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Back in the Saddle again – the return of the Articles

April 5th, 2013

“It’s been a long time since Rock’n’Roll” – Sing that in a high pitched voice and insert a Jimmy Page guitar riff and you have a classic Led Zeppelin song. While I have in fact recently listened to some Rock’n’Roll on my new turntable ( Christmas present ), I am referring to the fact that it has been a long time since I presented an article for your delectable critique.

The post budget blues

You may have thought I have been curled up in a ball in a dark room rocking to and fro in shock from the 41% excise duty increase in December. Tempting as that solution might be, I decided to focus on improving on the great gains we made in 2012. Onwards and upwards and the search for newer wines is in full flight. As I write this three new wines arrived into the shop today, and there are loads more on the horizon.

I have been very busy looking at every wine we currently stock and seeing if it has a future or not. There are many criteria needed for a wine to stay in the Red Nose family and many will not survive but the good news is that makes room for more wines. These are strange times we live in and when you are asking people to part with money, you really have to consistently over deliver on the quality and value offering.

With that in mind, this last month saw us throw out the old to make way for the new. Our Pick-A-Dot Sale cleared out a lot of wines at up to 50% off and this allows room for the newer wines that have been exciting us to shine. There is still a little bit left, but not a lot. To make up for it, we have introduced a new mix case for €50 that is proving very popular.

WIne courses and dinners

Last October we held our first wine course and it was a huge success. After 5 weeks of tasting, swirling, spitting, swallowing and listening to me waffle on about wines, we held our last night in the StoneHouse restaurant’s private dining room and matched their fantastic tasting menu to some great wines.

The good news is that we are currently 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.

If any of you are interested in Top End Bordeaux wines, you might want to get in contact with me. I have been offered some seriously good value on some of the very best wines in the world. I am talking about the top end wines for putting down, but at a fraction of the normal price. We are still talking about €30 a bottle and a minimum case purchase. Contact me directly at info@rednosewine.com if you want more details.

Smelling Swooshing and Spitting

A wine merchants calendar after the busy period that was Christmas is busier than you would think. Its not all accounts and stocktaking though. Traditionally this time of year we get invited to all manner of tastings. Last week I took the train to Dublin and was let loose on 256 wines from an importer I work with. Smell, Look, swish, inhale and spit. And so it went – whites first and then another lap of the hall to get the reds in. Experience has taught me to leave those big Barolos until the end. One is almost tempted to forget to spit those wines.

At this stage we import over 90% of our wines directly from small, large and in-between vineyards from all over the world, so the Irish trade tastings are not going to get you those real value driven wines or those little magical small vineyards that make this job so special. The do however serve a purpose and some of our favourite Italian wines ( such as Allegrini ) come via this route.

Later this month I am flying to Germany for the best Wine Trade show in Europe – ProWein. This will have vineyards from all over the world showing off their wares in 8 massive halls in the vast and very impressive Dusseldorf Messe convention centre.

Ireland really missed a trick not building one of these during the boom years. The Germans may not know much about debt relief but they sure know how to organize a trade fair. I’ve been to shows in France, Italy and London and this is by far the best. Hopefully, I’ll be writing about the wines I found soon

Are there Horses in Spain?

I think that Spain will become more and more important in the Irish wine world. It still has loads of great value regions that are unknown and very well priced. The punters in Cheltenham always look for value and sometimes a great Bordeaux at €30 can be great value and a €9 special offer wine is a waste of money. It is all about perspective. But I think regions like Navarra and Valencia offer true value when compared to Rioja and Ribero and we hope to find more at ProWein.

By the time this article goes to press, Cheltenham will be over and I’ll know how much value I managed to squeeze from the Tipsters draw in Careys and Dalys. In my experience value and Cheltenham do not go hand in hand. However I still smile when I remember shouting War of Attrition home in the Gold Cup. I met Mouse Morris about 6 months before and he said he thought the horse was a superstar. My little ante post wager came in at very nice odds. Let’s hope my trip to ProWein brings home a few winners as well.

