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Press Release – Charity Wine Tasting November 24

October 26th, 2016

Red Nose Wine attracts exciting winemakers for charity wine tasting

Red Nose Wine has announced an exciting charity wine tasting will take place on Thursday, 24th of November at Raheen House Hotel in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary. Winemakers from Bodegas Sommos, Northern Spain, Chateau Viranel in Southern France and Champagne Duval-Leroy will all be present at the event showcasing some of their vineyards finest and sharing their stories. A representative from Liberty Wines, Red Nose Wine’s esteemed Italian Fine Wine import partner will also be showcasing the best of fine wines from Italy.

The team from Red Nose Wine will also be offering a large and diverse selection of wines and champagnes from their Christmas Collection for those in attendance. The event promises to be a great social event with an educational twist for those who want to learn a little or a lot while tasting on the night whilst raising much-needed funds for South Tipperary Hospice Movement.

Looking more closely at the winemakers in attendance, Bodegas Sommos is a unique vineyard in the Somontano D.O. located in Northern Spain. The winery has 350 hectares of vines spread over 5 vineyards. They like to experiment and use a wide variety of grapes including Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Grenache, and Pinot Noir to make their various red wines. Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer are used in their white selection.

Chateau Viranel will also be showcasing and although they have been making wine at Viranel in Saint Chinian since 1551, the vineyard has recently enjoyed a new lease of life as the next generation has taken over operations. Nicolas studied agronomy in Toulouse, travelled overseas to gain work experience in places as diverse as Peru, New Zealand, South Africa, Chile, and California. In 2003, Nicolas started overseeing the grape harvest at Viranel and Arnaud joined him in 2009, to handle sales and marketing.

Another family business, Champagne Duval-Leroy, has dedicated itself to the noble craft of champagne-making since 1859. Champagne pioneers, Duval-Leroy has always been driven by a quest for high standards and innovation in every aspect of the business, from quality, consistency and certification through to partnerships with sommeliers and chefs. It is a member of the very prestigious Relais & Chateaux partnership. Champagne Duval-Leroy have recently become the champagne of choice for the prestigious Cliff Group (who are also members of Relais & Chateaux), and their luxury hotels and restaurants in Ardmore, Co. Waterford, St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin and the new Cliff at Lyons in County Kildare.

Gary Gubbins, Proprietor of Red Nose Wine commented “we have hand-picked these winemakers to attend as I feel they each bring a very different offering to the table. Champagne Duval-Leroy is a traditional champagne house and I think patrons should take advantage of the rare opportunity to taste Grand Cru champagne. Bodegas Sommos’ different approach to winemaking is fascinating and I expect people will be impressed by this experimental and innovative approach to the winemaking process. We have been working with Arnaud and Viranel for a number of years and I always look forward to meeting up with him. He is always full of infectious energy and has the gift of the gab that I think people will enjoy and it helps that he has super wines to boot.”

Tickets are €15 with all wines on the evening sponsored by Red Nose Wine to ensure maximum funds are generated for the charity. For further information and bookings visit www.rednosewine.com.

For further information contact:
Carey-Ann Lordan, Red PR
T: 052 6184343 M: 087 9270730 E: clordan@redpr.ie W: www.redpr.ie
Gary Gubbins, Red Nose Wine
T: 052 6182939 M: 086 3326486 E: gary@rednosewine.com W: www.rednosewine.com

Gary Gubbins proprietor of Red Nose Wine and organiser of the fundraising event

Gary Gubbins proprietor of Red Nose Wine and organiser of the fundraising event

Viranel owners Arnaud (left) and Nicholas (right) to showcase a selection of exciting wines, share their story and answer your questions at the tasting

Viranel owners Arnaud (left) and Nicholas (right) to showcase a selection of exciting wines, share their story and answer your questions at the tasting

South Tipperary Hospice Movement – Photo of their offices located on The Quay, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary

South Tipperary Hospice Movement – Photo of their offices located on The Quay, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary

About Red Nose Wine

Red Nose Wine specialises in importing wine of the highest quality from smaller and family run vineyards. There is a lot of very good wine at a very good price in the world, but it is often hidden within its locality, be it in a small country village in Piedmont, or just a few steps away from a very famous Bordeaux chateau. The same can be said of Spanish, New Zealand and Chilean wines, to name but a few. The wines with the biggest advertising budgets are rarely the best wines at the best price. Our winemaker’s skills lie more in wine making than marketing, which makes them that little bit harder to find. We believe wine should reflect the people who make it as much as the place where it comes from.

