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Showing posts with label Wine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wine. Show all posts

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.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Three Mid-Winter Reds. Santa Will Love Them.


Three Mid-Winter Reds. Santa Will Love Them.

Dear Santa. I have been a little bit naughty but I have said sorry am I still aloud a present. I would love these three bottles of red, please.

Hello CorkBilly: I heard about the naughty bit! We'll get over that. These three would work for the Christmas /festive season and or as winter warmers. They are sustainable and/or organic in the production of the wine.

And Marcus, who was an able deputy for Santa, says "these wines reflect the Liberty wines ethos and continue our sustainability focus and curb the effects of climate change by reducing our carbon footprint." You will also note that Rudolph will be wearing a nappy this year; Santa was in Killarney in July checking out the jarveys and their horses.



Bodegas Arráez Monastrell Barrica “Vivir sin Dormir” Jumilla (DOC) 2016, 14.5%, €18.99 Blackrock Cellar, JJ O’Driscoll Cork, Wineonline.ie

An eye-catching label and a rather fancy name draws you to this Spanish red on the shelf. The 100% Monastrell (Mourvedre in France) is grown organically on limestone soils in a high hot region 90 kilometres from the Mediterranean.

Colour is a dark ruby and the legs are slow to clear, confirming the 14.5% alcohol. Aromas are quite intense, cherry and plum noted. Intense too on the fruit-forward palate, warm and spicy also, good fresh acidity, a hint also of its few months in a mix of Hungarian, French and US oak. Good length on the finish also, the fruit still vibrant. A superb expression of the grape and Very Highly Recommended. Food match: Himalayan Salt Aged Cote de Boeuf. 



Blanville Merlot Pays D’Oc (IGP) 2017, 13%, RRP €14.99 Cinnamon Cottage Cork, Menloe Store Cork, Next door Off licence Ennis and  wineonline.ie

From the Sud de France comes a Merlot to appreciate. Colour is mid to dark ruby and in the aromas there is a mix of red and dark fruit, a hint of liquorice also. It is certainly a smooth customer on the palate, full of flavour with terrific balance, some sweet spice and plush tannins. This very approachable wine has a superb long finish and is Very Highly Recommended.

The family-owned estate, built parcel by parcel from scratch in 1997, recommend serving it at 16-17 degrees and pairing with red meat and cheese.

The year in the vineyard didn’t get off to the best of starts with a cold rainy winter followed by very frosty spring. Early heavy rains though helped the vines through the exceptionally dry and warm mid-summer and harvest, at the end of August, was “one of the earliest on record”.

Bernard and Beatrice Nivollet came from Paris to realise their dream of becoming wine producers and now have some 40 hectares. No chemical fertilisers are used as they practice “organic cultivation and biodynamics”.

Zabu “Il Passo Verde” Nero D’Avola Sicily (DOC) 2017, 13.5%, €17.99 RRP, McHughs Off Licence - Kilbarrack Rd, Baggot Street Wines, Finian Sweeney,   


This Vignetti Zabù organic wine is a dark ruby colour. Intense dark and red fruit aromas. Same intensity on the palate, elegant juicy fruit, spicy too, and no let-up in the long lingering finish. 

Quite an excellent expression of the Nero D’Avola grape, full-bodied and deep-coloured, and Very Highly Recommended, particularly with red meat and game; they also recommended medium aged cheese.

The vineyards were planted in 2005 around Lake Arancio in Sambucca di Sicilia. The crystal clear waters provides an ideal micro-climate for the low-yielding vines, and protects them from the heat of the summer. This too was a hot summer, just three showers in July and August!

Only the best grapes were selected and they had a long fermentation, the aim being to extract colour, body and aromas. Half were aged in barriques, the rest in concrete tanks, both for six months. 

Nero D’Avola, almost always part of a blend in the previous century, is now regularly bottled as a varietal. It is often compared to Syrah because it likes similar growing conditions (Sicily has a hot Mediterranean climate) and exhibits many similar characteristics.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Karwig Gems from Alsace and Ribeiro.


