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Tuesday, May 21, 2019
The Copper Hen Adds a Royal Touch
to Tramore Food Scene.
The Copper Hen has flown its original home at Fenor and has perched in Queen Street, Tramore. And here, in a beautifully decorated building, you may now enjoy the superb food produced by owner-chef Eugene Long and his team. There are no less than three dining rooms in this long town centre building and, when the sun comes out, there’ll be al fresco dining in the garden patio as well.
They seem to have hit the ground running. Despite being newly opened, there were no hitches the other day when we called for lunch. Quite the contrary - everything was perfect, the food and service top notch.
Lunch is offered on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays while dinner’s available Wednesdays to Saturdays (from 5.30pm). You can expect extended opening hours when the holiday season kicks off in earnest. While the quality is very high here, the prices are not. And you can get even better value with the evening Early Bird offer, two courses for €24.00, three for €29.00.
We had spent the previous evening and indeed some of the morning at the West Waterford Food Festival, so weren’t exactly starving when we arrived in sunny Tramore.
There was a soup on offer but we went straight to the mains. From a good choice we picked what turned out to be two gems. I thought the Beer Battered Cod with lemon mayonnaise and handout chips (€14.00) would be good but the prospect looked even better when the cod ran out and I was “upgraded” to John Dory. Probably, the best fish and chips ever!
We were enjoying the food and the service and a lovely glass of wine. This was the Atlantik Albarino (7.95), aromatic and full of flavour and ideal for fish. The wine list here may not be the longest but it is very interesting (as you’d expect with Wines Direct as suppliers). All are available by the glass, by the way, which is great for the customers. For instance, if you start with mussels and a white, you can order a glass of red for your meat course.
Anyhow, that Albarino was superb with the John Dory and also with CL’s choice: Tiger Prawns tossed with garlic, Gubbeen chorizo and herb butter served with Seagull Sourdough (11.00). Another excellent and very enjoyable dish.
The Copper Hen is a terrific supporter of local produce and you’ll hardly get more local than the sourdough as it is made around the corner in the well-known Seagull Bakery, a very impressive bakery indeed. The Copper Hen make their own brown bread and that went down a treat, not least with a group of American ladies at another table.
Would we have dessert? Yes was the answer, but just the one, to be shared. There was a choice of five, all at €7.50. On the face of it, our Apple and Berry Crumble wasn’t the bravest of picks but it turned out to be a gem, beautifully made and presented - apparently they have a bit of a reputation on this one. If you do get the chance, do order one. One each!
20 Queen Street
Tel: 051 330179
Thursday, January 24, 2019
Wines, Spirits and Beers Events
Arthur Mayne’s Burns Supper
Some wee walkies too.
A night of literary celebration awaits as the annual Burns Supper returns to Arthur Mayne's!
This year we've teamed up with Chivas Regal and 3 of the other Cork Heritage Pubs Mutton Lane The Old Town Whiskey Bar at Bodega and Oval Bar to bring you a night to remember!
On Friday January 25th the trail starts here in Arthur Mayne's! recite your favourite Burns poem and join us for a glass of Chivas Regal 12 year old and a piece of fresh haggis!
See poster for details
Eight Degrees Tasting
Beer tasting at Kilbarry SuperValu, Tramore Road, Waterford.
Time: 14:00 to 19:00
Cans: Sesiún, Citra, Hurricane, Full Irish
On offer at 3 for €10
TODAY FRI AT 2 PM
Kilbarry SuperValu · Waterford
“Celebrate the end of your 'Janvier Sec' (we can't even say the words in this parish) in style with the return of our Mystery Box. Once again we have created a limited number of very special cases, heavily discounted and with Free Delivery included.” • 12 Bottles • 6 Red • 6 White • No Doubles • No Duds. €150. Details here https://winesdirect.ie/the-mystery-box.html
SuperValu Offers You Bubbles for Valentine’s
SuperValu have a bunch of bubbles on offer just in time for Valentines Day. The one I fancy is McGuigan’s Frizzante. I remember Neil McGuigan introducing that at a dinner in the Trident not too long ago - he just loved getting the most out of the pronunciation!
“It comes in a resealable bottle,” he said. “It is produced from Semillon grapes, it is easy drinking, for everyday”. Nothing wrong with easy drinking on Valentine’s either! It is fresh, soft, scented and grapey, with delicious lightness and good length. Best served chilled. And it is down from €14.99 to €10.00!
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’Atitude WINTER WINE SERIES
VOLCANOES & COASTS
VOLCANOES & COASTS
Thurs Feb 7th 7.00pm
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.”