About South Tipperary Hospice Movement

South Tipperary Hospice Movement is a community specialist palliative care service, providing support for people in South Tipperary/West Waterford with an advanced incurable disease. They support patients and their families in their own home as far as possible. They aim to deliver the highest level of individualised care showing respect, compassion and dignity to all persons in their care. The aim of the specialist palliative homecare nursing service is to focus on the quality of life which includes good symptom control, a holistic approach that takes into account the person’s life experience and current situation, care that encompasses both the dying person and those who matter to that person, and an emphasis on open and sensitive communication, which extends to patients, carers and professionals. They endeavour to provide a seamless system of care for patients and relatives from the time of diagnosis of cancer / motor neurone disease to death or discharge from the service.

The Winemakers

Winemakers from Bodegas Sommos, Northern Spain, Chateau Viranel in Southern France and Champagne Duval-Leroy will all be present at the event showcasing some of their vineyards finest and sharing their stories. We will also have our old friend Gerry from Liberty Wines, our esteemed Italian Fine Wine import partner, to showcase the best of fine wines from Italy.

Bodegas Sommos

Bodegas Sommos is a unique vineyard in the Somontano D.O. located in Northern Spain. The winery has 350 hectares of vines spread over 5 vineyards. They like to experiment and use a wide variety of grapes including Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Grenache, and Pinot Noir to make their various red wines. Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer are used in their white selection.
Since Red Nose Wine have introduced the range to Ireland, they have become a firm favourite with the press and the public.
Website: http://www.bodegasommos.com/

Chateau Viranel

Although they have been making wine at Viranel in Saint Chinian since 1551, the vineyard has recently enjoyed a new lease of life as the next generation has taken over operations.
Arnaud (photographed on the left) was big into sports and it looked as though he was going to become a sports teacher. Nicolas studied agronomy in Toulouse, travelled overseas to gain work experience in places as diverse as Peru, New Zealand, South Africa, Chile and California.
In 2003, Nicolas started overseeing the grape harvest at Viranel and two years later, he moved in and made it his home. Arnaud joined him in 2009, handling the sales and marketing side of the equation, and the rest is history.
“Today, working together, we’re writing a new chapter in the story of Viranel. We like to think that by combining our skills, energy and enthusiasm with the heritage that’s been handed down to us, we can bring something new to the table.” said the dynamic duo.
Website: http://www.viranel.com/en/home.html

Champagne Duval-Leroy

Another family business, this house has dedicated itself to the noble craft of champagne-making since 1859. Champagne pioneers, Duval-Leroy have always been driven by a quest for high standards and innovation in every aspect of the business, from quality, consistency and certification through to partnerships with sommeliers and chefs. It is a member of the very prestigious Relais & Chateaux partnership. Champagne Duval-Leroy have recently become the champagne of choice for the prestigious Cliff Group (who are also members of Relais & Chateaux), and their luxury hotels and restaurants in Ardmore, Co. Waterford, St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin and the new Cliff at Lyons in County Kildare.
Website: http://www.duval-leroy.com/en/home/

Charity Wine Tasting Event for South Tipperary Hospice Movement (STHM)

Date: Thursday, 24th of November 2016
Time: 7.30pm – 9.30pm
Location: Raheen House, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary
Members of the public are invited to purchase tickets for the wine tasting in support of South Tipperary Hospice Movement. The timing is ideal as this event is the start of the pre-Christmas party season and a great time to get your Christmas wines selected in good time for the big day. There will be competitions and much more on the evening also. Tickets must be purchased in advance and early booking is advised.