Karwig Gems from Alsace and Ribeiro.

Chateau D’Orschwihr Pinot Gris Bollenberg Alsace (AOC) 2010, 14.6%, €20.95 Karwig Wine

This is not your usual Pinot Gris.This is from the Alsace where they make them full-bodied, wines of substance and character. “At table,” says the World Atlas of Wine, “it offers a realistic alternative to a white Burgundy.” Different for sure but Very Highly Recommended.

For a start, you are advised to “Take your time to discover this golden yellow coloured wine”.

And that colour is amazing, a brilliant golden yellow, very much like you’d find in a dessert wine such as Monbazillac. The intense exotic nose gives ripe yellow fruits (apricots), floral notes too, even a hint of honey. The palate’s rich with flavour, a creamy mouthfeel, but with an excellent balance and persistent finish.

This full-bodied wine, according to the chateau’s website, “is perfect with white meats, fish or seafood in sauce. It is particularly suited to fit scallop dishes”. 

I think though you can be more adventurous. Bolder suggestions include broiled salmon, rich lentil stews, roast duck and washed rind cheeses. And, with the hints of sweetness (it does have a sugar content at 9g/l), I tried it with a few pitted Tunisian dates (from Bradley’s of Cork) and thought they went perfectly well together. Different strokes for different folks!

Cuñas Davia Ribeiro (DO) 2016, 13.5%, €24.95 Karwig Wine

This pleasant young red wine from Spain is not that widely available; just 2,125 bottles were produced from this vintage and the number on my bottle is #477. It is a blend of 40% Mencía 30% Brancellao 15% Caíño 15% Sousón, not the best known of grapes! Raised for 6-8 months in casks made from French oak and 6 months in the bottle.

It is lovely wine with a dark ruby colour, the rim a little lighter. Fresh and intense aromas of darker fruits (plum, cassis), hints of oak. Warm and smooth on the palate, black and red berry flavours, pleasant acidity, tannins are pleasant too, and there is a long dry finish. Highly Recommended.

The acidity marks it as a wine for food and the makers say it matches perfectly with Galician style octopus, blue fish, grilled meats and earthy casseroles.

Alberto joined his father Antonio García Carrasco in the vineyard in 2009. Alberto says his father “learned the basics of biodynamism - the interaction of cultivation, wine and the Cosmos - from my grandfather, along with a great respect for sustainability and the environment. With these principles, he founded Valdavia in April 2004. My sister, María, and I accompany him on this journey.”

Thursday, November 22, 2018

The Cecchins of Mendoza; Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon


The Cecchins of Mendoza 
Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon

According to Wines of South America, The Cecchins of Maipú, Mendoza, are a third generation wine family with a very strong focus on Carignan (though also well-known for their Malbec). They use horse-drawn ploughs and native yeast. The plots in their 27 acres of organic vineyards are bordered with aromatic plants to attract animal pests away from the vines.  If you’re lucky enough to visit and dine in their restaurant, you’ll see the fruit, walnuts and olive oil, all organic, are grown on the farm.

Familia Cecchin Carignan, Mendoza (Argentina) 2015,  13%, €18.50 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

The Cecchin Carignan has a purple colour, with a lighter rim. Earthy and savoury scents outweigh the expected fruit. On the palate, the fruit is the main element, a touch of spice too, tannins well integrated, no shortage of acidity and a lengthy finish. Light and refreshing and Highly Recommended.

Carignan is used mostly in blends, particularly in the Languedoc. It is rarely enough seen solo. Suggested food matches include Peppery Catalan sausage,  Spicy lamb meatballs, and Aubergine lasagne.

Familia Cecchin Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendoza (Argentina) 2015,  13%, €18.50 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

Fairly deep ruby red colour. Moderately intense aromas (black berries, cassis). No oak has been used. Straightforward Cabernet Sauvignon character on the palate, fresh and fruity and full bodied, full of vitality and noticeable acidity, good tannin structure and excellent length. This is a very dry wine, not at all related to the regular South American fruit bombs, and Highly Recommended.

Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world’s most widely grown grapes and this Mendoza effort is really good value especially when you see that the Screaming Eagle version from the Napa Valley will, according to Wine-Searcher, cost you over €3,000 a bottle! 

By the way, Wine-Searcher suggests Fillet steak with foie gras and truffles; Beef wellington with honey roasted carrots; Korean-style beef stir fried in garlic, soy and sesame, as a match for Cab Sauv.

Did you know that, in 1997, DNA profiling revealed the grape to be a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc which took place in 17th century southwestern France?


Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Wine Brief. Bradley’s Host Wine Tasting as Street Lights Shine



Bradley’s Host Wine Tasting as Street Lights Shine
Bradley's celebrate the switching on of the North Main Street Christmas lights this Friday with a wine-tasting in the famous old food and drink shop. The tasting, from 5.30 to 7.30, is in conjunction with Findlaters and there'll be a selection of reds and whites. You may well get something for Christmas table.

Rioja Reserva
Looking for a really versatile, food-friendly red?  This Marqués de Murrieta Reserva 2014 Tinto could be just the job, available at O’Brien’s at a reduced price of €20.95. See review here.


Australia Day Tasting
The 2019 edition date is January 31st. All the details on the poster. Do note this is a Trade tasting.


Chateau Feely
Do you love someone enough to gift them a share in a vineyard? Yourself? Pourquoi pas?Chateau Feely in Bergerac gives you the opportunity for this and more unusual presents. Check out their “classic vine share “. To order the excellent Feely wines for delivery in Ireland or to find a stockist near you please contact Mary Pawle organic wines info@marypawlewines.com .

Chateau Minière
One of the best wine tastings I ever had was outdoors at Chateau Minière in the Bourgueil area of the Loire Valley. 

Their broad range of vine ages and of soils allows the production of delicate fruity wines to be enjoyed young, as well as more full-bodied wines with great ageing potential with tannins that become silky over time. The “Vignes Centenaires de Minière” is a unique wine, produced from their oldest vines. I bought a fair bit of that during my visit but well gone now!

The good news is that you stay here nowadays - details here.  

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Three Country Wine Tour with Karwig's


Three European wines from Karwig's, each from a different country and each highly recommended. Take a trip!

Domaine de la Potardière Muscadet Sèvre et Maine (AOC) Sur Lie 2017, 12%, €15.95 Karwig Wine
Holiday feeling on the Loire.
Back in the 80s, and maybe earlier, many Irish motoring tourists, most having gotten lost in pre-peripherique Nantes, were venturing no further south than Brittany, and were dipping their beer trained beer stained tongues in French wine, mostly Muscadet or the even more ghostly (or should that be ghastly) Gros Plant. Muscadet at less then a punt a bottle was a great wine while on the hols but not so good when you got it home. Unless it was Sur Lie, matured on its lees.

Now we know what to ask for and with Sur Lie you do have a better chance though some other Muscadets can be fine as well. Muscadet, we thought, was the grape. It’s not. The grape is Melon of Burgundy; the Loire region (near Nantes) in which it is grown is known as the Muscadet area but apparently Muscadet is not an actual geographic place.

This bottle from Karwig’s has just the merest yellow colour, aromas of white fruit, melon prominent. It is lively and fruity on the palate - that holiday feeling - time on the lees has added a certain creaminess; it is totally fresh, a good citrusy finish, overall very engaging and easy to give it the thumbs up. Highly Recommended. Bring on those fish platters in the Relais Routiers, even a DIY selection from Pat O’Connell.

Food pairing tips  : Perfect accompaniment to oysters, seafood in general, fish, sushi.


Quinta do Valdoeiro Syrah Bairrada DOC (Portugal) 2015, 12.5%, €23.95 Karwig Wine

This is not your normal Syrah but is a very interesting one. The vineyard says it has a lot of potential and will “definitely grow in the bottle”. They point out that the striking minerality comes from the red clay (terracotta) soils, the freshness from the proximity of the Atlantic. It is naturally stabilised so sediment is a possibility and they advise serving at ten to twelve degrees. New oak has been used here.