As always, there is more information on 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 href=”mailto:info@rednosewine.com”>info@rednosewine.com

“Life is much too short to drink bad wine”

Article – Wine Aromas and Love

February 18th, 2011

I suppose there is only one thing to discuss this week – the candidates for the upcoming election. Only joking. I would not subject you to that, and I really wouldn’t know what to say. There is a lot I would like to say, but there is a Clonmel man who writes very well on the subject for the Sunday Business Post so we will leave it to Pat.

Hands up in you Hate this!

We will discuss love and all of its promises. Much like an expensive wine, sometimes it can promise much but deliver little. Oh cynical little me – blame it on the terrible film with the dancing Prime Minister, “Love Actually”. We’ll talk about the expensive bottles in this little comparison and let us forget about Hugh Grant and that lady who used to be in EastEnders.

In case you haven’t guessed, Valentine’s Day is the subject of this article and we will weave the beauty of wine through the mystery of love and see what kind of an omelette we can create. In case you are wondering I am not writing with a glass in hand. I just feel like waxing lyrical. Let us tarry not, yet progress to the romance and the grape.

20% Off Rose & Bubbly until end February

20% Off Rose & Bubbly until end February

Rosé – You know you want it

Rosé is an obvious choice for a tipple to share with the better half and of course sparkling Rosé is even more tempting. Samuel Johnson memorably quipped “The feeling of friendship is like that of being comfortably filled with roast beef; love, like being enlivened with champagne.”

Rose

Rose

All manner of terribly wonderful things happen under the influence of the bubbles.

However, we are still in winter ( regardless of what some might say about Spring ) and red is the colour of love and also of wine to drink by the fire. As we get a glimmer of hope that Spring might be coming, it’s the last of the choc ices and in this instance, the choc ices are big spicy Reds.

A little Pepper ?

Shiraz is great for a night in by the fire as it normally has a little pepper to it and is rich and warm and cosy. One should be cosy on Valentines night. I need to be careful what I write here as it is very easy to be inappropriate and I need to remember my audience. “Hello Mrs. Byrne”. “That’s not what I meant”. “I was talking about other people”. “I really was talking about wine”.

There has been research carried by Dr. Max Lake that the aromas of certain wines can spark arousal. This is very sensitive and powerful information and if I print it, Mrs. Byrne could be proven right. The theory is that certain wine aromas can replicate the scents of human pheromones (which signal attraction in the brain).

Do you want the theory behind it or a list of the wines? We live in a fast moving world and my gut tells me to list the wines, but the engineer in me really wants to tell you why. To quote Ferris Bueller “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Let’s look around for a minute.

 

My compromise is that I will give a one line explanation and then list some of the wines. “In general, Lake found that the earthy scents of red wines (like leathery, musky, etc.) come most close to resembling male pheromones. Female pheromones are best represented by the earthy side (sweaty, yeasty, doughy, etc.), in white and sparkling wines.” That wasn’t too painful now, was it?

Romantic Wines

According to my source, some wines to consider for your little romantic night could include Pinot Noir, Saint Julien Bordeaux (Cabernet blend), French Syrah or Italian Valpolicella style wines in Red. The whites recommended included an oaked Chardonnay and a New Zealand Riesling. The last wine suggested was a Rosé Champagne (what else would it be?). The full list, the wines themselves and the link to the article are available in Red Nose Wine.

One can of course be very obvious and share a bottle of Chateau Valentine, which I do believe is sold in Clonmel and online and is very reasonably priced. If you don’t stay in then enjoy the night out and remember my tips as you look over the wine list.

Peppa Pig and vomiting baby

You should always remember where this romance can lead and as I started this article late on a Wednesday I was interrupted by a vomiting 2 year old who then came down stairs and in between pukes, tried to get me to put Peppa Pig on the laptop. As much as I like Peppa, I really have seen every episode many times, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I knew there was a good reason to buy all of that Champagne when I lived in France.

 

To all of the mortgage laden couples with small children. Enjoy the stolen kisses between Peppa Pig and Ben & Holly, and when the kids are asleep, open up that special bottle and sit back and enjoy Valentine’s Day. We deserve it more than most.

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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”

Article – How Old is Too Old?