Tickets

Tickets are superb value at €15 with all wines being sponsored by Red Nose Wine to ensure maximum funds are generated for South Tipperary Hospice Movement on the night. To book online please visit www.rednosewine.com and tickets are also available from the South Tipperary Hospice Movement Office on The Quay, Red Nose Wine, The Regal Centre and Marian’s Bookshop, O’Connell Street, Clonmel. Tickets are also widely available throughout county Tipperary from STHM Support Group and usual STHM ticketing outlets.

The Birth of Red Nose Wine … How it All Began

September 21st, 2016

Once upon a time, and engineer moved to France …

The birth of a wine business … the weeks the banks pulled down their shutters on the world economy, Red Nose Wine – the difficult child born out of 2 years living in France and an MBA on my return to Ireland. We are 8 years old… this is how it all began.

Introducing Mas de La Barben

May 21st, 2014

A range of new wines are arriving and we will do our best to introduce you to them all. First up is a tiny winery i found during my trip to ViniSud in Montpellier in February. We are always looking for quality wines that over deliver and this is most definitely one of these. A little gem outside of Nimes and I got the chance to call there on a recent trip.

Gary meets winemaker and owner Damien & Cathy of Mas de La Barben

Gary meets winemaker and owner Damien & Cathy of Mas de La Barben

They have a range that they call L’Improviste which has an absolutely fantastic Red, White & Rose and at a great price. These wine are all €13.99 but offer a taste of the south – the vineyard is where Provence meets the Languedoc.

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Click on the links for each wine to see the tasting notes.

When you step up a gear, you get to the Lauzieres Range. The Red is a blend of Grenache and Syrah and is dark ruby in color and on the nose, has matured black fruits and morello cherries and spices. If this was a few miles up the road in Chateauneuf du Papes you would talking serious money but this is a steal at €17.99

The white is a real special occasion wine and has 10 months in oak. It is golden in color and has an inviting buttery nose. There are aromas of ripe white fruits. It has nice roundness on the palate with notes of caramel latte and white pepper.

If you really want to go all out then their multi award winning Sabines is a rare wine indeed. The vineyard have held back the wines until they are ready. This vintage is 2007 and is 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache with 24 months in oak. This fantastic wine has a rich, deep color. It has red and black fruits aromas, mixed with espresso and mocha notes, are followed by spicy, garrigue (laurel, rosemary) aromas and hints of menthol. Tiny amounts available but a steal at only €25

Call in soon as we will have these wines open for tasting – we think you are going to love them.

The Easter Article ( albeit a little late )

April 5th, 2013

What did you give up for lent? I gave up caffeine, sugar and bread. It was part of this regime I am partaking in with a bunch of lunatic warriors I started training with last summer. We swing Kettle Bells and do Crossfit challenges and all seem to share a slight addiction to pain, but with lots of gain. I can’t wait for my cup of coffee on Easter Sunday, served in bed ( hint to no one in particular ).

I was supposed to give up alcohol as part of it, but decided that coffee was enough of a sacrifice. I’m not super human, some times I barely even feel human, but that’s a different article. I do know that some people did give up the drink ( does wine really count? ) for lent. However, your day is nearly here. Easter Sunday will see you ready to enjoy a very nice bottle with the dinner. I am here to offer you guidance and support.

Easter offers a great excuse to trade up and enjoy the finer wines with your dinner. We will be closing the shop on Good Friday, so you’ll need to be in Thursday and Saturday to buy your special wines. While chocolate can of course be matched to wines with varying levels of success, I think lamb is a more suitable delicacy to pair up for that Easter Sunday dinner.

Lets blame the Greeks for everything

Lamb has some classic pairings that are already engrained in the wine vocabulary. There are a number of reasons for this. Going back thousands of years, to ancient Greece and into old France, Spain and Italy, the most popular meat was lamb. The sheep often grazed in the vineyards so the pairing was almost instinctive. Go to Greece (or even your local kebab shop) today and there is quite a lot of lamb on the menu. But add to this practicality, and the fact that the flavour of the lamb lends itself perfectly to wine.

