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Archive for February, 2011

20% OFF Languedoc Wines

February 25th, 2011


The incredibly popular Obriers de La Peira wine is back in stock and it is still glowing after its December crowning as the “Wine of the Year”. We really believe in the Languedoc at Red Nose Wine and between now and the next newsletter, we are offering 20% of ALL Languedoc wines, including Gassac, La Peira, Mas de l’ecriture and many more. Prices start at €6.

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.”



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

“Life is much too short to drink bad wine”

Article – Old Dogs and New Tricks

February 11th, 2011

Last week’s article title ( How Old is Too Old? ) has just come back to bite me. I am writing this in my kitchen after returning from a quick spin on my new bike. I only went into town to post a few letters, but I am struggling for breath. The Fethard Road hill nearly killed me. To think I once ran a marathon.

Red Nose Wine runs the Paris marathon ( while ignoring undercover paparazzi )

Red Nose Wine runs the Paris marathon ( don't ask who the other guy is - took me 8 miles to lose him)

A Bike for All Seasons

I think 37 might be too old after all. I got the bike from fellow Tweeter and blogger Barry Meehan ( of World Wide Cycles fame ) and he passed me as I cycled. Luckily it was on the decent into town so I was still able to save face and feign complete comfort on my first bike journey for twenty years. To be fair, my derriere was unaffected by the odyssey. I bought a good saddle.

Barry tries to take my picture on bike but I am too fast & he takes the guy on the bike behind me instead

Barry tries to take my picture on bike but I am too fast & he takes the guy on the bike behind me instead

Apart from the obvious fitness issues it also took twenty minutes to feel my thumbs again. The next time I will bring gloves. I am so sick of winter. Dearest Mother Nature, you have made your point, now please turn up the temperature in the swimming pool you call Ireland. As the late great George Harrison once sang, “it’s been a long, cold, lonely winter”. We’ll give you until Valentine’s Day and then we want decent weather all the way through until November.

A fit vine?

Is there such a thing as a fit wine or more relevantly, a fit vine? Do vines reach a peak in terms of their fruit production and does it vary depending on yield, grape variety and location? I know many of you have stayed awake at night wondering about this very thing. I am here to try and explain this to you so you can sleep soundly at night.

Very old Shiraz

With this tone of not quite taking oneself so seriously, I shall proceed. I spoke before of a wine that I had tasted from Australia that was made from Shiraz vines that were planted in 1843 in the Barossa Valley. How would these compare to a young Shiraz from the same area? For the purposes of research I tasted both on the same day and these are my thoughts.

The big difference for me was the older vine wines had the classic spices and black fruits you would expect from Barossa Shiraz but it also had an earthiness and denseness and lovely acidity that really balanced out the wine. The younger vines produced a much more fruit forward style with lots of energy but none of the earthiness that I personally love in a wine. I know the 1843 Shiraz importer and if any of you want a bottle, I can put you in touch with Mr. Kane.

Where are all the Old Vines gone?

Vines will keep giving fruit if well cared for but as the years progress, the yield does diminish and aggressive pruning is important. What you start to lose in intensity and power, you get back in complexity and depth. There has been a lot of EU driven subsides for French farmers to rip up old vines and some really great Carignan ( which benefits greatly from older vines ) has been lost. It’s not just Ireland where the EU are causing chaos.

Where the old vine is planted is also relevant as old vines in Oregon might only be 25 years, in France it could be 80 years but in Australia ( as in the Freedom ) it is 168 years, although this is extreme.

Phylloxera in France

You must remember that France had the phylloxera infestation in 1855 and American rootstock was required to eventually replant the decimated vineyards. It took France a long time to recover. For trivia lovers among you, the only European grape that is natively resistant to phylloxera is the Assyrtiko grape which grows on the volcanic island of Santorini, Greece.

But we move away from the core of the article with this talk of destructive parasites. On a completely separate issue, I hope you all have noticed that I have veered away from discussing banks and politicians these last few articles.

An Election in Wine

I am running a competition in the run up to the election where people guess how many seats will be won ( or lost ) be various parties. The culmination will be a special offer for election night where we will all be at home watching the events unfold. If ever there was a time for a good bottle of wine, the election night is it.