February 4th, 2011

When I sit down to write the article, the final piece of the jigsaw is usually the title. I reread the article and try to pick a title that reflects the content but might get people intrigued enough to stop them going straight to Pat’s Food column. This week, the title came first and stems from an incident in Dublin last weekend.

A Birthday at Ely

I was doubling up business and pleasure last weekend in our nation’s capital and Sunday and Monday were about meetings and a New Zealand wine tasting event. Saturday was about my birthday and a good meal and a sublime bottle of wine. I spent a great evening in Ely Bar who have 550 bottles of wine on their list. I was on a wine trip with Anthony, the manager, last September and had promised to drop in. If you are looking for a great night out in Dublin with great food and wine, I can highly recommend Ely.

Anthony among the wines on Liberty Wines Italy Trip Sep 2010

Anthony among the wines on Liberty Wines Italy Trip Sep 2010

Famous Blue Raincoat

Recommendations aside, after a long night, myself and my wife were walking down a wet and windy Grafton Street at about 1.30 in the morning. I was wearing a coat I get frequent abuse over. It is a long raincoat that apparently makes me look much older than I am. All I know is that it keeps me dry.

 

As we walked down the cobbles, I heard two homeless men shout from behind me. “Look at yer wan with the auld fella. He’s old enough to be her Da”. While I realise the grey hair, need of a haircut and the overindulgence that night did not help my appearance, I took immediate offence. My wife on the other hand started to laugh and was reflecting in the glow of their compliment on how well she looked.

I gave them one of ‘These’

The correct thing to do would be to walk on, but I found myself stopping, turning and shouting back to the gentlemen of leisure, “Are you familiar with the Horse Outside video?”. They responded that they were, so in the spirit on that video, “I gave them one of ‘these’”. You’ll have to watch the video (over 18s only) to see what ‘These’ are. In fact, I gave them numerous ones and did a little jig as I delivered ‘them’. As I was in mid jig with fingers flying, it suddenly dawned on me that they could react.

 

They stared back in shock and I turned and did that walk that is nearly a run and got out of there very quickly. I am not condoning my reaction but you must understand the embarrassment after they questioned my age. It was my birthday after all. As I reflected on it the following morning, I thought up the title for this article. How old is too old?

I’m saving the Vin de Table for a special occasion

Of course I am talking about wine, and it is a question I get asked a lot. How long will a bottle of wine last? I remember finding a bottle of Spanish Table Wine in my parents’ house that was dated 1985 and they were ‘saving’ it. I can very safely predict that the bottle was undrinkable before the end of the eighties. I am sure that many a holidaymaker is harbouring similar treasures across the utility rooms of Ireland.

Like many of the truths in wine, it very often ( but not always ) comes down to money. If the wine is purchased for under 10 Euros, then you are looking at anything between 2 and 5 years maximum, but in many cases, the wine will be made for early drinking so try to enjoy it in that first 2 years if you can. The fruit will be to the front and will very often be the point of the wine. There may be nothing to wait for.

I’d love some Condrieu

Reds last longer than white. Is this fact or fiction? It is in fact fiction, and some of the great aging wines of the world are white (think German Riesling, Rhone Valley Condrieu). However, these wines are very expensive and the wines that most of us buy are meant to be consumed early. There is a startling statistic that the average time between wines being purchased in Ireland and opened is measured in hours, not days.

The things that will keep a wine alive are the quality of the fruit, the level of acidity and the balance in the wine. There is also the grape variety as some grapes are made to be aged and some are made to be drunk early. Cabernet Sauvignon from France can be quite tannic in its youth and will benefit from age, but Chilean Cabernet is much softer and often a little sweeter. This should be drunk young.

If you ever taste good Nebbiolo it will be terribly difficult in the first few years but with age it can become spectacular. However, I can remember nearly ever bottle of Barolo and Barbaresco that I sell so for the purpose of a wider audience, we will assume the wines we are talking about fit into the sub 12 Euros bracket.

Tick Tock … Tick Tock

There are still a lot of 2008 Whites drinking very well and some 2007 wines are holding their own. Anything older and you may really need to look at the country, the winemaker and more importantly the wine merchant. There are good bargains to be had sub 12 Euros from merchants making room and clearing 20 Euro bottles of 2005 and 2006 whites that are still drinking very well.

