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Archive for December, 2009

Shop Opening Hours

December 31st, 2009

The shop is open New Years Eve and will close from the 1st January.
We will reopen on Tuesday January 5th 2010.
The online shop is always open …

Happy New Year to Everyone !!!

Winner of Draw for Italian Wine

December 31st, 2009

The winner of the draw for a half case of Italian wine from the recent Italian tasting is Alan Aherne

Congratulations to Alan. You can collect your prize at Red Nose Wine.

“Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right.”

December 30th, 2009

The turkey is well and truly gone and the last of the wine bottles have been taken to the bottle bank. We are all just about ready to start the useless promises and resolutions for the New Year. Ink never refused paper, and my articles are surely proof of that. Just as we are about to capsize into the sea of good living, we realize that New Years Eve has to be endured. No more wine, no more food, no more ice – we have enough. Once more into the breach and all of that jazz. If Pinot Noir was the wine of choice for Turkey, then Champagne has to be the way to jump into the next decade. Tradition dictates and we follow. At least, we used to follow. That drink of kings and queens is on the decline. In recent years, the sales have plummeted to be replaced by Cava and Prosecco, their Spanish and Italian neighbours.
This is not entirely a fair comparison as the process involved can vary hugely. They tend to use the much cheaper Charmat method which uses stainless steel tanks for the secondary fermentation. Champagne is a sparkling wine that can only come from the region of Champagne in northern France. Nothing else can legally call itself Champagne, although you will see bending of this rule in such ‘delights’ as Californian Champagne.

This decline has a lot to do with the Champenoise people themselves. I have continually searched for well priced champagne and have met with many small family vineyards on my travels to France but could not find the price / quality ratio. I won’t give up, but to be honest, there isn’t really a market for it, so I won’t rush in. They won’t loosen the pricing – the fact that the duty is double in Ireland for sparkling wine does not help the situation. In their defence they use the “method traditonalle” to make the bubbles. After primary fermentation and bottling, a second alcoholic fermentation occurs in the bottle. This second fermentation is induced by adding several grams of yeast and several grams of rock sugar. According to the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée a minimum of one and a half years is required to completely develop all the flavour. For years where the harvest is exceptional, a millesimé is declared – you really pay top dollar for these wines. In general though, most champagnes are of the blended variety – different years in the same wine. The grapes used are also a blend – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The real labour in the production is the remuage – the manipulation ( often manual ) of each bottle, in order that the lees ( deposit of residual yeast ) settle in the neck of the bottle. This is later frozen and taken out and the bottles resealed. The famous monk Dom Perignon is credited with accidentally inventing champagne many vintages ago, and his famous explanation of “Come quickly, I am tasting the stars” is often quoted. It’s a good story and true in many regards and he was revolutionary in the advancement of techniques, especially in bottles and corks. Necessity was indeed the mother of invention because without the tougher bottles and new corking, the bottles kept exploding. Just don’t mention Christopher Merret, the English scientist and physician who documented the process a few years earlier. Of course there was no blogging or twitter back then, so how was Dom to know.

Champagne was for many years the tipple of choice for the rich and famous. I suppose it still is in some circles. Being neither rich nor famous, it does not feature heavily in mine. That could be due to the fact me and the bubbles don’t get on. I can drink one glass, but after that the bubbles make there way up to the sensible and sensitive part of my brain. I start to babble, even more than normal and suddenly start to care what people are saying. Very unlike me. Basically, I can’t handle the stuff. It puts me on my ear. I would have been useless in the roaring twenties when it was the only tipple with which to wet your whistle. Some people who it did agree with and who left us some wonderful quotes include :

“I only drink Champagne when I’m happy, and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company, I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I am not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it – unless I’m thirsty.” (Lily Bollinger)

“Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right.”
(F. Scott Fitzgerald)

And last but by no means least, is one that might be perceived as a little dated, but the bubbles are making me do it. “One holds a bottle of red wine by the neck, a woman by the waist, and a bottle of Champagne by the derriere.” (Mark Twain)

So, as 2010 approaches I do hope you make realistic resolutions. If I could suggest but one – for that detox period in January. Drink less wine to be sure, but drink better wine.

“Life is much too short to drink bad wine”.

Don’t forget to log onto the blog at or follow the ranting on Twitter –

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

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 or follow the ranting on Twitter –

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

“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

Article – Rudolph the Red Nose Wine Deer

December 12th, 2009

I can hear the sleigh bells being tested and the elves are getting the big man match fit. He’s on a strict regime of fine wine and good food. He’s not sure who has been naughty or nice. He’s pretty sure there are a few ‘masters’ of commerce who have been very naughty indeed. Will they get a lump of coal this Christmas or will he take pity on them like the government (and by default, the taxpayer) have. To be honest, I have lost interest and am just looking forward to spending Christmas with my family. But before that can happen, there is much fine wine to sell and hopefully Christmas is the time when people can treat themselves to a bottle of real and authentic wine. Whether it is an Italian Pinot Grigio for €8.50, or a perfectly aged 1995 Chateauneuf du Pape for €39, the important thing is to enjoy it with family, friends and good food.

