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Wine Dinner – Anges in Tipp

November 13th, 2012

We are delighted to welcome over Florent Chave, chief winemaker at Domaine des Anges to Tipperary for a night of wine, fun and food in the famous McCarthys of Fethard. You can buy tickets here.

Florent Chave of Domaine des Anges

Florent Chave of Domaine des Anges

This Irish owned vineyard has long been a favorite of our customers and what better way to start the Christmas run in than with a tapas style wine night.

interior_night_mccarthys

McCarthys of Fethard has long since been a famous pub, so much so that they have been afraid to change the interior since 1847. As well as a great pub, it also hosts a great restaurant and a great wine list. They take the vine very seriously here, so book your tickets now for this event sold out very quickly last year and we expect this one to follow suit so get your tickets now.

domaine-anges-logo1

Tickets are only €40 and can be booked online or via Red Nose Wine at 052-6182939 or email info@rednosewine.com – Book now. A night not to be missed.

Article – Horses for Courses

May 24th, 2012

The communions are in full swing as I write this on a sunny / cloudy Saturday morning. I passed a good few white dresses and stressed parents on the way into work this morning. We have a five year old’s birthday to contend with but it seems less daunting than the communions.

Knobbly knees and Dairy Milks

My memory of my communion is my neighbour buying me a red confirmation rosette instead of a white communion one. Everyone noticed and laughed outside St Marys church. At least my mother didn’t dress me in shorts like some of the lads. The sight of the knobbly knees brigade deflected away from my Red rosette. There were no wine laden dinners in those days or €50 notes in a card. Careys Lounge was the post communion setting and Dairy Milk the reward for making the big step on your spiritual journey.

Anyway, memory lane is an indulgence the good wine public of Tipperary won’t suffer too much longer, so I better talk about wine. I want to compare wines to the breeding of horses, if I may. I recently joined the FUSE initiative, which is an networking organisation among businesses in the South East of Ireland. They organised a breakfast meeting in Coolmore this week and I jumped at the chance to attend.

I had never been there and have long been fascinated by what they do. I was lucky enough to attend the Ryder Cup in Ireland a few years ago and it was organised to such a word class level, it made me really proud to be Irish. Coolmore had a similar effect.

The Great Galileo

I am way off the point now, but in an attempt to be succinct, Coolmore is a world leader, and sets worldwide standards for others in their industry to try and reach. It is an example of what the Irish can do well, but it is coupled with an execution and vision that sets it apart. I came out of the visit very inspired, and I got to meet Galileo. I was hoping to meet Dylan Thomas as he made me some nice money a few years ago. I owe him at least a lump of sugar.

A fine Tipperary Stallion

A fine Tipperary Stallion

Hey Camelot – who’s your Daddy?

A good friend on mine in London, originally from Clonmel is an avid follower of Ballydoyle and the great Aidan O Brien. He has put a ‘small’ wager on a horse called Camelot in the Epson Derby. The horse is favourite so why is that strange? He placed the bet ante post at over 20-1. I have a very nice case of wine set aside for his hopeful winnings.

Who's your Daddy

Who's your Daddy

Communions, stallions and very little wine – what are we to do. Those familiar with Coolmore will know about a horse called Northern Dancer, and his son Saddlers Wells. My mate Galilieo is a son of Saddlers. The breeding in this line of horses has created a roll of champions that is the envy of the racing world. Wine is quite similar, but slightly different.

The 1855 classification in Bordeaux tells us what were the great wines of that year, and bye and large, they still hold true. They were broken into five groups with the 1er Cru at the top. One of these five is Chateau Margaux and it was regarded the very best estate in Margaux back then, and still is. Chateau Latour and Lafite are still seen as the standard bearers for Paulliac. Their ‘breeding line’ has stood the test of time.

Chateau Margaux – the Coolmore of Wine

Chateau Margaux - the Coolmore of Wine?

While I appreciate that vines don’t breed as a stallion and brood mare might, the fact exists that the same vines are consistently producing great wines year after year. Over 150 years after their greatness was recognised, they are still the standard bearers. While the root vine and terroir are a part of this, there is also constant reinvestment and the attention to detail is staggering.

There are many examples of vineyards within the list that didn’t maintain their attention to detail and have fallen back into mediocrity. While they maintain their place on the list, the prices paid for the wines reflect their true standing.

The manicured vines of Chateau Margaux

The manicured vines of Chateau Margaux

Equally, if I go out and look for a pieball pony and breed it with any old willing mare, there is a good chance its offspring will not challenge Camelot or any of his siblings at Epsom. I could go and buy a few hectares in the south of France and go and make wine. I can be as meticulous as I like, but if that land is not suitable for making great wine, I will join the many who live in the pleasant world of mediocrity.

That is not a bad place to be, as long as you know where you are. I must stress I am talking about the top end of wine here. This should not take from the fact that most of the wines we drink and gain pleasure from do not fit into this elite group. It should be stated that previously unheralded parts of the world have created superstar wines. The Languedoc is now producing some of the finest wines in the world. They are a fraction of the prices of the top Bordeaux and Burgundy. Seabiscuit does exist in the wine world.

If Seabiscuit was a vineyard

Places like the Terrases du Larzac always had the ‘breed’ in the land, but it was never properly harvested. Bulk wines are all about volume, while fine wine is all about concentration. These two cannot co-exist so when serious wine makers came in, they brought execution and vision. The latest scores for La Peira have just been released and they are touching 100 points. I have tasted most of the top Bordeaux wines, and La Peira is a serious contender.

Jeremie Depierre shows me the cellars in La Peira

Jeremie Depierre shows me the cellars in La Peira

Many more experimental winemakers will go and get clippings from the great estates of the world transplant them to their vineyard. Aime Guibert of Mas de Daumas Gassac did this back in the 1970s in his now famous estate. People thought he was mad, but he grafted Burgundy Pinot Noir, Bordeaux Cabernet, Piedmonte Nebbiolo and many more to create a unique vineyard that was eventually described as the Grand Cru of the Midi.

The great Languedoc pioneer Aime Guibert and his son Samuel

The great Languedoc pioneer Aime Guibert and his son Samuel

A very fine affair in Ballymaloe

While his Grand Cru red is 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, there are 19 or so other varieties that Samuel Guibert describes as the salt and pepper. Samuel’s mother Veronique co founded the vineyard with Aime and she has written a book based on cooking among the vines in the Gassac Valley. I am honoured to co host an event for the launch of this book on August 2nd in Ballymaloe.

Darina Allen and her team in the famous Cookery School are having a long table dinner in the grounds of the school with Madame Guibert’s book being the inspiration for the menu. The Grand Cru wines are going to be served as the Allens and the Guibert’s talk and taste their way through a feast of food and wine. Get your tickets quick as this is a small intimate event.

Who’s coming to Epsom?

So, I will be cheering on Camelot on June 2nd and hoping to move a case of La Peira to my ante post hero. I may have to consider going over to Epsom to make sure all runs smoothly. Now there is a plan worth pursuing. We could organise a bus from McCarthys in Fethard. I’ll bring the wine if someone else brings the tickets.

The new Loyalty card scheme is proving very popular. The Silver cards are free, and after 10 stickers ( earned every time you spend €25 ) you get FREE WINE. You also get a Gold card and at the end of that, there is even more FREE WINE, and you move on to the revered platinum card. The May sale if still on, so call in for 20% off the Languedoc and South Africa.

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For anyone who would like more information and can’t make it into the shop, please feel free to contact me at info@rednosewine.com

“Life is much too short to drink bad wine”

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