Beware wines of an older vintage that are not discounted because they may well have been meant to be drunk already. The southern hemisphere has its harvest early in the year, so a 2010 Australian wine is older than a 2010 Italian wine.

Wines that are past their best are not bad for you, but they don’t taste great. Wine has one ultimate destiny if it is not consumed and that is to become vinegar. That is a reality and I know many a person who got caught at the ferry ports of northern France with ‘bargain’ wines. If you pour it down the sink the price is irrelevant.

A 1920’s Wine

The Reds will hold a bit longer but unless it is at the higher end, I would start to ask questions on anything pre 2005, unless of course it has been discounted back in good faith. I was at a party a few weeks ago and the host had a bottle of 1962 Pomerol open. I can’t tell you I tasted it as I did not, but it smelt great. I have tasted 50 year old wines and another importer I do a bit of work with got a present of a wine from the 1920s which he opened on Christmas Day and by all accounts it was as fresh as a daisy.

old wine bottle

I hope the homeless men of Grafton Street are warm and safe and keeping their comments to themselves. While my hair is greying slightly, it is still very much intact and I’ll suffer a few grey hairs above losing them. I should really take their comment as a compliment for how young my wife looks. As Groucho Marx once said, “you are only as old as the woman you are feeling”. Of course she may not be talking to me after this article.

 

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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”

Article – La Dolce Vita a Allegrini

October 1st, 2010

Some more Risotto Sir?

What a week, what a trip, and what an obscene amount of risotto consumed over a short period of time. I am of course talking about my trip to Italy with Liberty Wines, the Italian importer I work with. They brought a handful of their favourite customers to the Veneto area of Italy. This strict selection criteria aside, I still managed to get invited, and I was very quick to respond in the affirmative. I was tempted to register a letter with this acceptance in case they suddenly realised they meant to invite someone else. Either way, I was delighted to go and meet some of the most iconic winemakers in Italy. Over the next few articles I intend to introduce some of these people, their wines, history and their status in the wonderful world of the vine. Our base for most of the trip was Verona, and the regions we visited included Valpolicella, Lugana, Alto Adige, Pressano, Soave and fabled Rosazzo hill within Friuli. I am hopeful that the importer will offer me, and by default you, the consumer, some incentive to showcase these wines. At the very least, you will have a chance to taste them in Red Nose Wine, but I am confident we’ll be able to wrangle an introductory price as well.

For everyone who is feeling a little bit nauseated by my joyous description of this freebie trip, before you run to the local supermarket for a case of industrial wine, you need to know a number of facts. We had to be in Dublin airport for 5.15 in the morning. We went straight to the vines and didn’t let up for the 3 days. The turnaround when we finally got back to the hotel in the afternoon was between 10 and 20 minutes. There were some serious choices to make in the short window. Would it be a shower, a shave or a quick look at the best that Italian TV has to offer? Tick tock, tick tock. The bus is leaving.

 

The 'Wine Gang' entering Palazzo della Torre

The 'Wine Gang' entering Palazzo della Torre

Icons

The first wines I would like to introduce are ones that already have a following in Red Nose Wine. For those of who you know them and for those of you who don’t, let me introduce The Allegrini family from Valpolicella. They have not one but two icon wines, and while I sell La Grola, I only got to taste La Poja for the first time on this visit. If you are going to taste a famous wine for the first time, then why not taste it beside the owner of the vineyard. In this case it was the charming Silvia Allegrini. I had met Silvia at a tasting in Dublin briefly, but it was great to visit the famous vines that make the famous wine.

Silivia Allegrini and her grapes

Silivia Allegrini and her grapes

Is Val Policella named after Val Doonican?

