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Archive for September, 2011

The Legend of The Languedoc

September 27th, 2011

2 Fantastic Wine Tastings / Dinners

Last April we had visit from Samuel Guibert and a very momentous tasting in Hickeys Cafe in Clonmel. Ever since this tasting, I have had many people asking about a return visit. I am delighted to announce that Samuel is coming back and bringing his world famous Mas de Daumas Gassac with him. And if that’s not enough to get you all excited, then I should tell you that we are having 2 events.

Samuel talks about his beloved Gassac wines

Samuel talks about his beloved Gassac wines

Tipp Food meets French Wine

We are having a wine dinner on Thursday evening October 20th with Samuel in fellow Tipperary Food Producers Network Inch House. Nora Egan’s Black Pudding is famous the world. Inch House is also very well known for its fine dining restaurant. This is a unique opportunity to sit down with a member of one of the iconic wine families of France and taste some of the best wines in the world. Contact Red Nose Wine on 052-6182939 or Inch House on 0504-51348 to buy tickets. Tickets are only €60 for 4 courses and a selection of wines including the Grand Cru Red & White. Places are limited.

Gary Gubbins of Red Nose Wine and Samuel Guibert in the Gassac Valley

Gary Gubbins of Red Nose Wine and Samuel Guibert in the Gassac Valley

Gary Gubbins of Red Nose Wine with Aime & Samuel Guibert

Gary Gubbins of Red Nose Wine with Aime & Samuel Guibert

The Legend of Irish Food meets the Legend of the Languedoc

If you can’t make Inch House, then we are having a tasting the next day, Friday October 21st in one of Ireland’s iconic food destinations, Ballymaloe House. Red Nose Wine are co hosting the tasting with Curious Wines, our Cork friends in wine. The tasting will include a vertical tasting of the Grand Cru Mas de Daumas Gassac red, a unique opportunity to taste multiple vintages of this iconic wine. Tickets are only €15 and are available online, in the shop or also from Ballymaloe and Curious Wines.

The seated tasting will be followed by a separate wine dinner in Ballymaloe House, at 9.00pm, where 4 courses will be served with a selection of the Daumas Gassac wines including the Mas de Daumas Gassac Red. Tickets for the wine dinner are available only from Ballymaloe House and are priced at €85, including 4 courses, tea/coffee and wine.

I am very much looking forward to meeting Myrtle and Darina and all of the Allens again. I had a great time on my last tasting there.


The Day I met the King

September 23rd, 2011

The media is a funny fish. Nobody talks about you for months, and then in the same week, you get on TV and have the biggest DJ in the country plug your wines all week. I covered the TV appearance in my last article, but I didn’t tell you about Ray Foley.

Ray Foley and his wine guy

Ray Foley and his wine guy

For those of you who listen to Today FM from 12.00 to 2.30 every day, or watch TV3’s “Take me out” dating show, you will know Ray and his very personable style of broadcasting. He comes across as very down to earth on Radio and TV, and that’s exactly what he is like in real life. What follows is the story about how I got to meet the King of the Afternoon, as he known to his listeners.

Twitter is to blame

Last year I was happy on my holidays in France and took a very random check of Twitter, where I noticed a friend of mine suggesting as an online wine merchant for Mr. Foley. He was looking to get a case sent out and he put out the call. I followed up Eimear’s tweet with some of my own and Ray ended up buying wine for me. I became Ray Foley’s wineguy.


During the week of the Long Table Dinner Ray and his team were having their own version of Come Dine with Me, where they took turns to have each other over for a meal. I tweeted that if he sent me on the menu; I would match and send up the wines.

Ray began to talk about it on air and brag that he had his own wine guy. He sent on the menu and I chose wines and had them sent up. He gave me a regular plug on the Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday morning saw me rise late after the equal success and excess of the previous night’s Long Table Dinner.

Panic on the streets of Clonmel

I tweeted Ray as I forced down my porridge and intravenously injected my coffee. “Did the wine get there OK”? A quick tweet came back and said “Not yet”. The hangover sweats were joined by the blind panic sweats.

I called the courier and was told that after the wines were collected on the Tuesday, the van was ploughed into by a car as it approached the depot. Was it a rival wine company or a simple twist of fate? I got myself together and showered and got to the office very quickly.

I rang Ray and explained what happened. On a seperate and slightly disturbing note, it is quite scary the amount of people who asked me for his mobile number after this whole thing gained momentum. If Ray is reading, fear not for it will never be released by me. Anyway, Ray was very nice about it and said he would use other wines and give me a plug when my wines got there.

The Stalker goes to Dublin

I had a choice. I could have crawled back to bed or I could seize the initiative. I had been getting such great publicity all week that I was not going to let it lie. I told Ray I would deliver the wines later that day to his house in Dublin. He tried to talk me out of it but I insisted and said I would be happy to do it. He may now have been worrying about my potential as a stalker.

I drank a lot of water and ate as much as I could. I rang my friendly butcher Pat Whelan and got one of his famous ice boxes. These are what he uses to transport meat nationwide and keep it fresh and cool. If it worked for Wagyu steak, it would surely work for chilling white wine ahead of Ray’s dinner that night.

As I started my journey, Ray’s show was in full swing and he told the sorry tale of the courier and his wine ‘crashing’ to the nation and I was getting major props and kudos from his crew in the studio for offering to get up the wine myself. We are now talking in radio street vernacular that some of you might need to translate.

I made it up to Dublin and his house. I didn’t expect Ray to be there himself but he was, and invited me in to the kitchen. I explained all about the wines and he was particularly interested in Chateau Miraval, which is owned by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. I got my photo taken with Ray ( and the van ) and was on my way home.