Franciscan Well’s 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. 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, September 20, 2018
L’Atitude Scales New Altitude
Filling Me Softly With Her Food
|Stracciatella. Multo Bella.|
No secret that Cork’s L’Atitude 51 is one of the best wine-bars around. That’s been confirmed by awards, both local and national. But did you know they have a lovely food offering too? Number One Union Quay is certainly a place to take it easy, easy drinking and also easy eating, sometimes easy listening as well.
Here you can go from aperitifs to small plates to large plates and have a lot of fun doing so. No shortage of variety here with a range of dishes that distinguishes L’Atitude from the mainstream. Who, for instance, is doing Toonsbridge Stracciatella?
But, I’m getting ahead of myself. There is a huge wine menu here, page after page of organic and natural wines, and that is what we looked at first. Many are available by the 125ml and 175ml glass, a 250ml carafe and by the bottle. Some, the more expensive ones, are available by bottle only! Since we were in, we were going to try a few so the glass was our vessel choice for the evening.
And we started with the Crisp with Attitude Page, featuring wines that are lively, racy and mineral. CL made a very good pick: the Secateurs Chenin Blanc from the Badenhorst estate in South Africa while I enjoyed the Wines Direct import, the Paddy Borthwick Riesling from New Zealand. Sipped those as we tucked into a bowl of mixed olives.
The menu here is “less formal”, encouraging you to share as the dishes arrive from the kitchen. Oh, they also do a Plat du Jour. You’ll see that on the blackboard. On the night of our visit it was Tagliatelle with a lamb ragu and they coupled that with a glass of wine, all for around fifteen euro (if I remember rightly). And they also do lunch daily.
And soon we were sharing another dish, a much bigger one; the Tapas, at €18.50, is one of the more expensive ones on the menu, but a very impressive platter indeed, well assembled and well presented. It contains Coppa, Jamon, Pecorino, Toonsbridge Mozzarella, Charred Aubergine, Artichokes, Roasted Red Pepper and Caponata was irresistible and easily and lazily dispatched.
|Duck x 3.|
At this point, the wines had changed. I was on to the orange wine (lots of skin contact and yet a good introduction to the style for beginners) from Sicily, the cloudy Rallo Baglio with a fantastic concentration of the flavours. CL meanwhile was on safer ground with the Madregale Rosso, one of the best house wines around these parts.
Now with the Tapas and the basket of bread finished we sipped the wines and waited for the next batch of food! And that’s where the eye-catching palate pleasing Stracciatella comes in. Even though the two dishes came together, there was a duel around this beauty. It is the creamy filling you’ll find in Burrata (another Toonsbridge cheese). It is soft and fresh, it has to be. Presented on a bed of grilled aubergine and topped with Dukkah, it was temptation from the first bite, especially when spooned into the “pocket” breads that came with it.
The sharing continued with the Duck 3 Ways: Ummera Smoked Duck, Duck and Port Paté, and Potatoes sautéed in Duck Fat. Well, you know that Ummera’s Smoked Duck is a gem of southern cuisine yet the combination here somehow managed to put an extra shine on an already excellent product. Superb.
We were on to our final wines by now, both of us on the red. CL picked from the “Fruity with Attitude” section and came up trumps with a classic Pinot Noir by Regnaudot (Burgundy) while my final tipple was the Blaufrankisch by Austria’s Judith Beck, a winemaker that seems to be appearing more and more in this country. The plush Blaufrankisch, with generous fruit, is biodynamically produced and worth seeking out.
And L’Atitude itself, with its friendly service and informal style, is also worth seeking out either for wine or food or both!
1 Union Quay (corner opposite City Hall)
Sunday, July 1, 2018
The Aniar Experience.
Tastes of the West.
When I was a boy, I would fish for pollock in Belderrig with my Mayo cousins, using eels we had caught earlier in nearby mountain streams as bait. Later, with adult help, the pollock would be cooked over a few sods of turf. Not the handsomest of fish, but a delicious one.
|eel, kohlrabi. The eel is Lough Neagh.|
You are eased into the meal with four small bites, a multiple amuse bouche if you will. Three are pictured (above) and the fourth was a kelp and sea radish dashi. All were “amusing”, each tasty and each interesting.
|bread and butter|
So on we go to the Pollock and the Pine, a few green pine needles included so that you can try the citrus taste for yourself. Another eye-catching palate-pleasing dish is the Oyster and Wrack, the oyster has been slightly charred on top. The sea, oh the sea.