I think a little background into the type of wines we are talking about is called for. Basic Valpolicella is made primarily from the Corvina (but also Rondinella, and Molinara) grape and at its purest will be vibrant and taste of black cherries and have an innate freshness. They are round and supple wines that when done well are very approachable and enjoyable in their youth. Allegrini’s single vineyard wines are not technically part of the DOC, and embrace the freedom of IGT classification. This means that Palazzo della Torre and the iconic La Grola can do as they please and reflect the purest expressions of the vineyards. To go and visit the actual vines makes this statement so much easier to comprehend. As the group stood looking down on the vines from the top the hill after a very winding road, the darkness fell and the temperature dropped. We knew it was time to move this party to the restaurant, and a sleepy little village housed an unassuming eatery whose name escapes me now. You must remember I was up since 4am, having visited and tasted a number of vineyards and was now on my 9th course of food of the day and my 25th different wine. It was a wonder I was still alive. This restaurant’s name is known outside of this village however; as it is here that the River Cafe people (of London restaurant fame) learned how to make fresh pasta all those years ago. The best of the wines were paired with some fantastic food. Even though I was up at a ridiculous hour to catch the flight and was getting tired, it’s not a bad way to spend a Monday.

Dinner with Silvia in the restaraunt with no name

Dinner with Silvia in the restaraunt with no name

The pasta melted in the mouth - fresh as a daisy

The pasta melted in the mouth - fresh as a daisy

Do you dry your grapes?

The true superstar wines of the region are those known as Amarone della Valpolicella. This is a type of wine that many people claim to like, but are unwilling to buy. Also, the wines are made a little differently to normal red wine. As we were there the harvest was in full swing and the some of the grapes were picked. Rather than start fermentation now, the wines are placed on small plastic trays and huge fans are used to dry them in a big warehouse. This goes on until January and the sugars in the grapes are concentrated and a lot of the water is lost – the grapes become raison like. The wines are also aged for a number of years and when eventually released are high in alcohol (but very balanced when done right) and offer bitter sweet chocolate, raisin, dried fig flavours. Bottle aging can help these monsters of wines. Allegrini’s Amarone is regarded as one of the very best. Their other icon wine is a single vineyard Valpolicella known as La Poja. It is 100% Corvina and once again taken out of the DOC. This is an increasing trend among the very best winemakers in France and Italy. Rather than be restricted by ancient rules, they are relinquishing their appellation (or DOC) status and producing wines that they believe best reflect the land.  

The grapes are picked and dried until January

The grapes are picked and dried until January

A Tasting missed ( except by me )

For those of you who would like to taste these wines in the presence of Sylvia Allegrini, I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that she is doing a tasting lunch in Ballymaloe House and a dinner in the Cliff House in Ardmore. You will get to hear her describe the wines and you will enjoy them with some top class food. She is passionate about her wines in that wonderful Italian way and you should not miss an opportunity like this. So what’s the bad news you are wondering? Well, by the time the paper comes out on Wednesday, she will be on a plane back to Italy. The tastings are planned for Tuesday September 28th. Don’t worry, if you call into me in Red Nose Wine I will tell you all about it and show you some photos and videos. Also, we will have a very special promotion on the wines. 15% OFF these wines for the week… Hurry up, the bus is leaving. Tick Tock Tick Tock

Allegrini lunchmenu at Ballymaloe House

Allegrini lunchmenu at Ballymaloe House

Gary Gubbins of Red Nose Wine and Silvia Allegrini

Gary Gubbins of Red Nose Wine and Silvia Allegrini

( There are much more photos available on Facebook and we will be posting video very soon )

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“Life is much too short to drink bad wine”

Article – Italy, you really have a lot of wine

May 27th, 2010

Now and again the wine world and the political world collide, and politics being politics and collisions inevitable, this can mean one can find oneself treated to a wonderful all expenses paid event. One such collision took place in Cork last week, at the very comfortable Clarion Hotel. The Italian Trade Commission are trying to increase awareness of Italian Wine in Ireland, and with the help of Jean Smullen, a well known organiser of marquee wine trade events, they organised a tutored tasting. What is a tutored tasting as opposed to a regular tasting I hear you ask? A fine question, that someone somewhere surely has asked.

A Tasting vs A Tutored Tasting

A regular tasting involves tables full of wine, where everyone supposedly follows a very regimental anticlockwise routine, where we walk around a large hall talking to the importer or the winemakers, while supping and spitting. The true professionals make two trips, the first taking in the whites and the second the reds. I have not always been the true professional in this regard, and I would not suggest tasting a delicate Soave after a big Brunello di Montalcino. Anyway, this tasting was not of that type, for we sat at tables and had a neat array of tasting glasses in front of us. It was like being back at school. The glasses sat upon a mat and were numbered 1 to 6. There was a swarm of bottles to be seen but alas, our glasses were empty. Before the tasting, came the tutoring.