Colour is an intense ruby. Aromas of ripe plums, cherry, also vanilla notes. On the palate it is fresh and fruity, spice, smooth with youthful power, lively acidity and persistent in the finish. Would certainly like to try it in a few years. For now, this very interesting Syrah is Highly Recommended.

Gran Passione Rosso Veneto (IGT) 2016, 14%, €13.95 Karwig Wine

This is an Amarone type wine at an un-Amarone price. It is from the area around Venice and is a blend of Merlot (60%) and Corvina. Corvina is the principal grape in red Valpolicella wines. The interesting thing here is that the grapes are naturally dried on vines for about 15 days. This process helps towards a more intense wine and that is the case here.

Colour is dark ruby. Very pleasant aromas of ripe fruits (cherry, plum), a touch of vanilla too. Velvety and concentrated black and red fruit flavours, mild spice and soft tannins, quite a long finish. Overall a rich and well-balanced palate and Highly Recommended. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Flirty Nouveau’s on her way but here’s some Beaujolais that will stay around.


Flirty Nouveau’s on her way but here’s some Beaujolais that will stay.

I’ve known for a while now that the annual Nouveau affair is not meant to last very long. She’s certainly a palate pleaser, with "more of a floral bouquet" this year, and even those wine-merchants who talk her down during the year are all so eager to sing her praises while she’s on the premises. By all means enjoy the date. But, when the one-night stand is over, it will be time to take a look for a more long-lasting relationship with Beaujolais and I've got a few mature suggestions from my little black book!

Chateau du Chatelard Brouilly, Karwig €19.25
Karwig Wines have relied on Chateau du Chatelard for years now and I’ve always liked their Brouilly (19.25). There are ten Crus in Beaujolais and Brouilly is the largest. This bottle has concentrated aromas and flavours. It may throw a little sediment so no harm in decanting it. Enjoy and look forward to a longer acquaintance!
Jamie Goode gave a
Beaujolais masterclass in
Cork earlier this year.

Juliénas, Domaine de la Conseillère, €20.95, O’Brien’s
This is pretty much faultless: expressive fruity aromas, well rounded, ripe fruit, long finish.

Chateau des Jacques Moulin À Vent 2012, €28.00 Mitchell & Son
A challenging vintage from the best known cru. Vineyard owned by Louis Jadot since 1996. This is a Burgundian style, oak included, the colour is towards Pinot Noir. At a Louis Jadot tasting with Findlaters earlier in the year, I found it very approachable, fruit driven with a refreshing acidity. In Moulin à Vent, the Gamay grape thrives on the granite soil and this spends 12 months in barrel!

Domaine Jean Foillard Cote du Py, Morgon 2013, €34.20 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny
This, from the second largest of the crus, is a standout wine.

Colour is a light ruby. Look closer and you’ll see a little cloudiness - no worries, this is a natural wine. Aromas hint of red cherry, berries too. The palate is out on its own, red fruits and a little spice, that typical balancing acidity again, tannins are fine and then a superb finalé.

The fact that the vines are grown on “one of the best sites of the entire Beaujolais region”, on an extinct volcano, plus the use of minimum intervention (the use of oak is minimal), makes this a rather unique expression of the Gamay. You could well settle down with this single vineyard Beaujolais gem.

Dominique Morel Fleurie (AP) Vieilles Vignes 2015, €23.99 JJ O’Driscoll’s Cork, Manning’s Emporium Ballylickey, Wine Online, World Wide Wines

In Fleurie, Gamay, always refreshing and never short of acidity, thrives on the granite soil. Fleurie is an excellent partner for a wide variety of lighter dishes.

Here the colour is mid ruby. Very aromatic with delicate cherry scents, floral notes too, an inviting melange.The silky palate is bursting with fruit flavours and tannins close to velvety, very elegant indeed with no shortage of the concentration expected here, more heft indeed than you'd expect, and with a long and satisfying finish.