I have my own favourite combinations when matching wines to lamb. It often depends on the cut of lamb and how it is prepared. If money is no object, then I would suggest a Pauillac from the Medoc region of Bordeaux. If your budget can’t stretch to a 1st growth Château Mouton Rothschild or even a 5th growth Lynch Bages, then there are plenty of substitutes.

Claret Anyone?

There are lots of really good value Bordeaux wines out there and it is the dry tannic nature of the Cabernet Sauvignon that reacts so well with the lamb. In fact we just took in three new Bordeaux’s ranging from €11.99 to €13.99. But why Cabernet and why Bordeaux?

For some it is the minty herbal nature of Cabernet that pairs so well with the lamb, and others think this is a load of rubbish. Pinot Noir tends to show off different sides of the lamb, so if it is not overly lean, I think the Pinot Noir can offer some great flavours.

A good rule of thumb is that a chewier meat should be matched to a chewier wine, and by this I mean a younger tannic wine. The meat will make the wines seem smoother than they would be on their own. Other wines that go with Lamb for much the same reasons are Spanish Rioja’s and Italian Chianti or Sangiovese varieties. The really great news is that I have a huge selection of all of the above at all prices.

If you wanted to get some great value for your purchases and were willing to step off of the road a little and go to a region that is not quite as famous, you can really do well. I’m talking about swapping your Rioja for a Navarra or for a Valencia. Try a Tuscan Sangiovese instead of a Chianti. You’d be surprised how good they can be. One of my best wines is a humble Cotes du Rhone but it is made by the man who makes my Chateauneuf du Papes and it punches way above it weight. Grapes find their expression in both the place and the winemaker’s guiding hand.

What about those white drinkers

For the white wine drinkers, I think you will be fine if you go with a heavier style wine. The Archange wine from Domaine des Anges is a perfect example of a full bodied oaked wine that would sit wonderfully with lamb. You could also try an oaked Chardonnay from Burgundy or possibly even the white wines from Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s estate in Provence, Chateau Miraval. Brad and Angie have recently gotten involved themselves.

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As mentioned the last time, we are finalizing plans for another wine course. This time we are looking at a few different options. We plan to repeat the classic 5 week course on a Thursday night but we are also looking at a slimmed down ½ day version, more than likely at the weekend.

Depending on interest, we have also investigated the possibility of some Magical Mystery Tours. This basically means a mini bus, a foodie destination with lots of wine to match. You do the drinking, we organize the driving. We can’t do it if we don’t get the numbers, so get in contact and express an interest ( if you have one ).

In the last article I mentioned Cheltenham and the few horses I chance every year. I’m delighted to tell you all that I ended up winning the Dalys Bar tipsters competition much to the horror of some of the more seasoned tipsters. I owe some of my genius selections to a Clonmel man living in Twickenham. Thanks Nigel.

Don’t forget to log onto the blog at www.rednosewine.com/blog or follow the ranting on Twitter – www.twitter.com/rednosewine

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”

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.

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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.

5 week Wine Course in Tipperary

September 26th, 2012

We are delighted to announce that we are finally holding our first wine course. It will be a 5 week course commencing Thursday October 11th and will cost €75 person. It will run from 7.30pm to 9pm every Thursday for 5 weeks.

While we have a set course outline, we are also open to adapting it to what the people want to learn about, to a degree. Ernest Hemingway once used the phrase “A Moveable Feast” about Paris and we would like the course to be like this.

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In saying all of that there are core fundamentals that we think you would benefit from learning, so this course will be aimed at the beginner but hopefully there will be enough for all lovers of the vine.

The basic outline will revolve around :

• What is wine ?
• How to Taste Wine
• Wine Serving & Storage

• Grape Varieties – 3 White & 3 Red

• Wine & Food

• Wine Regions

• Wine Styles ( Dry, Fruity, Sweet & any many more )

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We will be bringing the class offsite for at least one of the nights. We will do the food-matching portion of the course in a suitable venue, where we can enjoy both wine and food. We are not entirely sure where yet and this is not included in the €75, but we will keep this cost down to a minimum. We will negotiate a set menu and heavily subsidize the wine.