Let The Powerpoint Begin

There was a big screen set up and Helen Coburn, a well know authority on Italian wine, set about a very in-depth and fast as lightening PowerPoint assessment of the white wines of Italy. The range of grapes and regions and rules that are obeyed and rules that are ignored put instant validity to the need for a regional expert such as Helen. When many people think of Italian wines, they think Tuscany or Sicily or maybe the ever popular Pinot Grigio. That’s a fair enough assessment of what is popular in Italian wine, but like many things in life, there is always so much more. We flew through grapes such as Pinot Bianco, Cortese, Garganega, Trebbiano, Verdicchio, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Greco di Tufo, Vermentino, Inzolia and Prosecco with speed and precision. For those planning a wine holiday, the regions included Trentino / Alto Adige, Piedmonte, Veneto, Lombardy, Marche, Umbria, Lazio, Tuscany, Campania, Sardinia and Sicily. So who thought there was only Pinot Grigio in Italy?

Italian Wine Map

Italian Wine Map

There are many other white wine varieties grown in Italy that were mentioned but the varieties above are what we eventually tasted. I have a mass of notes on each wine, and I was happy to see a number of Red Nose Wine selections amongst the mix. We have been working very hard this last year to improve our Italian selection. Our €8.50 Pinot Grigio’s big sales are testament to the fact that the public like what we are doing. Rather than bore you with individual tasting notes on all wines tasted (there are many others who specialise in this), I will list of some of the words scribbled down in the frenzied tasteathon. Creamy, High alcohol, medium acidity, nervy, grassy, yeasty, fresh, good price point, lemon tones, crisp, dry, not enough fruit to the fore, fills the mouth. These of course were for the whites. All wines were spat out.

The Matching of the Food & Wine

After the whites were tasted and rated, we were then invited to partake in a matching of food to wines with Lorenzo Loda, the Italian sommelier from Thorntons Restaurant in Dublin. Little tasting plates were given out, consisting of olive oil, basil, authentic Parmesan cheese, salami and some almond cake. We then were given some Moscato, Gewurztraminer, Brunello de Montalcino and Barbera d’Asti wine. The aromatic Gewurztraminer swamped the olive oil, but was delicious with the basil. The Salami could not stand up to the rich Brunello, but was divine with the Barbera, as was the Cheese. The expensive rich Brunello really needs something like meat to counterbalance it. The Moscato and the cake were a match made in Italian heaven. Some classic Italian Wine – Food pairings include Soave & Risotto; Amarone & Rabbit ; Chianti and Wild Boar ; Verdicchio and Sea Bass to name a few.

Lunch & Parisian Tiramsu

Italian Food

Italian Food

At this point, the little touches of food only made me realise that I was starving, and there was a very Italian lunch laid on, with some classic dishes. I went for two helpings of Lasagne and some Tiramisu. When I lived in Paris, there was a local Italian restaurant that had homemade Tiramisu ( in rue Claude Bernard ) and a guarantee that if it was not the best you ever tasted, you didn’t pay for it. All I can say is that I always paid for it, and will on my next visit. The Cork version was nice, but I can still taste that Paris one. Mind you, in Clonmel we are spoiled for Tiramisu. Both Catalapa and Befanis have delicious versions.

The famous @Grapes_of_Sloth aka Paul Kiernan

The famous @Grapes_of_Sloth aka Paul Kiernan

The Mighty Reds of Italy ( as opposed to Manchester )