With so much food to be eaten this Christmas, I think it is high time I matched them to the right wines for you. Enough of my self indulgent rants; let’s talk turkey, and ham, duck, beef and maybe even Foie Gras if we have time. While I have lots of cheaper wines I can match, Christmas calls for something more. Wherever you buy your Christmas wine this year, I would hope you buy it from someone who can help you maximize your dining experience. You spend so much time, effort and money on the actual food; don’t ruin it by buying a poor or even average wine. Ask them about the wine they are selling you – challenge them to sell you something authentic and real. It’s going to be a bleak winter one way or another, so let’s allow ourselves the window of Christmas. Let us start with the big one – Turkey. It is quite a dry meat so matching this can be tricky – what you want to do is counteract that dryness with a wine that is rich and full of life from the start. While some would disagree, this is why very dry Bordeaux is not always a great match. What does fit the meat perfectly, in my opinion, is Pinot Noir. I have waxed lyrical about this grape variety on many occasions – it is a poorly kept secret that it is my favourite wine. It has very little tannin normally so will not overwhelm the meat. Unless you are serving a top end Burgundy, I would suggest serving the wine at what is known as cellar temperature, about 13 degrees. If you do go down the road of high end Pinot (and you really should), let it come up to room temperature and leave it open up for an hour or two before serving. You may even consider a decanter. It will make a huge difference. I can almost taste my dinner now. Personally, I am debating between a Burgundy Premier Cru Nuits St. Georges I have or the delicious Muddy Water Slowhand Pinot from New Zealand. The people who attended the recent tasting know what I am talking about there. It’s Christmas so I might have both. Another alternative is a fantastic New Zealand Pinot Noir I negotiated a good price on last summer with Christmas in mind – down from €21 to €16.

What about white I hear you shout. White meat demands white wine it has been said. Not always I would suggest. If you prefer white and have a Turkey to enjoy, I would suggest something with a little more body, such as a good Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay or a Pinot Gris ( as opposed to Pinot Grigio ). Chablis is always popular as is Pouilly Fuisse. Good French Chardonnay, while popular, also tends to be pricier than its Australian equivalent. The tendency with ‘modern’ Chardonnay is to over oak. It became popular for a while but the market overdid it. The wine floods came as they so often do and the market changes as it so often does. Chardonnay is not currently a popular wine when compared to Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. Personally, I can’t understand why Riesling is not the top white wine in the world. Then again, Pinot Noir is not the top Red. That is the beauty of personal preference.

If you are having something different such as duck, I can recommend a wonderful wine that Delboy Trotter of “Only Foods and Horses” fame used to use as an expletive when something went wrong. “Chateauneuf du Pape”. This is an absolute perfect match of food and wine. If you can let it open for a few hours or even better, get your hands on a bottle with some age, the flavour, fruit and magic will be multiplied. I have a limited amount of 1995 and 2000 wine from this most magic of appellations. Be very careful of dodgy vintages – when they get it right, they really do, but there have been some horror stories as well. It is all about who makes the wine and what year it was harvested. Whatever you do this Christmas with your dinner, try and match the food and wine as best you can, because it will make a difference. Do we have time for Foie Gras – there is always time for Foie Gras, well at least at Christmas. Champagne or chilled Sauternes would be my recommendations. I have both wines for sale, but the hard part is actually finding good Foie Gras. I was in France 2 weeks ago and got some – the trick is now to convince my family that they won’t like it. I only bought a single block, and there are 7 adults at dinner. If I find some locally, I’ll post it on the blog. Happy matching.

Don’t forget to log onto the blog at or follow the ranting on Twitter –

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

“Life is much too short to drink bad wine”