|lamb, baby gem|
You are not stuffed - nor should you be, anywhere - but neither are you in any way hungry. In that regard, it is comparable to the 12 course menu at Ichigo Ichie in Cork. Indeed, I thought I saw a Japanese character on the front of the Aniar menu but when I looked properly I saw that is Ogham, an ancient Irish alphabet, and of course it spells Aniar.
|beetroot (and below)|
King's Head Bistro
Kitchen at Galway City Museum
Getaway to the City of the Tribes. Galway
53 Lower Dominick Street
Tel: 091 535 947
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Local Grapes: Three Blends To Try
Local grapes feature in these three bottles, one each from Bordeaux, the Alentejo region of Portugal and Piedmont in Italy. While the Bordeaux grapes will be familiar to most of us, the local Portuguese and Italian grapes will be less so. Worth a try though!
Chateau Thieuley Bordeaux (AOC) 2015, 13%, €15.95 Wines Direct
I love Bordeaux (and Bergerac) whites, especially when Semillon is the main grape, and this excellent dry wine, rich and full flavoured, suits me very well indeed. Sec (dry) is highlighted on the front label and it has spent 3 months ageing on lees. The blend is Sauvignon Blanc (35%), Sauvignon Gris (15) and Semillon (50).
Colour is a clear gold/straw. There are rich aromas, exotic fruit plus floral elements. From its elegant and attractive nose, to its generous mouthfeel, its excellent freshness ad acidity, to its long finish, it is pretty much faultless, Well balanced and Very Highly Recommended. Should be superb with most kinds of sea fish including lobster and salmon, freshwater fish too.
Antonio Lopes Ribeiro ALR, Vinho Regional Alentejano 2012, 14%, €16.50 Mary Pawle Wines
The organic grapes for this blend grow in an wooded area planted with Pine, Oak and Chestnut. I though I got a hint of oak but maybe not as it is unoaked! Trincadeira, Aragonez (Tempranillo), Alicante-Bouschet and Touriga Nacional are in the blend and the wine-makers say “it goes with everything”.
This versatile medium bodied wine has a ruby red colour and red fruit aromas. Baked fruit and spice on the palate, moderate tannins, and a long dry finish. Highly Recommended.
* The lettering on the bottle could fool you into thinking it is AIR but no, the ALR comes from the initials of Antonio Lopes Ribeiro.
Valle Unite Ottavio Rubé Rosso 2014, Costa Vescovata, 13.5%, €14.55 Le Caveau
Costa Vescovata is a town in Piedmont and the Valle Unite is the winery. The grapes - it is a blend of Dolcetta and Croatina - are local and this organic wine is “a brilliant price/quality ratio” say Le Caveau. It is named after Ottavio Rubé, one of the founders of the co-op.
Colour is a deep ruby and there are strong, even “funky” red fruit aromas. Same strong fruit evident on the palate, a good input of spice too, also savoury flavours, quite grippy with excellent acidity. A decent finish too. A good buy and Highly Recommended. You can expect some sediment here so best to decant.
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Italian Wines From Recent Tastings.
A Short List Of Favourites!
Cantina Tollo Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (DOP) Bio 2015
Innocenti Rosso di Montepulciano (DOC) 2012
La Vigne di Sammarco Salice Salentino (DOP) 2014
La Vigne di Sammarco Primitivo di Manduria (DOP) 2015
Ciabot Berton Barolo (DOCG) “La Morra” 2011
Luigi Righetti Amarone della Valpolicella (DOCG) Classico 2012
Terrabianca Scassino Chianti Classico (DOCG)
Carminucci Naumakos Rosso Piceno Superiore (DOC) 2013
Fontanafredda Raimonda, Barbera D’Alba (DOC) 2009
La Stoppa, Ageno, Emilia, Emilia Romagna, Italy, 2011
Pighin Pinot Grigio Grave del Friuli (DOC) 2015
Cantina Sociale Gallura Vermentino di Gallura Superiore (DOCG) Gemellae, 2013
Carminucci Naumakos Falerio (DOC) 2015, 12.5%
Colle Stephano Verdicchio di Matelica (DOC) 2015
Terredora Di Paolo “Loggia Della Serra” Greco di Tufo (DOCG) 2015
Colutta Pinot Grigio Friuli Colli Orientali (DOC), 2015
Les Crêtes Petite Arvine Valle D’Aosta (DOP) 2012
Masi Angelorum Recioto della Valpolicella Classico (DOC) 2012
Context: The Modern History of Italian Wine
See the posts from the Italian series:
Montepulciano and Montepulciano confusion!