Anyway, full up and weary, I still had to face the biggest challenge of the day. The rich reds which made Italy famous. It was obvious that the Italian Trade Commission were footing the bill because they really opened up some special bottles. Pinot Nero, Lagrein, Teroldego, Nebbiolo, Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara, Sangiovese, Brunello di Montalcino ( Sangiovese clone), Montepulciano, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Allianico, Negroamaro, Primitive Salento, Nero d’Avola and even that old favourite Cabernet Sauvignon were all on show. The superstar regions like Barolo, Barberesco, Chianti Classico and Brunello stood side by side with the Lagrein and Lunelli wines of Trentino / Alto Aldige. The feast finally came to an end and I came out of the tasting a lot more knowledgeable than when I went in. I think that is one of the things that I really like about wine. While you might hold some assumption of knowledge on a particular area or variety, but there is still so much more to learn. Humility and the lack of assumption are two traits that I have found invaluable as I search for new wines. For anyone who wants to try these different Italian varieties ( or the traditional classics ), we have a very good range in stock, at all price points. You are more than welcome to visit and taste. The Italians have a wonderful saying, and Fellini made a film based on the saying, “La Dolce Vita”. In these trying times, we all need a little of the sweet life.

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”

Red Nose Wine Article - Nationalist May 27 2010

Red Nose Wine Article - Nationalist May 27 2010

Icons of the World Stand Up

December 18th, 2009

It’s that time of year when we reflect on what’s gone before and we look forward to what’s on the way. Considering what has passed, may I quote the great Bob Dylan, “Let me forget about today until tomorrow”. Any by tomorrow I mean many years from now. Onwards and upwards and all of that type of positive sentiment. During the heady days of my youth when I was not as ‘sophisticated’ and insensitive to criticism as I am now, I used to read a little bit. Once I got used to the language I really enjoyed Shakespeare. I found it all very relevant to the modern world and that is probably why it is held up so high in literature. To quote the hip kids of the street, he was down with it. By writing this last sentence I have condemned myself to never having being in anyway hip. Well I don’t care and never have, so that probably makes me hip in a different sort of way – what do the hip kids think? Are they reading this article, do they read the blog or do they follow me on twitter? Maybe I am needy after all. Anyway, there is a famous speech in Henry V where the good king rallies the troops as they face almost certain death on the battlefield. His cousin Westmoreland had a moan about the situation and Henry launched into speech which by its end had made you feel sorry for anyone who wasn’t about to die in this battle. They would not have this chance at immortality. “We happy few, we band of brothers.. on St Crispin’s Day”… Some retailers might feel that this year has been one long St. Crispin’s Day, so that is why I suggest we look forward, not back. With that in mind, I will leave the best of the year lists to the papers and magazines. I will talk about wine, and in particular – very expensive iconic wines that most of us can never expect to taste, at least not this year. But once St. Crispin’s Day has passed and until that day shall come, I will give you an alternative that is affordable.

First up, the famous Chateau Pétrus. This is a wine from the right bank of Bordeaux and in particular the village of Pomerol. Considering all the bad press that Merlot gets, it is strange that one of the worlds most sought after wines is predominately Merlot. It is only 11 hectares in size and produces on average 2,500 cases per vintage. The wine has many fans, and sells for huge money. The current price in London for a bottle of 2005 is 2,800 sterling. I have held it in my hand but never tasted it. I have tasted its next door neighbours and hold a very good 2005 Pomerol from just down the road in the shop that sells for 26 euros. Alternatively, I have a very good Lalande de Pomerol for 19 that gives you the idea without the pricing. However, if you get invited to a party and they are serving Pétrus, don’t miss the chance.

Next up is Burgundy’s famous Pinot Noir, Romanee Conti – I covered this in a previous article but suffice to say, this is the one I want the most in my collection. I have a 1er Cru Nuits St Georges for 55 euros that gives you an idea of what to expect. This will be my Christmas dinner wine.

From Chateauneuf du Papes there is the famous Au Vieux Telegraphe or the new icon Clos du Papes. I have tasted these and even own a few bottles. Clos du Papes is owned by the Avril family who’s daughter is married to Bill Kelly of Kelly’s in Rosslare. For such an iconic wine, it is very reasonably priced. You can pick it up for about 55 to 60 euros a bottle. A very nice alternative is Bosquet des Papes which I sell on offer for Christmas for 24. Both are the traditional style wines and typical of the real authentic wines of centuries gone by.