The Election Candidates

The Election Candidates

Obriers de La Péira back in stock

Speaking of which, the Obriers de La Péira wine that Lar Veale of the Sunday Tribune described in December as “quite simply the best wine I have had all year” is back in stock, or should be by the time this article is published. On the back of Lar’s kind words, the wine sold out online within a few hours.

Tribune Review Obriers Dec19 2010

Tribune Review Obriers Dec19 2010

I have also managed to get some of the 2005 vintage as well as the 2008 but as before, stocks are limited as this is an allocation wine. I literally had to beg for some more wine from the winemaker. You will not taste a better wine under €20 .

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

Please have a look at our Facebook site and ‘Like’ Us so we can share all the photos with you. Feel free to share this page with your friends and enemies.

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”

Valentines Offers

February 10th, 2011


If you are treating your better half to a cosy night in this Valentines, then why not do it with bubbly or Rosé. We are offering some top notch Champagne, Prosecco and Rosé on special this week as well as some very nice gift packs which hold a bottle of bubbles and 2 champagne flutes. Prices start at €28 for the packs but there is 20% off bubbles and Rosé. See here for Valentine recommendations and specials.

Election 2011 Competition – How many seats?

February 9th, 2011

The numbers are in and the seats in the 2011 Election work out like this :

Fine Gael – 76 (45.78%)
Labour – 37 (22.28%)
Fianna Fail – 20 (12%)
Indepenents & others – 15 (11.4%)
Green Party – 0 (0%)
Sinn Fein – 14 (8.4%)

Our national winner is Walter Rainey. Congratulations to Walter.

Election 2011 – pick the % Seats and Win Wine

Hot on the heels of our Tipperary election competition, we are happy to go national and this one is slightly different. We don’t want you to pick names but rather perecentages. When the dust settles on this election, how will the parties sit? The correct answers are in with a chance to win a wine pack. The more people who enter, the bigger and better the prizes, so feel free to pass it on.

The Election Candidates

The Election Candidates

Simply tell us in one word what you think of Irish politics and fill in the following table as it will look after the election

Party/Group                                           % of Vote

Fianna Fail

Fianna Gael


Sinn Fein


Independents & Others

By entering the competition you are joining our mailing list and will get emails from time to time. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Election Competition – WIN WINE

February 5th, 2011

The results are in and the south Tipperary 1-2-3 were :

Tom Hayes
Seamus Healy
Mattie McGrath

The winner of our competition is : Bernie Goldbach. Congratulations to Bernie – please contact us to arrange collection or delivery of your prize.

The Election is coming

Here at Red Nose Wine we sit in one of the most fractious of constituencies. Our politicians are not afraid to speak their mind and some have even managed to get on Gift Grub. No small feat.

Last time around we had two Fianna Fail seats, but will there be any come February 25th. Only Martin Mansergh is running. We now have a new Independent candidate in Mr. Mattie McGrath. Will Tom Hayes do what is expected and bring in a seat for Fianna Gael? Will he bring Councilor Michael Murphy along with him to Dail Eireann? Will Senator Phil Prendergast make the step up from Senead to the Dail? Will the Senead still be here at the next election? Will Michael Brown give Gerry Adams a reason to support Tipp in the hurling? Will the Greens make a noise with their charismatic Eco Architect Paul McNally? Rumor has it he was in a very good band in the early 90s. Will that get him votes?

The South Tipperary Candidates

The South Tipperary Candidates

We are running a competition and if you can pick the election result in South Tipperary, then you are in with a chance to win a 3 pack of wine. This will have a Red, White and a sparkling wine. There will be more than one winner and all you have to do to enter is click here and tell us in one sentence what you think of Irish politics, followed by that candidates you think will win the 1st, 2nd and 3rd seat in South Tipperary.

Will Lowry top the polls again?

For our friends in the North of this great county, you can pick the 1st, 2nd and 3rd seat in North Tipperary. Just click here

There will be prizes for the correct prediction for both constituencies but also for the best one liners about Irish politics.

If you are not from Tipperary, we will have another competition predicting national seats and this will be online soon.

By entering the competition you are joining our mailing list and will get emails from time to time. You can unsubscribe at any time.

and to launch this wonderful new democracy … Leonard Cohen

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.


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

Please have a look at our Facebook site and ‘Like’ Us so we can share all the photos with you. Feel free to share this page with your friends and enemies.

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”