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To secure a place on the course, please contact us during shop hours on 052-6182939 or email us on info@rednosewine.com to book your place. Bookings are only secure with payment. Updates will be posted on www.facebook.com/RedNoseWineFanPage

“Life is much too short to drink bad wine”

When Darina met Veronique

July 19th, 2012

We are delighted and proud to be associated with a very special event on August 2nd in Ballymaloe Cookery School. Madame Véronique Guibert de La Vaissière of the iconic Mas de Daumas Gassac vineyard in the Languedoc will present her new cookery book, ‘Savours and Flavours of Mas Daumas Gassac’. To celebrate its launch Darina Allen is having a Long Table Dinner under the unique setting of the Ballymaloe Glasshouse.

A Long table to be filled with food, wine and people

A Long table to be filled with food, wine and people

The food will no doubt be wonderful as it always is in Ballymaloe, but from a wine perspective, the only wines being served at this event are the Mas de Daumas Gassac Grand Cru wines, and they are included in the price.

One of the many rows in the Glasshouse

One of the many rows in the Glasshouse

Two iconic families – one shared vision

Samuel Guibert, Darina Allen and Gary Gubbins

Samuel Guibert, Darina Allen and Gary Gubbins

Aimé & Véronique Guibert, and their family, of iconic French wine estate, Mas de Daumas Gassac, are responsible for what has been described as ‘ The only Grand Cru of the Midi’ , writes Hugh Johnson, and the legendary wine writer, Michael Broadbent described Gassac as ‘ one of the 10 best wines in the world’. Red Nose Wine are proud to represent Mas de Daumas Gassac in Ireland. We have had many a good night with them in the past, both in Ballymaloe and in Clonmel.

Gary Gubbins with Aime and Samuel Guibert

Gary Gubbins with Aime and Samuel Guibert

The Guiberts

The Guiberts

In the introduction to her cookbook, ‘Savours and Flavours of Mas Daumas Gassac, Mme Guibert – ‘… this extraordinary place which had been caringly cultivated for thousands of years and now our home…mealtime around the table are the most special moments, the most beautiful time , deeply imbedded in the memory of all. It is this happiness that I evoke and wish to share with you’

The keeper of the glasshouse

A few weeks ago I called down to see Colm McCan in Ballymaloe, the Tipperary sommelier and a great champion of Gassac wines. He gave me a tour of the Cookery School, the farm and the Glasshouse, which is a very impressive acre under glass. They even have a vine.

A vine in Co. Cork

A vine in Co. Cork

Eileen O Donavan holds court in the glasshouse and we got her to explain exactly what they grow and what might we expect to be eating at the Long Table Dinner..

What exactly is happening

4.00pm Welcome drink and canapés – Mas de Daumas Gassac Rosé Frizant.

4.30pm Darina Allen and Mme.Véronique Guibert de La Vaissière will welcome all with a presentation,

5.30pm/6.00pm Guests move to the glasshouse, through the farm and gardens, to the ‘Long Table Dinner’. Menu by Rory O’Connell, inspired by the cookbook, ‘Savours and Flavours of Mas de Daumas Gassac’ matched with the Grand Cru wines of Mas de Daumas Gassac.

There might even be some music

There might even be some music

Dinner €120 (including wines) – Advance booking essential
Proceeds will go to East Cork Slow Food Educational Project
Please Email the Ballymaloe Cookery School at info@cookingisfun.ie to reserve a place

Gary and Mike’s Bon Voyage

May 21st, 2012

Our good friends at Curious Wines have put a trailer together for a video of a trip myself and Michael Kane ( not the actor ) made last year to Mas de Daumas Gassac and La Peira in the Languedoc.

I have the footage as well, so if they hand me on the edit, I can always put out a behind the scenes version. I will post the ‘film’ and its sequel as they are published. Here’s the teaser …

A Guest Blogger – Forever Young

April 12th, 2012

I grew up in Cherrymount on the outskirts of Clonmel and have great memories of playing football on the old tennis court and buying sweets on a Saturday morning in Deccies shop with my 50p pocket money. I lived up the back of the estate and my cousin Alan lived in the front. Conor O Mahony made up the trio of Cherrymount Musketeers.