Italian wines are less well known for iconic wines and vineyards, but more for iconic wine types and chief among them are Brunello di Montalcino, Amarone della Valpolicella and Barolo. These are very different wines from Tuscany, Veneto and Piedmont respectively. What they all share is a necessity for food and age if possible. At our recent Italian tasting, we had a huge response to the Amarone and it was easy to see why it won the Decanter World Wine Award Gold Medal, as did the Barolo. There are countless other icons from around the world and to list them all would be a book – in fact, many such books exist. I have a few of them in the shop if you want a peek.

The good news is that we are taking the excise duty off all wines immediately, even though the wines cleared customs at the top rate. Our little Christmas gift to you, and also, in the run up to Christmas we are open 7 days a week and will be opening many of the wines I have just mentioned. Come in and taste the difference. Thanks to everyone for reading the articles all year and especially for those of you who called in and ‘tasted the difference’. Remember, we deliver nationwide, so don’t get caught without good wine this Christmas. Log in or call in – you are more than welcome.

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”

Red Nose Wine Article - Nationalist Dec 17 2009

Italian tasting

December 14th, 2009

The Italian Tasting last Thursday went very well and a great crowd came out again. Thanks to everyone for turning up. I know things are busy at this time of year. A range of wines were open for tasting and there was a hugely different opinions on the wines. Thanks to Gerry Gunnigan for coming down and presenting the wines. Once again Nuala, Paddy and Helen put on a great spread and Nuala’s Cafe is a perfect location for a tasting. Very cosy and the mulled wine on arrival helped to warm them all up. The wines on show were :

Borgo Selene White
Gavi Lugarara, La Giustiniana
Gran Sasso Montepulciano d’Abruzzo
Borgo Selene Red
Poggio del Sasso Sangiovese di Toscana
Barco Reale di Carmignano, Capezzana
Chianti, da Vinci
Chianti Superiore, Poggiotondo
Allegrini La Grola
Alpha Zeta Amarone

We offered great prices on the night and dropped the excise duty back to the new post budget rate.

A picture from the night.
DEc09 Tasting

Red Nose News – December 4th 2009

December 4th, 2009

Hello Wine Lovers

December is here and we are all allowed to spend our money on good wines regardless of the price :)
And then I awoke from the dream, and the recession was still upon us – agghhhh!!!!!!!!

Anyway, less rambling and more news… of which I have lots.

Last Saturday John Wilson of the Irish Times gave us a plug – our Italian Wine Tasting next Thursday to be precise. Great news indeed…. Interest has been great but there are still tickets available. First come first served. http://www.rednosewine.com/blog/index.php/2009/11/28/italian-tasting/

I am recommending wines at different levels, and here we go :

Under €10

Sensi Pinot Grigio @ €8.50 / bottle

€10 – €15

€12.50 –> Albaran : 40 % Cabernet Sauvignon , 25% Mourvèdre, 25% Syrah and 10% Alicante. 30 year old vines.

€15-€20

€15.50 @ La Source Vignelaure Red : 2nd wine of Chateau Vignelaure

over €20

On offer for ONLY €24 @ Bosquet des Papes “Tradition” Chateauneuf de Pape 2006

There are new wines on the special offer page of the website – valid in the shop as well of course

We have a great selection of corporate gifts available – call in for a brochure or click online to get it as well.

If you know any business’s that are doing corporate gifts and want maximum impact for minimum price – please keep us in mind.

We are also doing a tasting along with Pat Whelan of James Whelan Butchers in the Clonmel Park on Wednesday night as part of a cookery demo.

On Tuesday, I will be under the arches of the Clonmel Main Guard for the Clonmel Chamber / Tipperary Food Producers Network Christmas market.

And last but not least – the winner of the €250 case of wine from the New Zealand tasting is Kevin McAdoo – congratulations to Kevin.

Don’t forget – the next tasting is next Thursday – Italian Wine !!!!

Gary

Italian Tasting – December 10th

November 28th, 2009

We are delighted to annouce that Gerry Gunnigan of Liberty Wines will give a tasting on Italian Wines on Thursday December 10th in Nuala’s Cafe in Hickey’s Bakery in Clonmel. There is a great range of wines on show and more details are to follow. Our last tasting sold out, so be sure to book early. Only €10 per ticket.

Thanks to John Wilson in The Irish Times for his very welcome plug.

italian-tasting

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