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Article – A Tipperary Taste of Provence

November 15th, 2010

Red Nose for the The Frontline

This is the second attempt at this article. When I wrote the first, it was on the back of hitting a creative wall and not knowing what to talk about. Inspiration, for use of a better word dragged me into a political and social rant. I will shelve that article and save the argument for when Pat or Miriam ask me to rant in the centrally approved forum that is RTE 1. Until that happens, I will bring you sunshine and rainbows with a side of wonderful wine.

Pat Kenny tries to get Red Nose Wine on the show !!!

Pat Kenny tries to get Red Nose Wine on the show !!!

Tipp Food goes on and on

If you buy the paper on Wednesday you are no doubt very excited about tonight’s Tipperary Food Producers Extravaganza. If it is later in the week, you are in awe of the wonderful food (and wine) on your doorstep and can’t wait to tell everyone about it. Alternatively, you missed the show and are avoiding all of your friends who were there, as they keep reminding you of how good it was. Wherever you fit in this little jigsaw please keep local business in your thoughts this Christmas. We need your support.

Jane Boyce MW and Pat Whelan discuss wines to go with Pat's recipes.

Jane Boyce MW and Pat Whelan discuss wines to go with Pat's recipes.

The Twitterati and Food Connect Program cover the Food Extravaganza

There are even more events to look forward to in the run up to Christmas. I had lunch last week with Gay McGuiness, the Kilkenny man who owns Domaine des Anges, the organic vineyard that lies in beautiful Provence, just over the hill from Chateauneuf du Pape. We are delighted to announce that the winemaker, Ciaran Rooney will be visiting Clonmel on November 24th and taking part in a wine dinner in Befanis.

Domaine des Anges Dinner Poster

Domaine des Anges Dinner Poster

Kilkenny & Tipperary meet again

Myself and Fulvio have been trying to organise a wine dinner for a long time, so I am delighted that it is with one of my own personal favourites. Places are limited and selling very well so if you want 5 different wines and a 4 course dinner for only 45 Euros, please contact Red Nose Wine or Befanis to get your ticket. There will be special prizes on the night as well.

I wrote about my visit there this summer, and will not wax lyrical about the room with the view this time. I will talk more about the wines and why they are constantly being reviewed as among the very best in France. Tomas Clancy gave them a huge write up in last week’s Sunday Business Post (although he forget to mention Red Nose Wine), and Oz Clarke has them in his 250 Great Wines book every year. My old friend Jancis Robinson is also a big fan.

Gary Gubbins of Red Nose Wine with Gay McGuiness at Domaine des Anges

Gary Gubbins of Red Nose Wine with Gay McGuiness at Domaine des Anges

As well as the quality, the most consistent message from them all is the value. These are very well priced and if you don’t want to pay for Chateauneuf du Pape or White Burgundy, then you would do a lot worse than try these. They have been one of my big success stories this last year.

Some Tasting Notes

The Reds are based around Syrah and Grenache, the classic Rhone Valley varieties. The Classic cuvee (i.e. the cheap one) is dominated by Grenache just like its illustrious neighbour in Chateauneuf. The nose is a mix of raspberries, cranberries, chocolate, and liquorice with subtle notes of thyme and rosemary. But will we like it Gary? I believe that you will if you like full bodied wine with a long silky finish. I think it tastes much better when decanted and there is not a lot of 12 Euro wines you can say that about.

Domaine des Anges

Domaine des Anges

The L’Archange Red is a huge step up in quality and this Syrah dominated wine from old vines is a star. A Northern Rhone Syrah is one of the iconic wines in the world and usually has an iconic price to match. The likes of Jaboulet La Chapelle can put you back some serious money. The L’Archange is under twenty and offers spices such as nutmeg and clove complete with ripe blackcurrant and plum on the nose. The palette explodes with rich, ripe fruit and a refreshing note of lemon thyme all supported by spicy tannins. The finish is full, round and lingers long in the mouth. I cannot wait to try this with Befanis fillet of beef on November 24th.


Del Boy Trotter’s favourite wine

While comparisons with its Fancy Dan Red Wine neighbour over the hill are the most obvious, the critics would tell you that the real stars are the white wines. Tomas Clancy from the Sunday Business Post thoughts is closest to my own on the top wine. “For me, the star of Domaine des Anges, it makes only 750 cases a year as it is a single vineyard wine. Barrel-fermented Rousanne, letting the wine sit on its lees, and ageing in oak provides the kinds of kid-glove treatment you expect of a flashy and expensive Burgundy”. High praise indeed. This is an allocation wine for me. That means I can only get a very small amount every year. I have six cases to get me to the next vintage. We’ll drink at least one of those at the dinner, so hurry up.

 The Hills are Alive…. with Acidity

White wine from Provence is not supposed to taste like this, and the reason that it does? The vineyard is situated on a hillside facing Mont Ventoux, “The Giant of Provence”, which rises to 1912m in altitude. The mountain has a profound influence on the climate of the vineyards with cool evening breezes refreshing the vines in summer after the day’s intense heat, and so enabling the vines to maintain high natural acids and elegant tannins.

In fact, the best white wines from traditionally warm parts of the world nearly always share this altitude and cooling effect. The great white wines of the Loire Valley and Burgundy are much more northern so the climate gives them this coolness that acidity demands.

 Hollywood is coming

As I write this, tomorrow sees another new wine departing the vineyard for Red Nose Wine. I wrote about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s vineyard in Provence earlier this year and I am delighted to say that the wonderful Chateau Miraval is on the way. This is another Provence wine that sits high up in the hills, beside my old favourite Chateau Margui. I am delighted that Ciaran Rooney will be the star of Red Nose Wine’s first wine dinner and we are planning more. Will Brad and Angelina attend one of these? If they do, it will be first refusal for the people who attend the other ones.

Chateau Miraval

Chateau Miraval

If you want to taste Domaine des Anges but can’t make the dinner, don’t forget we are having our very first portfolio tasting in Hickeys Cafe at the Westgate in Clonmel on December 9th. There won’t be the usual winemaker talk and taste format. We will have a huge amount of wines open and it will be very informal as you taste what you want in a very social atmosphere. There will be food and maybe even some music – I will need to restring my guitar. I will have everything opened from the 8 Euro everyday wines to the seriously complex superstar wines. Book your tickets now.

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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

“Life is much too short to drink bad wine”

Tweets that mention Red Nose Wine -- ( writes:

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Billy Lyons and Red Nose Wine, Red Nose Wine. Red Nose Wine said: the latest article now online featuring @miriamocal Pat Kenny Dom Anges #tippfood Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie [...]

Paul ( writes:

If Brad and Angie bring all their kids, Clonmel’s population of children will temporarily increase by 40%.

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