Bob Dylan & The Nationalist

As we grew older we went in different directions and lost touch as childhood friends often do. Conor is sadly no longer with us as he died unexpectedly of Sudden Cardiac Death following a football match in Dublin in 2006. However it turns out for as much as we had in common as kids, we had a lot in common as adults. We both play guitar, love Bob Dylan’s music, travelling and we both have been known to write our thoughts on paper and The Nationalist have been kind enough to publish them.

Forever Young

I was living in Paris when Conor’s travel journey was published in the Nationalist so it was not until I read the book that has recently been published that I knew about his articles. His father Brendan (of Clonmel Travel fame) walked a part of the Camino to Santiago de Compostela in Spain to raise funds for CRY, a charity that raises awareness, offers support for families and also offers access to Cardiac screening for anyone who might feel they are at risk.

Brendan gathered all of Conor’s travel diary entries and added his own section on the Camino and a book that celebrates Conor’s life and raises money for a great cause was born. The book is called Forever Young, after one of Bob Dylan’s songs. It is one of Conor’s ( and coincidently one of my ) favorite songs. I have played and sang this song to my kids when they were small babies. I also made a promise in 2004 to walk the Camino someday, but that’s a story for another day, and involves high heels.

With kind permission from Brendan and Margaret, Conor’s parents, I am going to share one of his articles with you, where he visits a well known winery in Australia. To set the scene, he is backpacking his way up through the Hunter Valley with a bunch of people of a certain age who are enjoying life. Conor’s piece starts here.

Conor’s Wine Trip

“I’m on the OZ Experience bus, which will take me up the east coast, but inland, rather than on the coast, if you get my drift. But first we are heading towards a spot, more a region actually, a place that is famous for its wine – Hunter Valley. I have run out of superlatives for the scenery

The Hunter Valley could be described thus! Grapevines rolling over verdant hills, like well-drilled infantry and all in the cause of wine. I never thought I’d see where, for example, Rosemount wines were made. It has the familiar logo on the gate and on the way in we pass Lindemans and Coopers as well. As it happens, our guide John has factored in a tasting at Rosemount. Better still we are taking a tour around and the tasting and lunch will follow for those who want it.

Conor on His Travels

First we are shown the Hunter Valley ‘cellar door’ tasting. This is an Aussie tradition – you just drive up to the door of these huge warehouses and there is a sham inside who will give you a free tasting of the vineyard’s produce. It’s all done very informally but in that curious Australian way also all very professional and sales oriented – as Kenney Everett would have said ‘in the nicest possible way’. The guy who is doing the tasting is a dyed in the wool denim clad workmanlike Aussie – nothing poncy about this operation – all about good wine and very much to the point He places a couple of bottles of red and white on a barrel top tables and a sheila – Aussie affectionate name for a young lady places glasses and pours.

We have had a few glasses of Rosemount – the red Shiraz is cheeky with big fruit flavours – and the Semillon white is a fruity little wine with overtones of slate and lemon. I’m getting the hang of this wine lark. Some of us are feeling no pain – it’s 11 o’clock in the morning – because we ignored the advise to spit the wine out after tasting it – I mean imagine telling anyone, especially an Irishman, to spit out good – very good – free wine into a spittoon? ‘No way Bruce’ as they say in Queensland. Eventually we reluctantly left this cellar or even stellar experience and went on with the tour.

The most popular brands are the ones we know at home: Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Semillon, Pinot Noir, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc. The Aussies were crafty because, rather than do what the French do and name the wine after a region or vineyard, they label with the grape variety and this along with hi tech production saw Australian wines take off in popularity worldwide. Now we got down to the nitty gritty. Our wine lecturer, Sheila is an expert on wine, how grapes are grown, picked, processed, turned into wine, bottled and sent to points of sale worldwide.