Good Food and Wine and how to match them

December 10th, 2009

A great time was had last night in the Clonmel Park Hotel where a cookery demonstration was held by James Whelan Butchers and Jenny Flynn of The Sweetest Thing. Red Nose Wine were on hand to match the foods to wine. It was no surprise that Christmas dinner was on the agenda. Of course with this in mind, i pushed the boat out with the wines. Everyone was greeted with a glasss of Domaine des Anges Red and White on arrival and the chattering amongst the crowd intenstified as Jenny and Pat and their team got everything in place. I poured the wine as quickly as I could, but I had to go to back to the van quicker than I anticipated. The ladies ( for there was not one man in the audience ) were out for a good night and that is what they got. Jenny and Alaister ( one of Pat’s senior butchers ) chopped and prep’d their way through a feast. In between courses I would jump up and try and control the crowd with talk of the best wines for turkey and ham and then duck. We opened Vincent Chidaine’s magnificant Vouvray and it went down a treat. This wine is full bodied for a white and offers a good match for a white drinker who is taking on all of the turkey trimmings. We then brought out GreenHough New Zealand Pinot Noir. I was considering bringing a Premier Cru Burgundy, but it’s hard to go back once you have tasted it. No need to be cruel. Turkey is difficult because it has light and dark meat and the meat can be earthy & dry so needs a wine with lots of flavour. Pinot Noire also matches well to the gravy especially if you use giblets for more flavour, which Jenny did ( I think ).
For the gamier food I decanted some Chateauneuf du Pape and it needed the 2 hours open. It was worth the wait though as all who tasted it were enchanted. This is a real example of traditional CDP and I told them all about my greatest ever meal. It was in a small family resteraunt in the village of Chateauneuf du Pape and I had wild duck with a bottle of CDP. I can still taste both. Anyway, back to reality and the basic points about matching the right wine with your foods are :

Match the weight & texture of the food to the weight & texture of the wine, such as Sole with a light wine like Pinot Grigio but Salmon could take on a more full bodied Chardonnay.

Balance the intensity of flavors in the food and wine – plain turkey requires a very different wine to turkey with all the trimmings

Balance Tastes – Salty and sour will make a wine taste milder, but Sweet & savoury will make a wine taste stronger. e.g. Beef tames a wine’s tannin, but chocolate brings it out

Match flavours – Roast duck with plum sauce like red wines with plum flavours

Counterpoint flavours – The opposite to matching flavours can also be true. Spicy oriental dish should not be matched with a high alchol red as the heat in the dish ignites the alchol in the wine. A low alchol wine is better, and a Riesling will frame and tame the spicy flavours. The added sugar will also help cool down the dish.

Alaister getting ready

Alaister getting ready

Tipperary Food Producers Take over the Main Guard Clonmel

December 8th, 2009

A wet and windy day was somewhat eased by the Tipperary Food Producers Network as they manned their stalls under the main guard in Clonmel and spread Christmas Cheer to the masses. Red Nose Wine were not allowed to sell alchol to the public ( BOO!!! ) but we could dispense lashings of Mulled Wine. I did manage to sell some of the fantastic Balsamic Vinegar and Grape/Olive Oil we import. Considering the day, it went down well. The event was even captured by Mr. Pat Quirke and a very poor likeness of myself is posted on his blog. I had the swine flu jab the day before and the wind and the rain did not help. PhotoShop Pat – give a guy a break! In saying that, my pictures are not much better.

Mulled Wine @ Tipperary Food Producers Chrismtas Market

Mulled Wine @ Tipperary Food Producers Chrismtas Market

A special word for Catriona Hayes and the ladies from TLC4CF who were selling their wonderful cook book that is raising a lot of money for Cystic Fibrosis. It was founded by friends and family of People with Cystic Fibrosis in Tipperary, Limerick and Clare.

A break in Festivities

A break in Festivities

Don’t forget the Italian tasting tomorrow night in Nuala’s Cafe @ 8pm.

Good Coverage off event in the Nationalist this week.

Even better was the piece on Red Nose Wine

Mulled Wine – courtesy of Jamie Oliver

December 4th, 2009

Link to Jamie Oliver
“This is dead easy to make and tastes like Christmas in a glass. It’s a lovely celebration of those traditional festive spices like cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. If you’ve got your own favourite spices, then feel free to add those to the pot too. Let everything cook away and warm up gently so the flavours have time to mingle with the wine. I like to leave my mulled wine ticking over on a really low heat and just ladle some into glasses as and when guests pop in.

Peel large sections of peel from your clementines, lemon and lime using a speed peeler. Put the sugar in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the pieces of peel and squeeze in the clementine juice. Add the cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and about 10 to 12 gratings of nutmeg. Throw in your halved vanilla pod and stir in just enough red wine to cover the sugar. Let this simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved into the red wine and then bring to the boil. Keep on a rolling boil for about 4 to 5 minutes, or until you’ve got a beautiful thick syrup. The reason I’m doing this first is to create a wonderful flavour base by really getting the sugar and spices to infuse and blend well with the wine. It’s important to do make a syrup base first because it needs to be quite hot, and if you do this with both bottles of wine in there you’ll burn off the alcohol.

When your syrup is ready turn the heat down to low and add your star anise and both bottles of wine. Gently heat the wine and after around 5 minutes, when it’s warm and delicious, ladle it into glasses and serve.”

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.

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.


€15.50 @ 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 !!!!