This is an excellent example of the expressive Gamay, no doubt helped by the fact that the fruit was well ripened in the good 2015 vintage.

Beaujolais rocks



Villa Ponciago Les Pierres Bleues Morgon 2016, Searson's 21.95

The fruit is grown on a mix of blue schist and ancient igneous type rocks. Complex aromas, excellent fruit, some grip, acidity too and a superb finish. Very very impressive. In 2016 and 2017, the quantity of wine produced in Beaujolais was down because of hail but the quality was up.





Saint Amour, Maison Jean Loron, Domaine Des Billards, Classic Drinks.

If your love is on the serious side rather than flirty, then this Saint Amour is the Beaujolais for you and him/her. Colour is a youthful ruby with aromas of small red fruits combined with a spicy note of chocolate is unveiled quickly. In the mouth, the attack is round and supple, then a pleasant and persistent. A beauty from the most northerly Cru. The 2017 edition earned 16.50 from 20 from Jancis Robinson.


Sunday, November 4, 2018

Maryborough to celebrate Rhone Wine Week in style.

Maryborough to celebrate Rhone Wine Week in style.




Southern Rhone

The annual Rhone Wine Week kicked off on Saturday and I’m certainly looking forward to renewing acquaintance with two of the region’s gems during next Friday's Wine Dinner in the Maryborough Hotel. No doubt talented Chef Gemma Murphy's menu will prove a perfect match.

You'll be welcomed at 7.00pm with a Kir or a Kir Royale. After that relaxing start, you can looked forward to no less than six delicious courses from Gemma and her team in the kitchen. Your starter will be Torched Mackerel, cucumber, miso, yuzu and coconut, followed by a Quail consommé. A sorbet will delightfully cleanse the palate before the fish course (Sea bass).

Time to change over to the red wine now as the Venison Loin (with coffee and orange glazed salsify and Heritage beetroot) makes its appearance. And to finish it all off there's a Valrhona Chocolate and Praline Torte!

Simon Tyrrell
Les Deux Cols
The chosen white wine comes from Chateau Pesquie, based in Provence under the shadow of Mont Ventoux. It is the 2016 Le Paradou, a superb Viognier, apricot flavours, floral, fresh, and delicious. This was a grape that nearly died out in the 20th century and this excellent example showed just what we would have had missed.

Irishman Simon Tyrrell of Les Deux Cols is an unofficial ambassador of the Rhone where he makes a few wines, including ‘Cuvée D’Alize’, named after a local wind. Lots of winds around here, after all Ventoux is the windy mountain.

“My staple wine”,  he says, “a blend of Grenache 60%, Syrah 30 and Cinsault (the Pinot Noir of the South)." No oak here, just stainless steel. His idea was to make “a moreish wine”. Reckon he pulled it off!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Three Very Highly Recommended European Wines


La Boussole Pinot Noir Les Grandes Cotes (Pays D’Oc, IGP) 2015, 12.5%, €13.45 Le Caveau

Colour is a bright ruby and the aromas feature strawberries and raspberries. It is medium bodied, smooth and juicy. Light fruit flavours much in evidence as is a lively acidity, a little spice and an excellent fruity finish. Very Highly Recommended and great value too.


Winemaker Claude Serra employs, among other things, low yields and “a ruthless approach to quality control” to ensure a wine that reflects the variety and its terroir. And that terroir is in the Ardeche region of western Provence. The fact that it’s a cool-ish area helps the Pinot Noir.

By the way, if you ever have the good luck to be in the area, try the clafoutis! And try everything else as well. All with a glass or two of this Pinot, a very good food wine. Bon Appetit! 



Domaine Ste. Croix “La Serre” Vin de France 2016, 13.5%, €20.75 Mary Pawle Wines 

La Serre is the name of the limestone hill which overlooks the village of Fraïssé des Corbières. The wine is blended from the fruit of old vines grown on a limestone influenced terroir : Grenache Blanc (50%), Grenache Gris (35%), Terret Bourret (15%). Under the hot Midi sun, the vineyard produces delicious ripe fruit to make this organic dry white wine.

