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Article – The Hills are alive, with Austrian Wine

June 26th, 2010

Bye Bye Badman… Bye Bye

There is no getting away from it; it’s a poor World Cup. The only consolidation is that France are in turmoil and on the way home. I am still not over Thierry Henry and his magic hand. He is of course the reason why I am not bringing in a range of wines from South Africa. Could there be a better time to convince the South African Wine board that you want to make their wines number 1 in Ireland but need to do some serious reconnaissance. A quick look at my calendar and it seems that the months of June and July 2010 are free Mr. Trade Ambassador. The plan was foolproof, until Thierry did his worst. So, since Ireland is not there, I will snub all other wine producing countries that are there. France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Australia and all the rest – I reject your wines, for at least one article.


Brothers in Arms – Grüner Veltliner

Where shall I aim my trusty pen, or even laptop I hear you ask? As coincidence ( or strategic cunning ) would have it, I am listening to the sound of music, yodelling from the mountain tops and crashing at high speed on ill fitting skis ( in my mind ). Yes, I am in Austria, for they also did not make it to the World Cup. The cunning part is that I have been working on a deal with another importer to get some of Austria’s finest wine, at an affordable price. A couple of weeks ago the deal was done and these last few days saw the introduction of a very price conscious Grüner Veltliner into Red Nose Wine on a special deal. It normally prices at about the 17 euro mark but by buying a decent amount of it, we got a deal and now have it on the shelf for 13.50 euros. I think that the wine drinking public of Tipperary agree, because everyone who tasted it bought it.

So, Thierry, from the Hills of Austria, this is for you …

This anti World Cup gesture is our silent protest against Mr. Henry and the corridors of power in UEFA and FIFA. At this stage I think I may be obsessing a little bit, but I really had the whole trip planned out. There are a bunch of winemakers expecting me this week in South Africa, and all they will get are a bunch of Frenchmen who would dismiss their wines out of hand. I used to love going to public wine tastings in Paris. Everyone is an expert and the local barber, postman or electrician would analyse some poor winemaker’s wine to an inch of its life. They would make recommendations from everything to the length of time in oak, cork taint to the exact picking dates. The same wine could easily get five completely different opinions. Good luck with that Mr. South African winemaker.

Anyway, I do believe I was supposed to be talking about anything but France or their wine. So, what is Grüner Veltliner? It is a grape variety that finds its home in Austria. I have heard it described as a wine that has the nose of Riesling, the refreshing taste of Sauvignon Blanc and the fruits (apples and peach) and lusciousness of a Pinot Grigio. That’s not far away for the wine we have on offer, but I have tasted other versions that I couldn’t agree with that as a description. It really can go from a refreshing style wine to a full bodied age worthy wine. Austrian wine accounts for 1% of the world’s production and has 120,000 acres, which is comparable to half of Bordeaux or double New Zealand. The family who make the Laurenz V wine (the one I brought into the shop recently) have been in the wine business since 1124, so this is what you might call “Old School”. It lies on the same latitude as Burgundy, and that is no small calling card. Why isn’t Austrian wine more popular? There was a delicate incident, and I am being very generous with that description, a number of years back. Without getting into the full details, the words Austrian wine and antifreeze were synonymise. They still struggle with the stigma, but the strict quality control regulations put in place after the scandal makes them arguably the cleanest wines in the world now. I was truly shocked at the popularity of the wine in its first two days, so I am glad to find I am not alone in my admiration for this most underrated country and grape variety.

TWEBT – A Twitter thing

A very interesting event is happening next Sunday, July 4th. It is a Twitter Blind Wine Tasting. Basically a mystery bottle is wrapped and made available for purchase. Red Nose Wine have the honour of being the supplier for the 5th national tasting. At 9pm on July 4th, everyone (from all over Ireland) will simultaneously open their bottle and post their comments on Twitter to be seen and shared with all other people participating in the blind tasting. 5 questions are asked by the organiser and after random guesses; they are answered by the supplier. Who will come out on top? Tune into Twitter and follow #TWEBT to find out.

Red Nose Wine are making room for the news wines we have found, and are having a massive sale starting this week. There will be very serious wines and not so serious wines to be had, at clearance prices.

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 June 24 2010

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