The next day as they dissected Ray’s ‘Come Dine with Me’ dinner, they gave more great publicity to Red Nose Wine. They did a great piece on Brad and Angie being stuck in on a Saturday night and grabbing a bottle of their Miraval wine. They fight over the remote as Angie refuses to watch Friends.

So a big thank you to Ray and his plugging of my business. I will of course be introducing The Ray Foley collection of wines. For a list of Ray’s wines, be sure to call in to the shop and I’ll tell all.

I am very often quoting lyrics from songs from Mr. Dylan or Mr. Cohen among others. Sometimes they are relevant to the article, and sometimes they are not. This week I would like to quote Mr. Phil Lynott. “When you came in my life, you changed my world”.


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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”

Wines of the Week – Rioja and French Sauvignon

September 17th, 2011

We have 2 new wines of the week. One of our big favourites, a very approachable Rioja called Pago Malarina is down from €10.99 to €8.99. The wine has a bright cherry red colour with purple hues. On the nose, it is youthful, clean, open with predominant aromas of fresh juicy fruit, especially red berries. A touch of vanilla is evident from time in oak. On the palate the wine is full, revealing fine balance. The finish is rich and long with great persistence.

The white is a French Sauvignon called Grandiose, which is quite exotic on the nose, almost New Zealand in style, this Gascogone Sauvignon is fresh and crisp with a great acidity. A great value alternative to the classic Loire Valley alternative.


Harry Potter and The Long Table Dinner

September 14th, 2011

Pat Whelan became Professor Albus Dumbledore and waved his magic wand on the Tipperary Food scene and turned the Senior Refectory at Rockwell College into the Great Hall of Hogwarts. The annual Long Table dinner was a massive success and a fantastic showcase for the positivity that exists in Tipperary.

Rockwell College Long Table Dinner

TV Debuts

However, before this wonderful event can begin to be described, I simply have to tell you all about my TV debut. Myself, Dumbledore, TJ Crowe, Una O Dwyer, Cate McCarthey of The Cookie Jar, Nora Egan from Inch House and Nuala Hickey were on TV3’s Ireland AM the morning of the dinner.

The TippFood gang at TV3

The TippFood gang at TV3

We had a 5am start and because we were ‘on air’ at 7.30, I wasn’t allowed to talk about wine. It was all about the Tipperary Food Producers and while everyone else spoke about their products, I had to cook them live on air. The pressure was immense and I think the fact that I was still asleep really helped. I woke up about an hour after we went ‘off air’.

The floor manager kept telling me to get more sizzle, but what he failed to comprehend was my cooking started at 7am for the teaser (that’s the section at the start of the program where they tell you what’s coming up later and go for a live feed). If I went for the sizzle at the start, we would end up with a cremated mess by time Alan Cantwell came around to say hello.

With the exception of one piece of Inch House Black Pudding that got away from me, I think I kept it all sizzling quite nicely. I would imagine that TV3 noticed too and I can foresee a new cookery show. A slightly greying man talks about and enjoys various glasses of wine as he cooks for various celebrities.

A star is born

A star is born

We were finished before 8 o clock in the morning, but still had a lot to do, so it was the long road to Tipperary and the preparations for the Long Table dinner we spoke so eloquently about on TV.

When Rockwell became Hogwarts

People started to arrive early and the Long Hall in Rockwell was soon crammed with expectant guests. Italian Prosecco from Red Nose Wine and Sparkling Apple Juice from The Apple Farm accompanied a symphony of canapés which were made from the very best of Tipperary Produce. I brought a lot of Prosecco and we very nearly got to the end of it. A clean glass became the thing to find.

We hunted the merry men and women from the Long Hall into the Great Hall, otherwise known as the Senior Refectory where three lines of tables were adorned with candelabras and lilies and as people found seats, the food began to arrive. I am sure Pat Whelan will describe them better than I could, so I will stick to the wine. Suffice to say that it was immense and a credit to the quality of product available in this great county.

A great atmosphere and a great night

A great atmosphere and a great night

I have mentioned Mas de Daumas Gassac before and we served their Classic Red and White. Some of you met Samuel Guibert during his tasting last year, and his brother Roman spent a year in Rockwell. They make organic wines that are famous the world over, and they were a great match to the bounty from Tipperary. Incidentally, if you want to try some more Tipperary Food, these wines can also be found in Inch House and McCartheys of Fethard.

One of the highlights of the night was the Singing Waiters and the clue is in the name. A fight over wine turned into an operatic battle of three wonderful voices. The Italians would always say that good food needs good wine, but opera just brings it to a new level of pleasure. I might have made that up but the opera we witnessed in Rockwell added a new layer to the atmosphere. After the food ( and wine ), I think it must have been most people’s highlight.

The singing waiter and the wineman

The GIY Guy

We also had Michael Kelly, the founder of Grow It Yourself (GIY) as a special guest, and he gave us a great talk on the harvest, seasonal food and the simple pleasure of growing your own food. I was in college with Mick, and was delighted to see his little adventure grow into something so positive and empowering. We have been enjoying the bounty of our little garden and also my father’s more sizeable venture these last few weeks.

Mick Kelly GIY

I know the work that goes into these nights and I would like to thank Pat Whelan and his team for their energy and vision in turning these events into a reality. I sat beside Tom Hayes and his wife Marian and enjoyed some good political banter. Every year we ask local representatives to come along and support the event. Tom and Marian come every year and it is greatly appreciated.

Don’t forget to log onto the blog at, visit our All New Facebook page 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”