Colour is a mid straw and you’ll note lots of micro-bubbles hanging around in the glass. It has an aromatic nose with hints of honey. Citrus fruit flavours and a striking minerality share the spotlight on the palate. Lively acidity too and a long lip-smacking finish with the aromatics lasting the pace too. Very Highly Recommended.


M. Chapoutier Gigondas (AC) 2015, 14.5%, €34.95  Bradley's Cork

Like most Southern Rhone wines, this is a blend, mainly Grenache plus Syrah, Cinsault and Mourvedre. And it is made by a man whose philosophy is summed up by this sentence: I will not use the power of death (herbicides, pesticides, other -ides) but I will use the power of life.

And, from the dry hot Provencal climate (2,800 hours of sunshine each year), this dark ruby wine is full of life. Aromas of ripe red fruits, mainly strawberry, hints of kirsch. And magnificent fruit flavours feature prominently on the palate, well-balanced though. Chapoutier is always worth following, right to a very satisfying finalé in this case. No hesitation here: Very Highly Recommended.

The VHR was always on the cards here as both Chapoutier, “the Poet of the Rhone” and Gigondas are among my favourites. For more on this fascinating winemaker check here

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Excellent Portuguese Reds. + Wine Briefs


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.

Serve: Trinca Bolotas Red should be served at between 16ºC-18ºC.

I read the story of the local pigs on the bottle label: This pig is part of the "Porto Preto" breed, and meat from this pig is called black pork (pata negra i.e. black hoof). During the fattening-up phase, these pigs, which have never been crossbred, roam freely over the countryside and eat the acorns of holm oaks and seeds of cork oaks that are native to the area. The acorns are the secret that makes these pigs so special. The Alentejo pig or black pig (porco alentejano, porco preto) is a native of Portugal, the only surviving species of grazing pig in Europe. It is a gastronomic treasure, part of local cuisine since time immemorial. See more on the ham here.

The Alentejo pigs are classed as Iberian and therefore may be used to make the much desired Iberico ham (of which the Bellota is the highest standard of quality). So the Iberian pig is not exclusively Spanish. And if you can get your hands on the Portuguese ham, you know where to get a lovely wine to match it!

Casa Ferreirinha Esteva Douro (AOC) 2016, 12.5%, RRP €14.99, Stockists include JJ O’Driscoll Cork, The Cinnamon Cottage Cork, Bradley’s Cork, winesonline.ie


Mid ruby is the colour of this Highly Recommended Portuguese wine. Intense aromas feature fruits and floral plus a hint of spice. Light red fruits too and again some spice on the harmonious palate with polished tannins a benign factor. There is good acidity and the finish is long and dry. 

It is a welcome wine at the table. You could well come across it on restaurant lists - I enjoyed it recently at Killarney’s Great Southern - if you do see it, go for this easy drinking example of Douro reds.
Like many Portuguese wines, this is a blend and the grape varieties are Tinta Roriz (40%), Tinta Barroca (35), Touriga Franca (15) and Touriga Nacional (10).

Wine Briefs


Red Nose Wine
"We will keep this simple and tell you that we have added 10 more wines to the special 25-30% Offer wines and we even left a few from the last list on. You can see what wines are now on sale ( they include Mirabello Pinot Grigio, Gassac Picpoul30 Mile Shiraz, Chateau ValcombeBordeaux  and many more ) 

Lots open for tasting and don't forget, the Ladder SALE is still on until the end of the month

Beautiful Wines at Beautiful Prices."

+++++++++++++
Chateau Feely is a winery in Saussignac, a winery with an Irish interest. The excellent wines are imported by Mary Pawle. 

News from Chateau Feely https://chateaufeely.com/

Harvest 2018 took place under gorgeous Indian summer conditions. The good weather meant no need to rush and perfect timing for all the wines. Quality is excellent and quantity is more than last year's frost affected vintage but not as much as 2016. Read on for news of this happy harvest, the early season tour and course schedule, accommodation and more.