14%, €17.95 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny



The Marsanne fruit for this Vin de France comes from an uncle’s vineyard revived by the return of Yves Cuilleron to Chavanay at the northern end of Saint-Joseph, one of the eight Northern Rhone crus.

If you like this, you are in good company as Victor Hugo was an admirer of Saint-Joseph wines. The main white grapes here are Clairette, Marsanne, Roussane, Viognier, Bourboulenc and there are two secondary grapes White Picpoul and Ugni Blanc.

Anticipation was high as I settled down with this. Cuilleron comes with high ratings: …superstar…leading light…bright shining star..are adjectives applied to him by leading wine writers and publications.

Colour is bright yellow with tints of green, limpid in the bottle. On the nose there are white fruits, hints of honey and light floral notes. It is round, rich with exotic flavours, a semi-creamy texture, acidity enough and a long dry finish. This fresh and generous wine over-delivers. It is a high quality entry level wine and Very Highly Recommended. Marsanne can age well but this one (all 18,200 bottles) is made to be drunk when it is young and fresh (sur le fruit).

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Wagner and Strauss. An impressive duet in red and white.

Wagner and Strauss. 
An impressive duet in red and white.
Wagner Stempel Riesling Rheinhessen (DQ) 2015, 12%, €19.95 Bradley’s Cork.
Nine generations of the Wagner family have been involved in wine-making here since 1845. Daniel Wagner has been the wine-maker since the early 90s and under him they have converted to organic production methods. 

According to the Finest Wines of Germany, he has proved that “forgotten or previously unconsidered terroirs can be of exceptional quality when they are interpreted properly”.  

Harvest is late (October/November) and the wines are kept on their lees until the end of May.This one, labelled trocken, is imported by the Wine Mason.

Colour is light straw, tints of green, micro-bubbles cling to the glass. Quite a bunch of aromas, fruit, herbs, even a hint of smoke. A fresh and fruity vibrancy emerges as soon as it meets the palate - notes of melon, spice and yellow apple - all balanced by a keen acidity; the long flavourful finish is lip smackingly dry. Very Highly Recommended.

A superb uncomplicated wine to be enjoyed with or without food. I enjoyed it with Hederman’s smoked mackerel, freshly boiled beetroot from the garden, and salad leaves with some roasted pepper.


Johann Strauss Zweigelt Reserve Austria (QaO) 2011, 13.5%, €20.50 Karwig Wines

Zweigelt is the grape and Kremstal is the area in Austria where this fragrant and elegant wine comes from. The blue/black Zweigelt is the most widespread red wine grape in Austria. A cross between St Laurent and Blaufränkisch, it was developed in 1922 and is said to deliver full bodied wines with tones of morello cherries. The morello is black and a sour kind of cherry.


Our Zweigelt has a mid-ruby robe and a fragrant nose of dark red fruits, hints too of pepper. Rather elegant introduction with soft tannins. Restrained waves of those cherry flavours follow, a touch of spice too and then a lingering finish. A pleasure to drink this one and Highly Recommended.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Orschwihr: Hard to spell, easy to drink!

The Wines of Chateau d'Orschwihr: Hard to spell, easy to drink!

The Celtic God of Fire is associated with the warm hillside vineyard of Bollenberg in Alsace. That Celtic god was Belen or Belenus and he was also associated with pastoral life. The Mont de Belen is said to be an ancient place of sun worship and indeed it still enjoys “an exceptional amount of sunshine.”

The general timeframe of grape growth and wine production is about five or six years. The aim at d’Orschwihr is to develop a sustainable and environmentally friendly viticulture which produces a raw material that in turn produces remarkable wine. This is achieved by applying certain principles and you may read about the château’s philosophy here

Chateau d’Orschwihr Riesling Bollenberg Alsace (AOC), 13%, €19.30 Karwig Wines


Colour is an appealing light gold. There are white fruit aromas, with citrus prominent. The palate is mouth-watering and flavourful, well structured with a balancing backbone of acidity, well balanced all the way through to the long rich finish. This gorgeous golden wine is Very Highly Recommended. Try with seafood and fish, not forgetting freshwater fish, pork and poultry too.

Chateau d’Orschwihr Gewürztraminer Bollenberg Alsace (AOC), 14%, €21.85 Karwig Wines.

Again, we have a lovely gold colour. Intense aromas, fruit, hint of honey. Intensity of fruit on the palate also, a terrific mouthfeel too, and a rich finish.  Some sweetness too. After all, the residual sugar count is 9.3 gr/l, about twice as much as the Riesling. But it is pretty well camouflaged by the other elements. Very Highly Recommended.

Match, they say, with spicy Asian dishes of fish and meat, especially Japanese food.
My tip, tried and tested: Try it with Citrus White Chocolate Truffles by Skelligs Chocolate.











Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Three Delightful Whites. Chapeau Chaps!

Three Delightful Whites
Chapeaux Chaps!

We have been traveling all over to assemble this top notch trio of white wines for you. Maybe just a trio but they amount to quite an orchestra, maybe even capable of a symphony. The traveling has not been done by me personally but by the folks from Wine Mason, Mary Pawle and Le Caveau. They have bought well. So, let us doff the hats and say Chapeaux to the chaps and chapesses!


Turner Pageot Le Blanc 2015, Languedoc (AOP), 14%, €19.95 Bradley’s, North Main Street, Cork.

Colour is a shiny pale gold. The nose, slightly honeyed, is of ripe apricot and exotic fruit. Ripe fruit abounds on the medium-dry palate. This is fruity, rich and round and quite a powerful wine with a long and mineral  finish. Very Highly Recommended.

It is an organic blend of Roussane (80%) and Marsanne (20). Turner Pageot, imported by the Wine Mason, produce a range of “gastronomic wines” and say the striking colourful collage on the label suggests exciting food and wine matches.

And the food and wine pairings they suggest are Fish and crustaceans in sauce; Saint Jacques with black truffle; Pike dumplings Nantua sauce; Noble poultry; White sausage. Old-fashioned veal blanquette. Mushrooms with cream. 

Noble poultry, how are ye! Well, come to think of it, there was some right royal Irish chicken in the Thai Green Curry from Cinnamon Cottage. I tried the wine with that delicious dish and they got on very well together!

Diwald Goldberg Grüner Veltliner, Wagram (Austria) 2013, 12.5%, €20.75 Mary Pawle Wines

The low-yielding vineyard overlooks the Danube and this organic trocken (dry) white wine has spent 8 months on lees. Importer Mary Pawle recommends matching it with scallops. It is often recommended with Asian also. Indeed, Grüner Veltliner is a very good food wine, very versatile, so much so that sommeliers regularly mention it, especially if a small group is hesitating over which wine to order.

This Diwald bottle boasts an attractive light gold colour. You’ll first meet its light fruit (apples, citrus) and white pepper on the nose. A tingly feel introduces it to the palate, that clean fruit fresh is there too, balanced by a lively and lovely acidity. Very Highly Recommended.

Framingham Classic Riesling, Marlborough 2009, 12%, €22.65 Le Caveau
Colour is an inviting rich yellow. Floral and citrus elements in the aromas and a hint of diesel too followed by a mouthful of delicious complex flavours. It is just off-dry with a little sweetness in the mix - think Mosel rather than Rhine.

Texture has been reinforced by some six months spent on lees. Balance comes from the juicy acidity and the finish is long and drying. Overall quite a rich Riesling and a Highly Recommended one.


The diesel is almost always an unwanted distraction for me in New Zealand (and Australian) Rieslings but here it is just about noticeable and hardly at all with food, especially with that delicious Skeaghanore Smoked Duck Breast.