Major wine producers from abroad now own Australian wineries, and Australian companies have taken controlling interests in wineries in countries such as France and Chile. The oldest grapevines in the world are here in Australia. Many of Europe’s established vineyards were destroyed by disease in the 1800s, but the vines brought to Australia survived. Funny how a quirk of fate can work in a positive way for some. Wine production here is different. There are no big wooden vats and no wooden barrels, these are used later to age the wine.

The Australian theory is: sell it young without pretension, so instead there are huge stainless steel vats in which the wine is stored. There are no chemicals added but Sheila tells us about bouquet, nose, taste for different parts of the tongue and the one I liked best: ‘length’ of the wine – this is the mmmm and tongue and lip smacking exercise that goes of after the wine is swallowed.

She also reveals that the secret of Australian wine success is control. The wine is popular because only sugar is added. Resident chemists analyse the wine each year and make sure the quality, taste, colour are the same. This may sound boring but it’s what happens to the bulk of the wine and the success is due to the fact that if you drink a 1995 bottle of wine and like it and you buy a 2002 bottle, the experience and the taste is going to be the same – the exact same.

Then our hosts decide to test us and have a competition. They bring out ten glasses of red wine and tell us that only one is a Rosemount ‘Who was poyin’ attinshun?’ Sheila asks. The prize: a bottle of champagne for the table. I got nominated to represent the group mainly because I was still able to stand up and wasn’t hammered like the rest of the crew. I hammed it up and did all the things were told on the course. I stuck my nose way down in each glass and took a mighty sniff. Jilly Goulding and Oz Clarke would have been proud of me. I bigged the whole thing up by saying stuff like

‘ I’m getting blackberries and wet hay with a hint of under the bed socks’ and ‘there are strong overtones of charred rashers here with a tinge of dry cow dung and maple syrup and just a hint of fresh mango and ‘mmmmmm slurp slurp – magnificent length on this one.’

This was eliciting cheers and guffaws from my coach companions and smiles from Sheila. Then I laid it on them. I had come to the eighth glass in the row. I recognised the colour and, when I sniffed it I knew, it was the same Rosemount Shiraz that is always on our table at home for Christmas, weddings, birthdays etc. I didn’t even have to taste it.

‘That’s the Rosemount’ I said. Sheila said ‘But yew hivvint toyasted it’

‘I don’t need to’ I replied cockily. ‘That’s the Rosemount Shiraz, Sheila.’

‘Give ‘im the shimpoyin’.’ Sheila said.

I resisted the urge to waste good drink – so I didn’t spray it- I poured it and drank to Ireland and Australia and Paddy Reilly and the Fields of Athenry. Most of my companions didn’t know Paddy but they got the message with an impromptu acapelo rendition of ‘The Fields’. Another memorable day but now we’re back on the bus and heading for Nundle.”

Buy The Book – its a great read

I hope you enjoyed a little piece of the book. It’s a great read and I have it for sale in the shop. I enjoyed it immensely. The O Mahony’s paid for every bit of the production so every penny from sales goes to the charity. It is only €20 and you can also buy it online at www.cry.ie or locally in Clonmel Travel, The Book Centre, McDermotts Irishtown, Texaco on the Cahir Road and at Flahertys Mace Supermarket , Irishtown.

If Conor was still with us, I would enjoy converting him from those Rosemount wines to some of the great wines Australia has on offer. Maybe a selective tasting, including those oldest vines he spoke of – (Langmeil in the Barossa Valley is the vineyard). Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen would form the soundtrack but I am a very average guitar player, so I would let Conor hold court there. When we were kids, Liverpool won everything and Man United were a cup team. I don’t think I could resist that discussion either. I know Conor would take it in the right spirit, maybe?

Postcards from the Edge

February 14th, 2012

and by the edge, I mean the Cliff Edge, and by the Cliff, I mean the Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore, Co. Waterford.

I have three small children and while this brings great joy to my life, it also takes it over on many an occasion. My youngest was born last September and she was 10 weeks early so we spent 52 stressful days in hospital with her. During this emotional haze, myself and my wife promised each other when we get through this, we would go away to the Cliff House Hotel and have the famous tasting menu. This is what makes us happy and if Sarah’s great journey wasn’t a good enough reason