Pinot Grigio, one of the most popular grapes.
Pinot Grigio, one of the most popular grapes.
Monday, May 22, 2017
Pinot Gris, more widely known by its Italian name Pinot Grigio, is one of the most popular grapes around.
Quite often it doesn't have much flavour and is easy to drink and these wines are sometimes described as inoffensive, a kind of damning with faint praise. It's as if someone said your wife or husband is "an inoffensive little person, you'd hardly know he/she was there". Luckily, the two below have lots of character, character that you'll appreciate as you get to know them. You'll soon know you have a real wine in your glass. And nothing offensive about it at all.
|Giorgio (right) in Cork last year.|
* In a 2015 article in the Irish Times, their wine expert John Wilson said Pinot was the Genghis Khan of wine and went on to write about Pinot Grigio (one of its many offspring). Read the full article here.
Colutta Pinot Grigio Friuli Colli Orientali (DOC), 2015, 12.5%, €17.50 Wines Direct.
Colutta may well be a small operator but is present in Ireland, Czech Republic, Estonia, Russia, Vietnam, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, South Africa and, of course, United States and Italy. Giorgio Colutta took over the family vineyard in 1998 and The History of Modern Italian Wine credits him with being one of the influencers of the first decade of this century.
He is not organic; his emphasis, he told a group of us in Cork last year, is on being environmentally sustainable, it is easier to be organic in the south, he said. He uses mechanical control instead of herbicides, recycles rainwater and is self-sufficient with regard to energy consumption.
Modern Italian wine says “he used Pinot Grigio as his passe-partout to introduce the indigenous varieties”. These varieties include his amazing Schioppettino, which he showed in Cork.
Colour of the Pinot Grigio is straw yellow and there are fruit and floral elements in the bouquet. It is smooth and rich and full of flavour. Much more intense than your usual PG and no wonder Wines Direct regard it as “the best Pinot Grigio in Ireland”. A long finish adds to the pleasure. Very Highly Recommended.
The website tells us that the wine is left on lees until February to develop a better flavour and bouquet. It is not oaked and best served between 10 to 12 degrees.
Zenato Pinot Grigio della Venezia (IGT) 2015, 12.5%, €18.00 O’Donovan’s Off Licence
Zenato, well known for their reds, are on the fringes of Lake Garda and current wine-maker Alfredo Zenato heads the family’s drive to “produce affordable wines of exceptional quality”. And this is indeed an excellent expression of the grape, with more personality than most and a refreshing finish.
The colour is pale gold with green tints. A pleasant melange of citrus and peach in the aromas continues in the impressive palate, smooth and elegant right through to a persistent and grippy finish. A perfect wine for moules frites in the months ahead on the patio (finger crossed!). Highly Recommended.
Lovely as an aperitif and should go well with most of the lighter Italian and Italian style dishes. We tried it (didn't have that many options at the time) with salmon, risotto and pak choi and it worked very well.
See also (from current Italian series):
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Puglia: The Hot Heel Of Italy.
Two Cool Wines.
La Vigne di Sammarco Salice Salentino (DOP) 2014, 13.5%, €13.91 Wines Direct
Salice Salentino is the area and the grapes are Black Malvasia (20%) and Negroamaro (80%). Salice Salentino is one of dozens of DOC zones in Puglia, the heel of Italy, and the peninsula itself is called Salentino. Even though it is surrounded on three sides by the sea, there is very little cooling of the flat sun-baked land. It once had a reputation for over-ripe fruit and cooked wines. But, thanks to wines like this, that is changing.
You note inviting aromas of red berries when you pour this ruby red wine. There are wonderful ripe berry flavours on the palate, notes of vanilla, slight spice too, the tannins well reduced. Negroamara on its own can be tough and tannic but this property is countered by the Malvasia. The full bodied wine has power and pleasure in generous measure, all the way to and through the persistent finalé.
Very Highly Recommended. Importers Wines Direct recommend pairing it with pizza, bruschetta and lamb stew.
This another another gem from down south, full bodied, medium acidity, very dry and Very Highly Recommended. Good value too.
Colour is ruby red. It is rich and plum-y, hints of vanilla too; very inviting aromas indeed. On the palate, it is warm and soft, opulent and fruity and this delicious classy Primitivo (the grape known as Zinfandel in the US) has a lovely long finish. You’ll be hard pushed to get a better example even at double the price.
See also (from current Italian series):